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Pottery sherd - Keet Seel - Kawestima - Navajo National Monument

The Hisatsinom (Anasazi) made pottery but also traded with surrounding communities and cultures. On the way in we were so focused on the Keet Seel cliff dwelling that we did not notice all the potsherds covering the ground. As we were leaving we saw sherds everywhere below the cliff dwelling.


We dayhiked to Keet Seel ( Kawestima). Because of monsoon storms and floods the Ruins and the trail had been closed. We were the second group in after the re-opening. Much of the hike is in the creek. Lots of quicksand but we did a decent job of avoiding most of it.


National Park Service Guide Patrick Joshevama - Hopi (Sun Clan) - took us up to the ruins and brought the history alive with is explanations of how the Hisatsinom lived.


We drove up to Navajo National Monument and camped Friday. Checked in for the Orientation, then hiked around the Rim. On Saturday we dayhiked to Keet Seel - Kawestima. Then went to the Quality Inn in Tuba City. Drove home Sunday. Great trip with good friends.

Here is my triplog of the trip.

Where the highway ends, the Ancestral Puebloan Wild West Prehistory Begins...


The prehistoric Puebloan Ancestors built Tsegi Phase villages within the natural sandstone alcoves of our canyons. The resilient Ancestral Puebloans paved the way for current Native American groups in the Southwest region. These villages, which date from AD 1250 to 1300, thrill all who visit with original architectural elements such as roof beams, masonary walls, rock art, and hand and foot holds.

Centuries ago, the ancestors of the Pueblo Indians lived spread out among the valleys and plateaus of the region, hunting and gathering wild plants and seeds, then migrating elsewhere as the seasons demanded. With the acquisition of domestic seeds for corn and other crops, they gradually became farmers, which allowed them to remain in one place and build permanent shelters, originally pit houses.


As they farmed the plateau and bottomlands of these canyons, they built villages of separate stone houses, and eventually created multi-storied pueblos under the natural shelter of cliff walls and overhangs. But after only a few decades, they disappeared and abandoned these dwellings forever.


Pueblo cultures varied throughout the Southwest. Archeologists use pottery style and decoration, as well as architecture, to divide the cultures of the region into 3 branches: the Chaco, the Mesa Verde and the Kayenta Anasazi. Here among the Kayenta peoples, pottery styles were vivid and multi-colored. Their buildings were more randomly grouped than those elsewhere, and their social organization was less formal.


The Hopi, whose reservation is 50 miles to the south , are believed to be the descendants of the Kayenta Anasazi. The villages preserved at the monument are believed to be paths along the sacred migration route of the 8 Hopi clans. Hopi Tribal elders periodically visit the ruins at the Monument as sacred shrines.


The two largest villages here at the Monument are best known by the names given them by the Navajo, who arrived in the 1800s. Betatakin means "ledge house;" Keet Seel is from an altered Navajo term meaning "remains of square house." The Hopi also have names for these villages, Kawestima and Talastima. While the Navajo referred to the ancient ones as the Anasazi, the Hopi called them the Hisatsinom


Keet Seel

This village was occupied much longer than Betatakin.This alcove was settled as early as 950 by those who built houses and kivas. The village was rebuilt in 1250 by different people and, at its zenith, may have contained 150 residents. By 1300, this village, too, was abandoned.



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Taken on August 4, 2012