The Southern Sinagua were ancient farmers of the Verde Valley. They flourished in the Verde Valley for hundreds of years. They were hunters and gatherers who roamed the valley.
Tuzigoot and other pueblos throughout the Verde Valley were occupied for hundreds of years - longer than the United States has been a country. They had thrived and prospered. But in the late 1300s, the people began to leave. Why?
According to the Hopi, the Verde Valley was never intended to be a permanent home. Instead, it was one stop in a much larger migration. Eventually the time came for that migration to continue. It is possible that changing weather patterns, crop failures, or a breakdown of ancient trade relationships were signals it was time to move on.
They did not leave all at once, and some stayed behind. The Zuni tell us those who could not travel remained here. The Yavapai say their ancestors left the pueblos and farms for a more mobile lifestyle of hunting and gathering.
The cylindrical joints of this unique cactus break off easily and can catch on skin and fur. The plant spreads readily across the landscape, travels with unwary hikers and animals, then roots where dropped. The cholla offers excellent protection from snakes and other predators.