"Horseshoe and Hackberry Groups" Hovenweep National Monument Things to Do Tip by KiKitC
Hovenweep National Monument Things to Do: 5 reviews and 16 photos
Due to their close proximity, these two groups of ruins share access trails.
There is a one-mile (round trip) walking trail to Hackberry Canyon that takes you past structures in both the Horshoe and Hackberry Groups.
You will come across Horseshoe Tower which sits on a point marking the start of the Horseshoe Site. The Tower overlooks Horseshoe Canyon. Though the tower is at a defensivelly startegic location, there is evidence of the tower being walled off from the mesa top...contradictary to defense.
Continue on Canyon Rim Trail to Horseshoe House. Named so for the four structures arranged in a horseshoe shape. The stone-masonry that forms the outside wall is precisely cut. The intricately pieced togetehr wall is held together with mortar made from clay, sand, and ash, mixed with water from seeps in the canyon below. Amazingly, this mortar still stands. It is not known if specialized masons were brought into this site for the construction, or if this was truly the work of Horshoe Group's inhabitants.
Just east of the Horseshoe structures is the Hackberry Site, overlooking the Hackberry Canyon. Constant and ample water seepage in this canyon may have attributed to Hackberry being the largest popoulation of "villages" in the canyons. Anywhere between 250 to 350 people may have lived here.
Like other groups in the canyons, both Horseshoe and Hackberry have the defining characteristics of the late Puebloen period. These include large multi-story pueblos and towers, located at canyon heads with seeps and springs. Rains were intermittent rains so for the survival of crops, the Puebloans constructed water-control features, with stone dams.
Mystery surrounds the reasoning for the sudden abandonment of the people of this area. Warfare, overpopulation, or even a 23 year-long drought beginning in A.D. 1276 may have been the cause.
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