The Sinagua are an archaeological culture in the southwestern United States. Its distribution area in present-day U.S. state of Arizona is to the Verde Valley and Sedona, the exact extent of the culture and their dating are not backed up. Other authors do not consider them as a distinct culture, but as a local expression of the Anasazi or take it with Cohonina and Patayan together to Hakataya.

Of the former Spanish name Sierra de Agua Sin (mountains without water) of the San Francisco Peaks The name is derived from at Flagstaff. He was first in 1939 and then used by Harold Colton in a summary work of 1946.

Distribution area

The Sinagua settled on a part of the Mogollon Rim, which the Colorado Plateau separates as a step in the terrain in northern part of the Basin and Range region in the south, and in a small part in the southwest of the Colorado Plateau. The largest concentration of the Sinagua attributed to buildings located in the Verde Valley, the Canyon of the Verde River. Individual settlement places with elements of the Sinagua extend from the Little Colorado River in the northeast to the Salt River in the south. Today's settlements in the region include Flagstaff and Sedona. The largest settlements are reported as memorials of the Federal: Montezuma Castle National Monument, Walnut Canyon National Monument and Tuzigoot National Monument preserve each different site types and designs.


As the beginning of the Sinagua culture applies mostly the eruption of Sunset Craters in 1064 /65. Our wide but thin ejection of volcanic ash improved soil conditions and in particular the ability of the soil to store water and so drew immigrants in the previously sparsely populated area. Individual authors can already start the Sinagua 500. The Sinagua built scattered settlements mainly on slopes, wherever they found little arable land. Larger settlements with about 50 rooms in all houses together are rare, Elden Pueblo with just under 100 rooms is the largest known settlement from this period.

In 1250 changed the settlement structure. In the San Francisco Peaks east of Flagstaff, the Sinagua built the whole settlement New Caves at the O'Neill Crater. On the north and the south ridge of the crater they built per a settlement between the yoke served as a public square with a interpreted as a community center building. The excavations of the settlement between 1992 and 2003 was approximately 200 individual structures in the two nuclei, of which approximately 75-125 are considered to be inhabited. They conclude at approximately 600 residents in the core settlements, as well as further 50-75 inhabited structures in the area and come on up to 800 residents of New Caves. The cause of the change in the form of settlement is considered an external threat. The ridge has excluded only with respect to the defense capability benefits would the long road to potable water and arable land before the break this location. New Cave was not permanently maintained. Already in 1300 the settlement was extinguished, as the ground of lack of water is discussed.

The end of the Sinagua is not precisely determined. The ceramic style used by them was not made ​​until about 1550, houses are only up to about 1450 detectable.

Lifestyle and buildings

The Sinagua were agriculturalists. Main crops were beans and squash pumpkins, since about 500 cotton was also known in the region. By 1200, and especially after a Dürrepreiode end of the 13th century, they introduced the irrigated agriculture. The largest irrigation project is one of Montezuma Castle National Monument and is in a collection and storage tanks that could hold back fed from a source up to 5.7 million liters of water.

Their dead they put in near the buildings, grave findings suggesting that size of women and men by 1.55 m by 1.68 m close. So you hardly differed from Europeans the same time.

The pottery of the Sinagua is called Alameda Brown Ware. The forms are characterized by high walls, the material is mixed gray - brown and with pounded glass shards, or in later times with volcanic ash as temper. Goods was fired in simple open furnaces. Other artifacts were baskets, stone tools and horn, as well as jewelry. Among the latter are both strings of beads, as well as bracelets and hundreds of followers. Jewelry pieces were primarily made of shells and turquoise.

Initially they built Sinagua pit houses with wooden structures of the upper walls and roofs, but soon began with the establishment of pueblos. These were partly built on rocky hilltops, above the river valleys, some of them came to paragraphs in the rock walls.

Cultural associations

In the Sinagua to elements of the Anasazi, Hohokam and Mogollon the mix. Pottery styles and buildings suggest that the Hohokam were the oldest of the cultures. After the volcanic eruption and the improvement of the soil attracted people of different cultures in the region: " The result was a blend of influences from the Hohokam, Anasazi and Mogollon that never coalesced into a defined culture. " Similarities to the pottery of the Mogollon may be more likely to return the geologically same raw material as on cultural proximity, the buildings develop in parallel to those of the Anasazi. " The best definition of the Sinagua might be that it is none of the other great cultures, but all of them simultaneously. "

Other authors reject a classification from a distinct culture and consider them despite striking objects because of the conformity of all the artifacts with those of adjacent groups as Western Anasazi province.

As far as the Sinagua be regarded as a local expression of Hakataya, the Highland Yuma peoples of the Hualapai, Havasupai and Yavapai may be considered as today's descendants. The Hopi claim according to their traditions that the Sinagua had immigrated 1250-1450 in their territories, had taken their customs and be merged with them. This can not be proved archaeologically.