5/28/2010 4:22:00 PM Tuzigoot offers ancient Sinaguan culture view of apartment living
If You Go
Where: Located off Main St. (from Cottonwood) or Broadway from Clarkdale.
Cost: $5 per person (good for seven days). Children under 16 are free. America the Beautiful passes are honored. Discontinued National Parks Passes, Golden Eagle, Golden Eagle Hologram, Golden Access and Golden Age Passports will continue to be honored according to the provisions of the pass.
Hours: Summer hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Winter hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Christmas day.
Perched on a ridge overlooking the Verde River stands Tuzigoot, the remnants of one of the largest and best-preserved of the many Verde Valley Sinagua pueblo ruins.
Tuzigoot is Apache for “crooked water,” referring to nearby Peck’s Lake, a cutoff meander of the Verde River.
Built between 1100 and 1450 AD, the pueblo consists of 110-rooms built of two- and three-story structures. This complex, along with others whose ruins have been found in the surrounding area, provided shelter for hundreds of Sinagua occupants.
Tuzigoot is located on land once owned by United Verde and Phelps Dodge Copper Companies. The corporation sold the site to Yavapai County for $1 and the county transferred the land to the federal government so that the excavation could be completed as part of federal relief projects.
Tuzigoot was excavated from 1933 to 1935 by Louis Caywood and Edward Spicer of the University of Arizona, with funding from the federal Civil Works Administration and Works Project Administration and, with additional federal funding, prepared for display in 1935-1936. A Pueblo Revival-style museum and visitor center was constructed.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt designated Tuzigoot Ruins as a U.S. National Monument on July 25, 1939. The Tuzigoot National Monument Archeological District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places October 15, 1966.
Tuzigoot is one of the few museums interpreting ancient Sinaguan culture in Arizona. The Ruins trail loops around the pueblo and allows visitors to closely view the structures. A small bookstore in the visitor center is operated by the Southwest Parks and Monuments Association.
The ruins are surrounded by the tailings pond of the former United Verde Copper Company with a mine at Jerome. In recent years, those tailings have been stabilized and re-vegetated.
The Verde River, adjacent to the ruins, is home to several unusual species of birds, including the great horned owl. In the north of the property, the view includes Tavasci Marsh on the east end of Pecks Lake. It is one of the largest marshland areas in Arizona and was added to the national monument in the spring of 2006, as a part of a land exchange between the BLM and the mining company.
Tavasci Marsh is managed by the Arizona Game and Fish Department as a wildlife sanctuary and is a critically important habitat for birds and other wildlife. Wildlife found there include beaver, river otter, muskrat, deer, javelina, various fish and amphibians, and a wide variety of birds. For further information contact the Arizona Game and Fish Department at 928-692-7700.