Payson Arizona is Home to Shoofly Village Ruins

Ruins were in the vicinity (as they always are in Arizona) when our camping trip in Payson was rained out. Our wet, defeated selves shuffled into a nearby hotel room with all the comforts of home.

The camping gear lay untouched and soaked from the night before at Houston Mesa campground. We packed up and headed to the northern edge of Houston Mesa to Shoofly Village Ruins.

Sunset from Houston Mesa campground in Payson, Arizona. Photo/Kendra Yost

Upon arrival, Shoofly Village appeared to be a wide open park that provided picnic tables under ramadas. The site offered no noticeable structures except metal markers that stood erect in front of what used to be.

The ruin site offered great visuals carved into metal displays that explained the history in words and depictions.

The path was paved-for-your-pleasure at an elevation of 5,240 feet and we poked around looking at ruin rubble, even sneaking off the path.

The muddy ground was littered with broken shards of brown clay pottery. The pottery created by the people who occupied the village were mostly jar-shaped vessels not decorated with designs.

Broken pottery on the ground at Shoofly Village Ruins in Payson, Arizona. Photo/Kendra Yost

A vibrant purple flower glowed within the gray debris and matted down grass.

Shoofly Village Ruins in Payson, Arizona. Photo/Kendra Yost

A rock wall once enclosed the 3.75 acres of Shoofly Village that originally housed 79 standing structures. A larger structure stood center stage was believed to have been a building with 26 rooms, possibly two stories high.

Chaparrals and Junipers with blueberry-like berries that hang from bristly branches populated the villages grassland.

The mountain views are spectacular whichever way you gaze.

The ancient people of Shoofly Village were farmers and hunters, they grew corn, beans, squash, possibly cotton and successfully hunted deer, elk, rabbits, rodents, birds, ducks and geese. They may have also raised turkeys (wild turkeys are indigenous to the area).

The people who lived in Rim Country occupied more than 1,000 various sites and were known as the Mogollons, Ancient Ones or Bunheads.

The Shoofly Indian Ruins were thought to have been occupied between 1000 A.D.-1250 A.D.

In 1930, archaeologist John Hughes first recorded the site in the record books but full-scale excavations did not occur until 1984.

Dr. Charles Redman from Arizona State University conducted excavations as a field school program over a four-year period. More excavations are being considered.


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