Mummy Overlook




Deep within Canyon de Chelly National Monument, located in the Navajo Nation, lies the ruins called Mummy Cave. They’ve been abandoned since somewhere around the early 1300s, and although they are one of the largest ruins in the canyon, they raise as many mysteries as they answer.

We know that the inhabitants of nearby Mesa Verde influenced the initial construction, and we know that the the Ancient Pueblo People, sometimes called the Anasazi, inhabited the complex. There seems to be about 85 rooms in all, including an impressive three story tower. But after that, well, it is all educated guesswork. We know about the culture, but not the individuals, and we don’t know why it was abandoned, although disease, drought, and famine likely drove this decision.

Later, the Hopi used the canyon, and possibly even these ruins, for shelter and farming. They in turn encountered the Navajo, who had their own ideas about the canyon. The Navajo named these ruins ever practically, calling it simply “House under the Rock.” It wasn’t until later that it was called Mummy Cave. Whatever the name, it has stood the test of time and today reminds of us those who have come before us. Let us not forget them.

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