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A spectacular set of ruins lies deep in the heart of the Sierra Ancha, in central Arizona.

   High in the rugged Sierra Ancha ("wide mountains" in Spanish) of central Arizona are a multitude of prehistoric ruins -- remnants of what (some) archaeologists call the Anchan and Salado Cultures.
   One of the most spectacular sets is this three-story structure, literally clinging to vertical walls, within a narrow gorge.  This is not an easy place to visit, and probably an even less easy place in which to live.  From its narrow windows, it has a great view, though!
   Built a little more than 700 years ago, this cliff-dwelling was probably only occupied for a few decades.  Why its residents constructed it, and why they left, is one of the many such mysteries in the American Southwest.
   The hard, durable quartzite is very old, dating from time.   The rocks in this area, and indeed much of the range, are put into what geologists call the Apache Group -- a series of formations that resulted from a very different landscape from today's.  

If you want more information
about the Sierra Ancha,
download these two FREE short GeoStories™
(PDF files, each <1MB):

Between a rock and the proverbial "tough place to be"?
These stone walls offer a refuge.

Hard Place

Three-story cliff dwellings cling to rock walls deep in Arizona's Sierra Ancha Wilderness.

Mining Towns

The Sierra Ancha hosts one of the most ancient mines in Arizona.

  Arizona is home to more than a few old mining towns.  Here is the story of some of the really old ones -- this one included.

   Next View >>
   See the GeoHistory page if you want to know more about why the landscape looks the way it does, or return to the map of "The Superstition Mountains" for more view locations.
   You can also send this as an E-Postcard to your friends!

If you like
rocks, gems,

& stars in the sky,

to our

  There are currently two more scenic views in this sequence:
  - a view of the Dripping Springs Quartzite
  - a look at an ancient mining town, and I mean ancient!

  There are many other scenic views around the Superstition Mtns and Sierra Ancha areas, accessible from the map.

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