Canyon de Chelly National Monument

Canyon de Chelly National Monument də shā´ [key] [De Chelly, Sp. corruption of Navajo Tsegi = rock canyon], 83,840 acres (33,955 hectares), NE Ariz.; est. 1931. The area contains the ruins of several hundred prehistoric Native American villages, most of them built AD 350–1300. The spectacular cliff dwellings include Mummy Cave, with a three-story tower house. Artifacts have been found, and there are numerous pictographs in rock shelters and on cliff faces. The earliest people living in the region were the Basket Makers , predecessors of the Pueblo . The Navajo came to the canyon c.1700, and it became their chief stronghold. In 1805 a Spanish expedition fought the Navajo in a rock shelter (dubbed Massacre Cave) in Canyon del Muerto (site of a prehistoric burial ground). In 1864 a U.S. cavalry force under Kit Carson engaged the Navajo in Canyon de Chelly. See National Parks and Monuments , table.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: U.S. National Park System