Homol’ovi State Park
Homol’ovi State Park preserves a cluster of villages that were occupied between ca. 1250 and 1400 AD and thus provide archaeologists with an important link in reconstructing the migration of ancient peoples in the Southwest from the great pueblos of the north such as Chaco Canyon to their eventual settlement in places such as the Hopi mesas to the east. Archaeologists and modern Hopi, who consider the village inhabitants to be their ancestors, both believe that groups of prehistoric clans chose to stay here due to it’s location on the fertile floodplain of the Colorado River during the migrations of clans westward.
Only two sites are open to the public today, the larger Homol’ovi II site, which may contain as many as 2,000 rooms, and Homol’ovi I, an earlier settlement which lies to the southeast. I began by driving out through the grasslands to the former which was occupied between ca. 1340 and 1400 AD. Though partially unexcavated and partially backfilled with material to prevent damage and additional looting, many room blocks and a great deal of material remain visible at the site. In addition, a large rectangular kiva measuring 20 x 33 feet and 6.6 feet deep has been left exposed for visitors to view.
The Homol’ovi I site is actually two villages located along the Little Colorado River – the larger stone pueblo on the hill dating to ca. 1285 and the later partially-adobe structure to the east that was constructed upon a raised plaza to prevent flooding. This latter structure dates to ca. 1350 and provides definitive proof that adobe construction predated Spanish influence. What was amazing to me were the large amount of pottery sherds that remain scattered around Homol’ovi I. I totally got giddy looking at the pieces within view from the trail and picked up a few to look more closely at their designs and patterns before placing them back next to the walkway.