Description of Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
Dwellings National Monument is located in Catron County, New Mexico in
United States. Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument covers an area
of 533 acres (216 ha) and protects former settlement of the
mysterious Anasazi tribes that disappeared without a trace.
Unfortunately much of Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument was
looted by the people before any serious scientific research was
carried out. Only mummy of a child named "Zeke" ever made to
Smithsonian in 1912.
History of the Gila Cliff Dwellings National
The members of the Mogollon culture
settled in the area of today's Gila Cliff Dwellings National
Monument from about the end of the 1st century. The Mogollon was a
sedentary people who created their livelihood through hunting,
gathering, and growing grain and beans. The earliest structure to
have been found in the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument is a
so-called pit house, the construction of which is was in its
infancy. The structure was located in open ground, was circular and
characterized by the fact that the floor was below the surrounding
soil level. Already at this time, the Mogollon made simple pottery.
In the period around the year 1000, the Mogollon built rectangular
structures, which were built in contrast to previous objects
completely above the ground level. The majority of these objects
were solid masonry structures, only a small part still consisted of
braided branches. Characteristic for this epoch was the production
of white pottery with black elements.
From about the 13th century began in the area of
today's national monument to the Mogollon the Pueblo era. Although
there are remnants of classical Pueblo construction in the park, the
Cliff Dwellings are the central settlement of the time. These caves
are also the namesake and main attraction of the Gila Cliff
Dwellings National Monument. Five large caves, high in the rocks of
a side canyon of the West Fork Gila River, formed the natural basis
for the construction of these impressive structures. In total, about
40 rooms were created in these caves. The walls of the buildings
were made of stones from the immediate vicinity, the wood used was
dated to the period around the year 1270.
It is estimated
that about 10 to 15 families used these structures for about a
generation. Little is known about the end of Mogollon culture. The
residents left the Cliff Dwellings back in the early 14th century.
Why they left and where they are is still the subject of discussion.
A generally accepted theory is that they mingled with other pueblo
peoples of the American Southwest and thus ceased to exist as an
Monument exhibits and services
A museum and visitors center is located at the
monument near the TJ Ruins. The visitor center is jointly operated
by the U.S. Forest Service, and the National Park Service. The
Museum hosts exhibits of Apache and Mogollon artifacts, uncovered
both in the surrounding wilderness, and at the Monument. Displayed
items include a bracelet crafted from Glycymeris (shells)
Bittersweet clam shell. Believed to have been brought via trade from
the Gulf of California, to Snaketown (an ancient village on the
right bank of the Gila River on the modern-day Gila River Indian
Community south of the village of Ahwatukee), the shell eventually
was etched and drilled by Hohokam artisans. The bracelet is believed
then to have made its way up the Gila River from Arizona to the Gila
river community, again, by way of trade.
attractions include hot springs, associated ruins sites, national
forest hiking trails and fishing along the Gila River and in the