Honanki and Palatki are located near Sedona AZ, about 200 km north of Mesa where we are staying. Since it has been colder than we expected we thought we’d better head north sooner rather than later – before it snowed or rained turning the road into a mud pit. The last time we went, the road from Palatki to Honanki was a very slow. It is 9.8 km between the two sites but after a wrong turn we arrived at 4:50 and the Honanki closed at 5:00. At that time they let us in for a running visit so it was definitely a site I wanted to return to for a leisurely exploration.
So up early to avoid the morning rush hour through the freeway maze of Phoenix, arriving at Honanki around 9:30. Today we were first to the site instead of last.
The cliff dwelling at Honanki, built by the Southern Sinagua is second to Montezuma Castle as the largest site in the Verde Valley. Archaeologists have determined that around 600 AD the Sinagua culture emerged in this area. Honanki was two and perhaps three stories high in parts, and topped with a parapet, the stones held together by adobe mortar. (Picture at top of page is West Alcove) The more than 70 rooms were occupied by as many as 200 people between AD 1050 and 1350. They lived, grew corn, beans, squash, cotton and hunted in the Verde Valley and left behind pottery, ruins and petroglyphs and pictographs. Since this area has been occupied since the Archaic period (9000/3000BC to AD 300) there are Archaic, Sinagua, Hopi, Yavapai pictographs in the ruins. I only saw pictographs in this ruin. I think I’ll have to go back and see if I can find the rare petroglyph that is suppose to be there.
Archaic Pictographs – include geometric designs, grids and dots
Sinagua Pictographs – usually in white, red or black pigments – include animals, humans, geometric designs, possible spiritual figures and figures (shields) with dashes radiating out from the edge.
Yavapai Pictographs – similar in subject matter to Sinagua but they used the method of mud paint style in red-orange or white, the paint is thick and mud like, bits often flaking off.