The name Sinagua was given to this culture by archaeologist Harold Colton, founder of the Museum of Northern Arizona. Sinagua is derived from the Spanish words sin meaning "without" and agua meaning "water", referring to the name originally given by Spanish explorers to the San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff, Arizona, the "Sierra Sin Agua". The name reflects the surprise the Spaniards felt that such large mountains did not have perennial rivers flowing from them as is common in Spain.
The last known record of Sinagua occupation for any sites are for Montezuma Castle National Monument around 1425 AD. The reasons for abandonment of their habitation sites are not yet known, but warfare, drought, and clashes with the newly arrived Yavapai people have been suggested. Several Hopi clans trace their roots to immigrants from the Sinagua culture. The Hopis believe their ancestors left the Verde Valley for religious reasons.
Montezuma Well listed in the National Register of Historic Places, reference #66000082.
Cliff dwellings of the Sinagua people.
Close up view of the Cliff dwellings of the Sinagua people.
Display which shows how the Pre-Columbian Sinagua people lived in Montezuma Castle, a historic cliff dwelling located in Montezuma Castle National Monument near Camp Verde, Arizona. The display and its contents are the work of an employee of the Bureau of Land Management.
Pit House ruins of Sinagua people, which dates back to 1050 AD. The two largest holes in the dirt floor held the timber which supported the roof. The holes around the edge reveal the outline of the structure. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, reference #66000082.
Hiker posing in the Ruins of a Sinagua house, which dates back to 1050 AD.