By Levi Clancy for Student Reader on
Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument is located in the primitive, pristine, paradisal Gila Wilderness.
The inhabitants were ten or fifteen Mogollon families who raised corn, beans and squash on the mesas and cultivated gardens along the portions of the stream beds. Like all prehistoric southwestern Indians, they also relied upon hunting game and gathering wild plants. Trade was also part of their economy. The earliest ruin found at the Monument is a Mogollon pithouse that was occupied from about AD 200 until AD 1000. By 1000, Pueblo cultural influences led to construction of the visually striking 40 masonry rooms built in the shelter of five deep caves over 150 feet above the canyon floor. Dates from original roof timbers indicate that these dwellings were built in the 1280s. Abandonment of the site was complete by 1400.