Casa Malpais was built about 1250 A.D. and was inhabited until about 1440 A.D. It is one of the latest dating Mogollon Sites. This sixteen acre pueblo complex was built over basaltic lava flows that were laid down about 50,000 years ago. The builders took advantage of the deep fissures created by the lava flows and built some of their architecture underground. The complex consists of a large masonry pueblo, a Great Kiva, an enclosing wall, three masonry stairways, a prehistoric trail, numerous isolated rooms, sacred chambers, rock art panels, and an astronomical observatory. Casa Malpais is Spanish for "House of the Badlands?"
This page is dedicated to the astronomical observatory and the numerous sun watch areas that are associated with this site. The astronomical associations with this site are still under investigation and new hypothesis are in the process of being formed; so this page will bring them to light as they are developed.
No direct connections have been made with the modern day Native Americans and the inhabitants of Casa Malpais, by archaeologists; however both the Hopi and the Zuni People claim affinity to the site through oral traditions. In fact, what may have been the last of the public "Buffalo Dances" was performed at Casa Malpais.
George DeLange, the author of this website, worked as the volunteer astronomer at Casa Malpais site for a few years.
If you are planning to visit the Springerville, Arizona area to tour the Casa Malpais Site and you are coming from outside of Arizona, you could fly into Phoenix and then rent a car. Springerville is about 180 miles north of downtown Phoenix. Take US 60 through Show Low to Springerville. Once there, US 60 turns into Main Street. The Casa Malpais Visitor Center is located at 318 E. Main St.in Springerville, AZ. on U.S. Hwy 60.
After arriving in Phoenix, there are at least three scenic ways to travel to Springerville:
From Phoenix Along the Mogollon Rim:
There is the scenic view through the Payson, traveling through the largest stand of Ponderosa Pine in the world. Starting from Phoenix you take State Route 87 to Payson, then you take State Route 260 along the Mogollon Rim to Show Low. Continue heading east along U.S. 60 to Springerville.
From Phoenix Through the Copper Valley:
This alternative route of US 60 from Phoenix, takes visitors through the communities of Globe and Miami, (the Cobre, or copper valley) where the heart of Arizona's rich copper mining began. You'll then travel through the Salt River Canyon. Continuing through the desert and into the Fort Apache Indian Reservation along U.S. Route 60, you'll climb up into the tall pines, entering Show Low. You will continue east along Route 60, and approximately 45 minutes from Show Low, you'll enter Springerville.
Take I - 17 North from Phoenix, then from Flagstaff take Interstate 40 to the east, you'll pass through the communities of Winslow and Holbrook, where you can visit the Sunset Crater, the Painted Desert, and the new "Standing On the Corner" park in Winslow. Then turning south onto Route 191, you'll pass through the Petrified Forest on your way through St. Johns, home to the Apache County Museum, and then on in to Springerville.
There are hotels and motels in Springerville as well as almost all of the cities on the way. If you need a place to stay; Priceline.com can arrange that too.
We have some links to Priceline.com on this page since they can arrange all of your air flights, hotels and car.
You may need some outdoor clothing and equipment, if you plan to visit the Springerville area to tour the Casa Malpais Village Site.
We have some links to Altrec on this page since they are a good online source for outdoor gear.
We of course, appreciate your use of the advertising on our pages, since it helps us to keep this page active.
|A Colorful Local Resident!|
|"Fort Redondo" Ruins|
Located In Cottonwood Grove
|Large Prehistoric Cleared|
Last Public "Buffalo Dance"
Was Performed Here!
|Possible Remains Of Dwelling?|
In The Ceremonial Area!
|"Buffalo Dance" Was Performed In|
The Top Center Of Clearing
Small White Stones Mark Area
|Small "Lower Caste" Observatory?|
Lead To the Observatory.
Cliffs In Background
Into The Observatory!
Looking North Toward Cliffs
Looking To The South SouthEast.
The Background Door Opens
To The South.
|South Back Wall|
Important For Equinox
And Winter Solstice
|Center Of Picture|
True North / South Alignment
|Observatory View From Pueblos||West Gate Near Bush|
On Right Side Of Picture
Notice Alter Marker Nearby
|Slate True South Marker|
Offset South Gate
|True North Gate Aligns|
With True South Marker
|Several Small Residence Rooms|
Notice Small Sealed Door
|Doorway Between These Rooms|
|Possible Frog Glyphs?||The Large Rectuangular Kiva|
|This Needs Research|
Possible Sun Watch Station?
|Possible Small Shrine?|
Looking South SouthEast
|Unknown Glyph?||Possible Corn Glyphs?|
|Faint Sun Glyphs|
On Cliff Wall
Shadow & Light
From Left Rock
Might Be Hidden
In The Shadows
Near Green Bush
In Center Of Picture
Shadow & Light
On The Left!
|Possible Parrot Glyph|
Corn Plant Below
Female Figure Next
L & R Lizard People