Tuzigoot National Monument

Tuzigoot National Monument is the remnant of a prehistoric Sinagua Indian pueblo constructed between 1125 and 1400 A.D. The ruins at Tuzigoot National Monument were excavated between 1933 and 1934 as part of the New Deal. Uncovering and reconstructing the 110-room pueblo gave out-of-work copper miners new skills.

The National Park Service administers Tuzigoot National Monument. It is located two miles north of Cottonwood off Alternate Rte. 89. The pueblo is located on top of a steep hill overlooking the Verde River. The pueblo shows us this ancient village built by the Sinagua people. They were farmers and artists with trade connections that spanned hundreds of miles.

The Sinagua practiced floodwater agriculture. The pueblo originally had 86 ground floor rooms, some with two stories. The Sinagua incorporated very few doors. They used trapdoor type openings in the roofs, and used ladders to enter each room. In the early 1400s the pueblo was vacated for unknown reasons.

Although the climate is arid, with less than 12 inches of rainfall annually, several perennial streams thread their way from upland headwaters to the Verde Valley below. This creates lush riparian ribbons of green against a parched landscape of juniper-laced hills. The monument contains numerous species of plants. These include mesquite, catclaw, and saltbush, which have adapted to life in an arid environment. Due to the microhabitats provided by the riparian corridors, populations of moisture-loving plants are also present. Sycamore and cottonwood trees are found in the riparian corridors. Nearby, Tavasci Marsh, with its slow-moving water, provides another habitat for the diversity of plant and animal life found within Tuzigoot National Monument and the surrounding areas.