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Montezuma's Castle National Monument, AZ #5

22 miles from Tuzigoot National Monument near Camp Verde, AZ is Montezuma's Castle National Monument. The Southern Sinagua people lived here from 1100 - 1400. The "castle" is a 5 story, 20 room pueblo! And we're back to building into the side of a cliff...but in a big way! This was a condo building in every way; other than they didn't have an elevator.

Montezuma's Castle was built high up in the cliff, but there was another building just a very short distance away on the same cliff face. This building was also 5 stories tall, with around 45 rooms in it...and it was built on the canyon floor with the cliff face for a back. I found it so interesting that this site had one building in the cliff high above the canyon floor and another large condo built on the canyon floor but the back of the building was the cliff face.

You learn so much talking to rangers! He told me how the hunters would stop at their salt mine on their way out to the hunting grounds. Upon procuring game, it would be salted and dried before making the trip back to the pueblo. An added bonus to this method is the weight of the meat is much less and it was easier to get up to the storage rooms in the side of the cliff. Once a storage room was full of meat or nuts, a bowl with a smoldering chunk of wood was placed in the middle of the room and the room was sealed. This removed all the air from the room and destroyed bugs and bacteria. Very smart!

Montezuma's Castle has stood for over 700 years; mostly because it is so sheltered from the elements. It's really beautiful!

See the little rooms in the cliff below the pueblo? Those are the storage rooms for food.

This a a diorama showing what the inside of the castle would have looked like.

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