Aside from its 7000 foot elevation and lack of community garage sales (or garages, for that matter), it was still a different sort of neighborhood. While I might glance across my street to admire lush landscaping or to see if the neighbor who occasionally rides to my lawn’s rescue on a John Deere lawnmower is headed my way, Walnut Canyon tenants watched the inhabitants of their cliff side community for more serious considerations.
The Sinagua people’s version of the neighborhood watch was an ongoing monitoring of cross-canyon villages. Awareness lowered the probabilities of surprises in a place where the unexpected was unlikely to be a positive event. A cliff side perch allowed for controlled access and a passive defense. It was community living at arms length and with a roughly 600 foot drop-off in between.
Water could be found far below. Sometimes. Water storage was critical as the dry season was desert dry —the Spanish words sin and agua translate to “without water.” Food was hunted, gathered and grown on the relatively fertile soil of the cliff rims above. Observing the neighbors in 1125 AD was more about computing essential survival information than today’s mundane curb check to verify trash collection day.
The cliff dwellings: Sinagua Style Sky-boxes
The lifestyle: Just a Wild Guess?
More album photos: Heather Dugan Creative on Facebook