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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Grand Canyon National Park in Coconino County, Arizona — The American Mountains (Southwest)
 

Tusayan Ruin Trail

 
 
Tusayan Ruin Trail Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., November 11, 2010
1. Tusayan Ruin Trail Marker
Inscription.
Allow about 30 minutes to tour Tusayan Ruin. The 0.1 mile loop trail through the main ruin is paved and wheelchair-accessible; the side loop to a prehistoric farming site is not. Signs along the way explain the site's features. An interpretive trail guide with greater detail about Tusayan's inhabitants is available to your right.

Tusayan Ruin is a remnant of a small village of about 30 people who lived here for 25 to 30 years in the late 1100s. The architecture was typical for that period. Pueblo architecture varied according to availability of local materials. Here, builders used limestone blocks held together with mud.

The name "Tusayan" was the Spanish name for this geographic area, and was given to the ruin by archeologists who excavated the site in 1930.

Trail Markers Follow

Living Quarters
These rooms were living quarters. Although the initial excavation report suggested that the amount of rock debris was enough for a second story, the debris visible today suggests a single story, with 3 or 4 main rooms.

During the estimated 25 or 30 years that the pueblo was occupied, its population probably did not exceed 30 people at any one time.

Tree-ring Dating
The tree in front of you is a Utah juniper (Juniperus osteosperma). Found today at elevations
Tusayan Ruin Trail Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., November 11, 2010
2. Tusayan Ruin Trail Marker
On stone pillar to left; museum to right
between 3,000 and 7,000 feet, Utah juniper was used by ancestral Puebloan builders for the main beams in their dwellings. These trees tell much about Tusayan.

The pattern of tree rings found within wooden beams helps date the ruin. During dry years tree growth is slow and rings are narrow. During wet years rings are broader. Ring patterns on charred wood fragments from kiva roofs here at Tusayan have been correlated with regional tree growth data covering many centuries. In this way an approximate date of A.D. 1185 was determined for the structures here.

Large Kiva
The kiva was a ceremonial room. Its basic structure developed from ancestral Pueblo pithouses. Various activities took place here, including storage, ceremonies, rites, and festivals. Public portions of these ceremonies were usually held in the plaza.

Small Kiva
This circular row of stones outlines a kiva (ceremonial room). Usually kivas were built mostly underground but the Kaibab Limestone in this region prevented digging very deep.

Sometime during the occupation of the pueblo, this kiva burned. Rather than rebuild here, another kiva was built nearby to replace it.

San Francisco Peaks
In the distance you can see Humphreys Peak, the highest point in Arizona at 12,633 ft (3851m). Forty-eight miles south of here, Humphreys Peak is
Image on Tusayan Ruin Trail Marker image. Click for full size.
November 11, 2010
3. Image on Tusayan Ruin Trail Marker
Artist's rendition of the pueblo
one of a series of mountains known as the San Francisco Peaks, which once were active volcanoes. Geologically young, the peaks formed in the past six million years or so and have been active as recently as 1000 years ago.

What did the inhabitants of Tusayan think about the huge mountains, or did Tusayan's prehistoric residents view them as a spiritual place? This view is held today by the Hopi, who are believed to be modern spiritual descendents of the ancestral Pueblo people of this area. The Hopi people believe that the San Francisco Peaks are the dwelling place of the Kachinas, their ancestral spirits.
 
Erected by National Park Service.
 
Location. 36° 0.792′ N, 111° 51.961′ W. Marker is in Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, in Coconino County. Click for map. Marker is immediately northeast of the museum, southeast off Desert View (South Rim) Drive (Arizona Highway 64). Other markers are along the trail. Marker is in this post office area: Grand Canyon AZ 86023, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 5 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Tusayan Museum and Ruin (within shouting distance of this marker); 1956 Grand Canyon TWA-United Airlines Aviation Accident Site (approx.
Living Quarters Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., November 11, 2010
4. Living Quarters Marker
3.1 miles away); The Watchtower (approx. 3.1 miles away); Mining on Horseshoe Mesa (approx. 6.9 miles away); Grandview, 1898 (approx. 6.9 miles away).
 
Also see . . .
1. Tusayan Ruin Pamphlet. (Submitted on January 10, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Grand Canyon Archeological Resources. (Submitted on January 10, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. Desert View (South Rim) Drive Map. (Submitted on January 10, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
 
Categories. AnthropologyMan-Made FeaturesNative Americans
 
Living Quarters Ruins and Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., November 11, 2010
5. Living Quarters Ruins and Marker
Tusayan Living Quarters Ruins image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., November 11, 2010
6. Tusayan Living Quarters Ruins
Tree-ring Dating Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., November 11, 2010
7. Tree-ring Dating Marker
Tree-ring Dating Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., November 11, 2010
8. Tree-ring Dating Marker
Utah Juniper Near Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., November 11, 2010
9. Utah Juniper Near Marker
Detail on Tree-ring Dating Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., November 11, 2010
10. Detail on Tree-ring Dating Marker
Large Kiva Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., November 11, 2010
11. Large Kiva Marker
Large Kiva Detail on Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., November 11, 2010
12. Large Kiva Detail on Marker
Large Kiva Ruin image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., November 11, 2010
13. Large Kiva Ruin
Large Kiva Detail on Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., November 11, 2010
14. Large Kiva Detail on Marker
Small Kiva Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., November 11, 2010
15. Small Kiva Marker
Small Kiva and Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., November 11, 2010
16. Small Kiva and Marker
San Franciso Peaks Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., November 11, 2010
17. San Franciso Peaks Marker
San Francisco Peaks Marker Detail image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., November 11, 2010
18. San Francisco Peaks Marker Detail
San Francisco Peaks Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., November 11, 2010
19. San Francisco Peaks Marker
The peaks can typically be seen through the cut in the trees (lack of ability to manually set aperture of digital camera prevents it in this photo)
Zoomed View of Humphrey's Cloud-Covered Peak image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., November 11, 2010
20. Zoomed View of Humphrey's Cloud-Covered Peak
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 786 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.   7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20. submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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