History and Culture
Archaeology Sites on and near the Coconino Forest
Elden Pueblo is the site of an ancient Sinagua (Sin ah’ wa) village, inhabited from about A.D. 1070 to 1275. The site is unique for a variety of reasons. Most importantly, it makes archaeology and the study of ancient peoples accessible to the public. Since 1978, professional archaeologists have supervised members of the public in excavations, archaeological research techniques and artifact analysis through a variety of public and school programs. Learn more about Elden Pueblo.
The Palatki Heritage Site cliff dwelling and rock art site is located near the town of Sedona in north-central Arizona. A small visitor center and bookstore, run by the Arizona Natural History Association, is located a short distance from the parking lot. There are two trails at Palatki Heritage Site, one trail that takes you to the Sinagua cliff dwellings, and a second that goes to the rock art alcoves. Neither trail is very difficult, but good walking shoes are recommended.
This is the largest known petroglyph site in the Verde Valley, as well as being one of the best-preserved. Acquired by the Coconino National Forest in 1994, the site is protected and kept open to the visiting public for their enjoyment and opportunity to learn more about our national cultural heritage.
The Sinagua, ancestors of the Hopi, lived here from about AD1100 to 1300 preparing meals, raising their families, and making tools from stone, leather, and wood. Nearby they hunted for deer and rabbit, tended various crops, and gathered edible wild plants.
Neighboring National Monuments
Walk in the footsteps of people who lived at Walnut Canyon more than 700 years ago. Peer into their homes, cliff dwellings built deep within canyon walls. The presence of water in a dry land made the canyon rare and valuable to its early human inhabitants. It remains valuable today as habitat for plants and animals. See for yourself on trails along the canyon rim and into the depths.
Less than 800 years ago, Wupatki Pueblo was the largest pueblo around. It flourished for a time as a meeting place of different cultures. Yet this was one of the warmest and driest places on the Colorado Plateau, offering little obvious food, water, or comfort. How and why did people live here? The builders of Wupatki and nearby pueblos have moved on, but their legacy remains.
Gaze through the windows of the past into one of the best preserved cliff dwellings in North America. This 20 room high-rise apartment, nestled into a towering limestone cliff, tells a 1,000 year-old story of ingenuity and survival in an unforgiving desert landscape.