July 2, 2016
After breakfast we started our hike through the “Little Ruin Canyon” at Hovenweep National Monument. It is a relatively small canyon, but its claim to fame are the remains of Pueblo (Spanish for Village) dwellings made out of thick brown bricks, with walls two bricks wide. They date back 700 years.
One of the most interesting revelations to me was that these structures have “openings that, during solstices and equinoxes, admit shafts with sunlight”. The people could have used these as a type of calendar to determine planting and harvest times.
Towers may have been used as signaling stations, a way to communicate with other members of the community. There are living areas, work room, probably ceremonial chambers and storage spaces. Defense may also have been a consideration with some of the brick towers. The construction certainly does show how talented the masons were.
The name Hovenweep was actually chosen by a pioneer photographer named William Henry Jackson in 1874, it is a Ute/Piute word that means deserted valley.
On our way back we saw another new bird that we can’t identify. It will go in our next e-mail to Joe once we get internet access again.