Betatakin.

June 22, 2012 § 5 Comments

 

“It is…highly probable that from the very beginning, apart from death, the only ironclad rule of human experience has been the Law of Unintended Consequences.” – Ian Tattersall

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Betatakin Canyon

http://rolfgross.dreamhosters.com/California-SouthWest-Web/IndianCountry.htm

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Navajo National Monument preserves three large Ancestral Pueblo ruins sites in the northern canyons of northeast Arizona. It is located 20 miles southwest of Kayenta on Highway 160, then 9 miles north on Arizona Route 564. The Monument is inside the boundaries of the Navajo Nation.

http://4cornershikesnavajo.blogspot.com/2011/05/betatakin-ruins-trail-navajo-national.html

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rock formation near Tuba City

http://rolfgross.dreamhosters.com/California-SouthWest-Web/IndianCountry.htm

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“Museums are the anthropological screened porches of suburbia. You can be near something great, but not actually personally experience it.”  – S. Kelley Harell

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corn grinding tools-Betatakin Ruins

http://www.bluecoyotegallery.com/LookingforJimmySwinnerton.htm

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“The name for this place is Talastima, place of flowers, or corn tasseling.  This is where we came from,” says Lloyd Masayumptewa, a Hopi and a park archeologist.

http://knau.org/post/land-lines-betatakin

John Wetherill discovered Betatakin

http://jimshaffner.com/arizona.htm

“John Wetherill discovered Betatakin after being told by a Navajo tribal member of it’s where abouts.  It is an Eastern facing alcove which is protected from the Southwestern prevailing winds of Arizona.  A truly spectacular site and one of the most beautiful Ancestral Puebloan Ruins in the United States.  It can be viewed by climbing down a well marked trail of a thousand feet.  The round trip is about five miles…” – Jim Shaffner

Betatakin ruin in Navajo National Monument, Arizona. It is thought that it was home to one of the clans of Hopi Indians, who abandoned the site 700 years ago.

http://wetherillfamily.com/betatakin/

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Trail to Betatakin ruin.

http://wetherillfamily.com/betatakin/

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“My birth-given name, Hopi name is Piivajouma” says Masayumptewa. “My Anglo name is Lloyd Masayumptewa.  I am of the Coyote Clan.  This is where a lot of our religious ceremonies were defined and then brought out to Hopi.”

Ancestors of the Hopi people lived here. They farmed on terraces at the mouth of the canyon. They went to great effort to build this beautiful stone dwelling. Annual growth rings in the wood beams show that construction started here in A.D. 1250, and ended by 1286. So in less than fifty years, they were gone, probably for a combination of reasons — unpredictable rainfall? Long-term drought?  Fields lost to stream downcutting?  Or prophesy to move on?  Whatever the reasons, they went south to the Hopi mesas where Lloyd’s family lives today.

Betatakin’s main spring now flows a little less than a gallon a minute. The Southwest has been caught in a period of dryness for a decade, and less moisture has been feeding the sandstone aquifer. The springs–and the hanging gardens–appear to be drying out.

Water carved this canyon and sculpted the alcove. The alcove sheltered Pueblo people.

Rock – water – people. The mandala is no different for us than it was for them. They tried to cope with a long drought in the 1200s, as we cope now. And they knew that everyone lives in this country only with the permission–and the blessing–of the land and sky.

http://knau.org/post/land-lines-betatakin

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Betatakin Canyon Forest

http://blog.travelpod.com/travel-photo/socks/1/1285199642/relicit-forest-in-betatakin-canyon.jpg/tpod.html

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“The archaeological record contains many levels of meaning. On the surface level, we can discover the dates and designs of things, of who did what and where. That much is easy and needs only techniques, not theories. But to dig below the surface (so to speak), to speculate about why people did what they did–either consciously or as unknowing participants in a never-ending historical/political/ecological process–that requires a tolerance for ambiguity. It also helps to have some humility, to recognize that today’s stunning insights may tomorrow be no more than orange peels on the compost pile of intellectual history.” – Adrian Praetzellis

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Tsegi Canyon, Navajo National Monument.

http://wetherillfamily.com/betatakin/

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Betatakin is one of the three great pre-historic cliff dwellings that are now part of Navajo National Monument in northern Arizona; the other two are the nearby Keet Seel and Inscription House. In the same year (1909) that they “discovered” Rainbow Bridge for the Anglo-European world, John Wetherill and Byron Cummings also “discovered” Betatakin. The House Built on a Ledge occupies an enormous, south-facing alcove, 452 feet high and 370 feet across with its own fresh-water spring. Betatakin was built about 1260-1270 A.D. with about 120 separate rooms. Spectacular cliff-dwelling that is, Betatakin was nevertheless short-lived and was abandoned ca. 1300 A.D., a time when many other occupation sites through much of the Southwest were also abandoned. This massive prehistoric relocation of the native people is now thought to have been driven by drought conditions that developed near the end of the 13th Century. Because of rockfalls and erosion since abandonment, only 80 rooms exist in the Betatakin visible today.

http://www6.nau.edu/library/sca/exhibits/hanks/links/Betatakin.htm

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Opening in the trail to Betatakin.

http://wetherillfamily.com/betatakin/

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“Tree-ring dating has revealed much about Betatakin.  We know that about AD 1250 a few persons moved into the cave and that in 1267 several more families arrived. Though its agricultural fields lay a mile away, this alcove was a good place in which to build: it was deep and faced south. In late summer 1269, while the crops were ripening and there was time for other chores, the villages cut and stockpiles many timbers. They apparently knew that others were coming to join them, perhaps from a place threatened by arroyo-cutting. In 1275 the group arrived, and there was a burst of construction, using the stockpiled timbers. Over the next few years more rooms were added, perhaps for new arrivals but probably also for natural increase. At its height, about 1286 when the last building took place, Betatakin [Bitát’ahkin] could have held about 125 persons. The village was abandoned about 1300. Birth, life and death all took place within less than 50 years.

http://www.hanksville.org/voyage/defs/Betatakin.html

Tsegi Canyon, Navajo National Monument, Arizona

http://wetherillfamily.com/betatakin/

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“[T]he more individual we become, the more we long for […] community.”  – Mike Wesch

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Rock art near the Betatakin ruin, Navajo National Monument

http://wetherillfamily.com/betatakin/

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Betatakin ruin in Navajo National Monument, Arizona. It is thought that it was home to one of the clans of Hopi Indians, who abandoned the site 700 years ago.

http://wetherillfamily.com/betatakin/

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Like Keet Seel, Betatakin was constructed of sandstone, mud mortar, and wood.

http://www.nps.gov/nava/historyculture/index.htm

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Betatakin upper ruin in Navajo National Monument

http://wetherillfamily.com/betatakin/

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Hisatsinom is the Hopi name for their ancestors that lived in the Four Corners region of the Southwest.

http://www.nps.gov/nava/index.htm

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