Betatakin

Betatakin is one of the three great pre-historic cliff dwellings that are now part of Navajo National Monument in northern Arizona; the other two are the nearby Keet Seel and Inscription House. In the same year (1909) that they “discovered” Rainbow Bridge for the Anglo-European world, John Wetherill and Byron Cummings also “discovered” Betatakin. The House Built on a ledge occupies an enormous, south-facing alcove, 452 feet high and 370 feet across with its own fresh-water spring. Betatakin was built about 1260-1270 A.D. with about 120 separate rooms. Spectacular cliff-dwelling that is, Betatakin was nevertheless short-lived and was abandoned ca. 1300 A.D., a time when many other occupation sites through much of the Southwest were also abandoned. This massive prehistoric relocation of the native people is now thought to have been driven by drought conditions that developed near the end of the 13th Century. Because of rockfalls and erosion since abandonment, only 80 rooms exist in the Betatakin visible today. The third of the four repeat photography pairs here could not be reproduced exactly because of restricted access.

Betatakin cliff dwelling from a distance. Betatakin is in a subsidiary canyon of the Tsagi [Tsegi] (1927)
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Closer view of Betatakin (1927)
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The roofs of the dwellings at Betatakin, 250 feet above thecanyon floor (1927)
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Among the Betatakin Cliff dwellings. (1927)
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Additional Images from Betatakin Ruins (click to enlarge)