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Hovenweep National Monument | Introduction
Hovenweep National MonumentLocated on the border of Colorado and Utah, this is an archaeological heritage site. The endless desert horizon is dotted with clusters of ancient stone buildings, ranging from stone towers to castles, built between 600 and 1300 A.D., which are important archaeological evidence of ancient Indian life and society.
Hovenweep National Momnument actually consists of several different complexes, including the Square Tower Group, Horseshoes and Hackberry, Holly, Cutthroat castle and several other areas. However, most visitors to the park only visit the Square Tower Group, which is where the park's headquarters is located, and there are paved walkways that make it easy to get in and out of the park. We originally wanted to visit more areas, but the dirt road we drove through was in poor condition, so we ended up only visiting the Square Tower Group.
Most of the buildings at Hovenweep were constructed between 1200 and 1300 A.D. and take many different forms, including square and round towers, residences, and many Kivas (a Paleo-Indian ceremonial building, usually round in shape). The purpose of these structures is still uncertain to archaeologists, but it is certain that they were built by the Ancestor Puebloans, the ancestors of the Pueblo, Zuni, and Hopi, the Indian nations now found throughout southern Arizona and New Mexico. The Ancestor Puebloan Indians gradually developed into an agricultural civilization around 900 A.D., terracing the hillsides and creating irrigation systems such as check dams, which can be seen on the Square Tower Trail. However, around 1300, the inhabitants abandoned the settlement and moved away due to some uncertainty. The most widely speculated theory is that climate change and resource scarcity at the time, and a lack of agricultural resources, caused the population to move south to the Grande Valley in New Mexico and the Little Colorado River Basin in Arizona.
Attractions | Square Tower Trail
The Square Tower Group area includes the largest Ancestor Puebloan complex in the Hovenweep area. These buildings surround Little Ruin Canyon. This is a relatively large community, and archaeologists estimate that as many as 500 people lived here in its heyday. The trail basically follows the Square Tower Trail behind the Visitor Center, and you can walk from Canyon Overlook to Hovensweep Castle, Square Tower, and other important sights. The trail is about 2 miles long and takes about 1-2 hours to complete, and the entrance is right behind the Visitor Center.
If you just want to see the panoramic view, you can just walk a short distance to the Canyon Overlook. In fact, this trail is not too long, and it is recommended to walk at least the first half of the trail. The first half of the trail is laid with accessible trail, which is flat and easy to walk, and the scenery is quite beautiful. The last section is in fact to walk down the canyon and then climb back up to the visitor center, although this section of the road is short to climb up quite hard, there is no scenery in the middle, so if you are not interested in climbing, you can walk to the last major building after the Twin towers to turn back will be relatively easy.
Eroded Boulder House
The first stop on the trail, just before the Canyon Overlook, is the Eroded Boulder House, a two-story building; the part we saw at the first stop was actually the second floor of the building, while the first floor was on the cliff side, which could only be seen by looking back at the trail from the other side. In the past, these buildings would have had some wooden parts such as a wooden staircase outside to allow access to the top and bottom of the building, but of course, you can't see that anymore.
Unit Type House
The Unit Type House represents a very basic form of house for the time period, with several rooms and kivas visible in the building, and may look familiar to anyone who has visited Mesa Verde National Park. In fact, because of the similarities in architecture, masonry, and pottery styles, archaeologists have determined that the inhabitants of this site would have been associated with other groups of sites such as Mesa Verde National Park. However, the structure of the masonry complex suggests that the construction techniques were quite sophisticated, with stone towers built on irregular boulders still standing after more than 700 years, and even more sophisticated in terms of construction details than the cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde National Park.
The Square Tower Trail curves around the middle of the canyon to Tower Point, where we see a rounded tower that was probably used to store surplus crops. The village had at least 100-150 people, so they also built granaries below the canyon rim to store crops such as corn, beans, and squash for future use.
Hovenweep Castle is the landmark building of Hovenweep National Monument. It is not a castle, but an unusually large building, which can be called an ancient mansion for the time being. The building looks relatively intact, but in fact it has been restored, as can be seen in the photo from 1935.
Not far from Hovenweep Castle is the round tower-like building known as Hovenweep House, which was supposed to be the center of the village. Many of the buildings in this area are tucked away on the cliffs below, and can be seen more clearly from the footpath opposite.
Square Tower is a three-storey tower built on the edge of the Canyon. The tower is in a unique position, clearly visible from a distance as it appears to be one storey lower than Hovenweep Castle and Hovenweep House, and is square in appearance, unlike other round towers. Its purpose is not known, but it is generally assumed that it was a building of more religious or spiritual significance.
Rim Rock House
Although Rim Rock House is called a house, there are no rooms in it, so it is probably not used for living. There are a lot of holes on the wall, and some people speculate that it was used for observation purposes.
Twin towers are two connected towers, one side of which is square, and inside there are actually 16 rooms, which were probably occupied by a number of people, similar to the concept of apartments today. It is said that this is the best building in the complex, and we can see that it has been preserved quite well.
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