Natural Bridges National Monument

Natural Bridges protects some of the finest examples of ancient stone architecture in the southwest. The monument is located in southeast Utah on a pinyon-juniper covered mesa bisected by deep canyons of Permian age Cedar Mesa Sandstone. Where meandering streams cut through the canyon walls, three natural bridges formed: Kachina, Owachomo and Sipapu.

Owachomo Bridge

Sipapu Bridge

Kachina Bridge

Horse Collar Ruin

At an elevation of 6,500 feet above sea level, the Monument is home to a wide variety of plants and animals. Plants range from the fragile crypto biotic soil crusts to remnant stands of Douglas-fir and ponderosa pine. Natural Bridges was established in 1908, making it the oldest National Park Service site in Utah.

Newspaper Rock - Utah

Newspaper Rock State Historical Monument is a petroglyph panel etched in sandstone that records perhaps 2,000 years of human activity in the area. Etched into the desert varnish are symbols' representing the Fremont, Anasazi, Navajo and Anglo cultures. The exact nature of these symbols meaning is still not clearly understood. But they are typical of many sites throughout the U.S. in their use of universal symbols, be it graffiti or a true "newspaper," recording events of the times and earlier.

This is one of the finest displays of Indian rock art to be found anywhere in the U.S. This is also one of the few petroglyph sites that is so easily accessible and can be viewed and photographed at close range.

Sand Island State Park

Flute Players appear in many forms and variations in the rock art of Southwestern North America. They occur, with varying attributes, throughout the very long period of Ancestral Puebloan time... referred to as the anasazi era.

Kokopelli has stirred imaginations for a long time. Of the lexicon of characters featured in the age-old religions, rituals, folk tales, ceramics, rock art and murals of Southwestern Indians, there are few more enduring than Kokopelli. He is so irresistibly charismatic that he had been reinvented time and again for well over 1000 years by southwestern artists, craftsmen and storytellers. The process continues to this day.

In earlier times, Kokopelli was far more than an icon. There is, in fact, considerable evidence that he was an important deity to Southwestern Indians. His images are among the most widely distributed of any in the prehistoric and historic Indian sites of the Southwest.

Mule Canyon Ruins

Mule Canyon Ruin is an open Anasazi habitation site consisting of both above-ground and below-ground dwellings. This site was initially occupied briefly about 750 AD and reached its peak between 1,000 and 1,150 AD. Pottery and architecture from this location indicate a strong influence from the Mesa Verde Anasazi of southwestern Colorado, in addition to a less significant influence of the Kayenta Anasazi of northwest Arizona. Butler Wash Ruin, 6 miles east, has a square kiva, indicative of Kayenta culture.

The Anasazi were dry farmers. Botanical and archeological studies indicate that corn, beans and squash provided the staple foods of these peoples and were supplemented by a variety of wild plants and animals.

The ruins here were excavated by a University of Utah archeological team in 1973. The National Park Service stabilized and reconstructed the ruins the following year.

Butler Wash Ruins

Butler Wash Ruins are cliff dwellings that were built and occupied by the Anasazi about 1200 AD. The site has been stabilized and reconstructed to some degree, but most of it remains as it was found in the 1800s.

The structures here represent the full range of Anasazi daily activities: habitation, farming, ceremonial, hunting, storage and tool making. The site has 4 kivas, underground chambers where ceremonial activities were held, located toward the front of the largest caves. Habitation and storage rooms are visible behind them and in various niches and caves around the canyon.

Three of the kivas are of the round, Mesa Verde type most common in this area. The fourth is square, indicative of the Kayenta culture to the south in Arizona. The ceramics found at Butler Wash are exclusively of the Mesa Verde type.

The Anasazi here, as elsewhere, were dry farmers who utilized extremely efficient means of water conservation to grow corns, beans and squash in the deep alluvial soils of the canyon area. It is possible that at some point, a cycle of deep erosion cut arroyos, lowered the water table and made irrigation impossible. But whether by drought, overpopulation, eroding resources or warring neighbors, the village was abandoned before 1300.

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