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Wupatki National Monument
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Stop 17 Wupatki National Monument
Location: 26 miles from Flagstaff, AZ.
Date: March 10, 2007

Nearly 900 years ago Wupatki National Monument was home to Hopi ancestors.  The Northern Sinagua people were hunter-gathers and farmers.  More specifically Wupatki was home to the Hopi clan of Puebloan Indians.  There are many points of interest at Wupatki, including the ballcourt and the blowhole.

 


The ruins at Wupatki

 

From 400-1700 A.D. farming cultures dominated the southwest.  The lack of water limited what type of farming could be done on the land.  Small amounts of water came from the Colorado River. The first gathers settled at Wupatki around 1100 A.D. and by 1190 A.D. as many as 2,000 people lived at Wupatki.  There was a 100 room pueblo with tower, ballcourt, kiva, and community room during this time period.  This structure was as high as three stories at times.  Walls often collapsed and needed to be reconstructed.  Today most parts of the pueblo that are visible were excavated and reconstructed.  Wupatki became a national monument in 1924.

 


The Ballcourt

 

A blowhole is a small opening in the ground where air gets drawn in or expelled. Air flows from high pressure to low pressure, therefore at night and early morning the overlying air is more dense causing air to enter the blowholes (cracks in the earth).  As the overlying air warms the densities equalize causing the air to stop flowing.  Once the overlying air warms enough to become less dense than the air in the blowhole the air will be expelled out of the blowhole.  Weather systems also effect the movement of air in and out of the blowhole.

 


This sign illustrates how a blowhole works.

 

 

By W. Patrick Dryer