Sunday, November 12, 2023

Homolovi State Park Winslow Arizona

We were "Standing on the Corner in Winslow Arizona" as in Eagles fame, when we decided to visit Homolovi State Park. The State Park offers scenic views, hiking trails and camping sites, some with full hookups. Homolovi, is Hopi for "Place of the Little Hills", which is also the traditional name for Winslow Arizona. The Hopi Indians consider this area to still be spiritually alive. The State Park consists of over 4,000 acres and was created to preserve the history of the Hopi migration during the 1200-1300AD period. During the 1960s this area was being decimated by illegal collectors of prehistoric sites and the State Park was created to prevent further destruction and removal of these artifacts. Unfortunately, it took over 30 years to complete the transformation leading to much destruction of the original structures and surrounding area, but in 1993 the State Park was finalized and the area is now protected and preserved. GPS 35.025328, -110.628671




There are a total of seven archaeological sites at Homolovi but only two are open to the public. The village was built on a floodplain overlooking the Little Colorado river and the Hopi grew cotton, beans, corn and squash. These were traded with nearby villages for pottery and clothing.

There are seven pueblos within the park's boundaries. The largest with nearly 1200 rooms. Based on what was discovered and plotted, this is what archeologists feel the village looked like during the 1200s. It consisted of three plazas, an outdoor rec area and approximately 40 Kivas.

What is a Kiva? A kiva is an underground house or ceremonial center. It is thought that underground chambers were constructed as protection from the weather above, both hot and cold. This is a drawing of the largest kiva in this village. This kiva is roughly 20'X33' and is 6.6' deep, with he average kiva measuring about 14'X17' and 6' deep. Imagine what it took in 1200AD to build these structures! See Below.

Besides housing, kivas were used as work spaces and ceremonial activities. This is what remains of the above depicted kiva. It was used as a work space where cotton rugs, blankets and clothing were created to be used as barter with neighboring communities. Men were the primary users of the kivas; women and children had access during certain ceremonies and seasons.


In the distance is the Paayu, the Hopi name for the Little Colorado River, a year round source of water here. Even when "dry" water can be found a few feet below the sand. The area supported a large variety of animal and plant resources including deer, beaver, elk and waterfowl. These were important for the diet and rituals of the Hopi people.





If you look closely, far off in the distance you can see the San Francisco Peaks, the highest mountains in Arizona at 12,670'. The Hopi believed them to be home of Katsina spirits. They believed these spirits were supernatural beings with the power to bring the rain necessary to make their crops grow and produce a bountiful harvest.




While this area was farmed and inhabited for nearly 200 years it is believed around 1400AD most of the 1000 inhabitants of this pueblo abandoned it and returned to the Hopi Mesas approximately 60 miles north.

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