Canyon de Chelly National Monument

Located in northeastern Arizona, Canyon de Chelly National Monument (NM) was created to protect prehistoric villages from the period 350-1300 A.D. At least two cultures are represented by the monument’s archaeological sites. The Basket Makers, living in circular pithouses dug into the ground, were early occupants of the area. Over time, the style of houses changed to rectangular-shaped houses of stone masonry connected into compact villages. The villages are thought to have been abandoned around 1300 A.D. The canyons were inhabited off and on until around 1700, when the Navajo began to occupy the area. The monument lies within the Navajo Nation. A significant geologic feature at the monument is the Spider Rocks— twin rock towers that rise 256 meters. Also of note are the hanging gardens— plant communities found on canyon cliff faces.