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The Tusayan Ruins at The Grand Canyon

Updated on September 6, 2014
ArtByLinda profile image

The author is an amateur artist and photographer that loves to travel with her husband of 37 years.

The Tusayan Ruins in the Grand Canyon

The Tusayan Ruins in the Grand Canyon are what remains of a small village of about 30 people that lived there for 25 or 30 years in the late 1100's.

The architecture was typical for that period of time.

Pueblo architecture varied according to the availability of materials they used for building.

At these ruins, they used limestone blocks held together by mud.

They really had no trees of any size nearby to build with. In the hot sun of the Arizona desert I can imagine that a home built of rock and clay mud was so much cooler than any stick built house would be.

artist (Roy H. Andersen) vision of what the Tusayan ruins
artist (Roy H. Andersen) vision of what the Tusayan ruins

Photo of An artist vision of what the Tusayan ruins once looked like

An artist vision of what the Tusayan ruins once looked like.

This is an artist (Roy H. Andersen) vision of what the Tusayan ruins once looked like. We had actually looked at the ruins before looking at this drawing, and I had been wondering as I wandered through the Ruins, how they entered their living quarters? I noticed that there was a lack of visible door openings and I could not figure out just how they entered the buildings. I found out that they actually entered through the roof.

The Living quarters at the Tusayan Ruins

The Living quarters at the Tusayan Ruins © by Photographer Linda Hoxie

Each of the rooms, if used as bedrooms were really quite large in size, depending on the amount of people in that family that shared the living quarters.

I love wandering through the old ruins, you can just imagine building your own Pueblo out of clay and rock. How hard it would be to keep it all clean, I imagine these people were red from the dirt all the time.

Tusayan Ruins © by Photographer Linda Hoxie

© by Photographer Linda Hoxie
© by Photographer Linda Hoxie | Source

More of the Tusayan Ruins © by Photographer Linda Hoxie

 © by Photographer Linda Hoxie
© by Photographer Linda Hoxie | Source

Information about the name of Tusayan ruins

The name "Tusayan" was the Spanish name for this geographic area and was given to these ruins by archeologists who excavated the site in 1930.

The name Tusayan

The name Tusayan
The name Tusayan

The Tusayan Ruins

The Tusayan Ruins © by Photographer Linda Hoxie

Here you can see the small square holes in the bottom of the living quarters, I wondered what they used them for. We joked that these were very small people, or that they had "doggy doors". But in reality they had a very important purpose for the families who lived here, they were air vents to bring in fresh air from the outside.

I imagine their fire smoke would go out the top of the Pueblo and the air would come in the bottom.

The Small Square Holes in the Bottom of the Livng Quarters

The small square holes in the bottom of the livng quarters
The small square holes in the bottom of the livng quarters | Source

Living quarters at the Tusayan ruins

These living quarters were even more worn from time, remember they are over 800 years old. It is amazing that even part of the walls still stand today.

The Living Quarters

The Living Quarters
The Living Quarters

A view of how the Tusayan Ruins were situated at the site

This drawing shows just how the Tusayan ruins were built, and the layout of the different parts of their community. You can see the larger areas were living quarters. The round circles were kiva's, or gathering areas for the group. The smaller rectangles were believed to be used for storage. The center area was almost enclosed by buildings, almost like a modern courtyard you see today in some communities.

A view of how the Tusayan Ruins were situated

A view of how the Tusayan Ruins were situated
A view of how the Tusayan Ruins were situated

Living quarters at the Tusayan ruins by Photographer Linda Hoxie

Living quarters at the Tusayan ruins
Living quarters at the Tusayan ruins | Source

Storage Rooms

Storage Rooms
Storage Rooms

Photo of The Storage Rooms

The Storage Rooms © by Photographer Linda Hoxie

These storage rooms were a lot smaller, maybe six by five feet or so. What kinds of things do you think they stored? Grains, and dried meats, perhaps skins?

Tusayan storage rooms

Tusayan storage rooms
Tusayan storage rooms

Information on the Large Kiva

Information on the Large Kiva
Information on the Large Kiva

Photo of the large Kiva at the Tusayan Ruins

Photo of the large Kiva © by Photographer Linda Hoxie

This large kiva was just so surreal, 800 years old and you could almost hear them talking, chanting, singing in this gathering place. It had a very spiritual feeling to it. The fireplace still intact, the bench where they sat side by side. What did they say, what language was spoken, what did they think and feel?

I can only imagine these people as being one with nature, artistic and wise.

I wonder if they felt blessed to live so close to the Grand Canyon.

Photo of a large Tusayan Kiva

Photo of a large Tusayan Kiva
Photo of a large Tusayan Kiva

Information on the protection of the archeological sites in the Grand Canyon

Information on the protection of the archeological sites in the Grand Canyon
Information on the protection of the archeological sites in the Grand Canyon

Thank you for taking the time to stop by, I really appreciate you! Please drop a note below so that I know you were here.

Thank you,

Linda

Thank you!

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    • goldenrulecomics profile image

      goldenrulecomics 4 years ago

      I had never heard of these. Thanks for sharing!

    • nightbear lm profile image

      nightbear lm 8 years ago

      Very Interesting, People are so ingenious. Great history lesson.

    • Kiwisoutback profile image

      Kiwisoutback 8 years ago from Massachusetts

      I never saw the ruins at Grand Canyon, just the rims. I visited both sides and made it a point to see the other rim, which took 6 hours or so out of our day. Well worth it!

    • jimmielanley profile image

      Jimmie Lanley 8 years ago from Memphis, TN, USA

      My daughter is interested in archaeology. I will pass this on to her!

    • rewards4life info profile image

      rewards4life info 8 years ago

      You are spoiling us with these interesting facts and fantastic pictures. Again, well done! =)

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 8 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Very interesting. You don't a superb job.