As recently as the mid-1200s, families lived, worked, and played in Walnut Canyon. Tending crops on the rim, traveling to gather food, and collecting water from the canyon bottom were part of a daily routine.
It may be difficult to imagine living here, constantly negotiating this rugged terrain. Our motorized lives make it easy to forget that, throughout most of history, peoples' existence was much more physical.
Who Were They?
Walnut Canyon's farming community flourished between roughly 1125 and 1250. By this time, people across the Southwest were united by corn cultivation and village life. But their architecture, pottery, and tools differed across space and time.
Archeologists used these differing traits, which occurred in patterns on the landscape, to describe and label cultural traditions such as Ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi) and Sinagua.
Walnut Canyon, with its compact villages of adjoining, rectangular room blocks (called pueblos by the Spanish) and plain brown pottery, lies within the heart of the Sinagua tradition.