Situated beneath the rim of a shield volcano that erupted over 800,000 years ago, Casa Malpais is one of the latest occupied pueblos of its time period. Built on volcanic fisures on a terraced site overlooking the Little Colorado River near Springerville, Arizona, this pueblo features a rock calendar, a Great Kiva, and a large masonry pueblo, built out of basalt cobbles. It is commonly thought to be a regional trading center, as well as a regional ceremonial center, inhabited for approximately 100 years around the time period of 1250 to 1340AD. By the time Coronado came through the area looking for the famed cities of Cibola in A.D. 1540, there were no permanent residents in the area.
Starting with the first white man to visit the site, Frank Hamilton Cushing in 1883, the site has held the interest of the archaeological community ever since. Brought here by the Zuni in New Mexico, Cushing was the first to diagram the pueblo site, and gave it it's nickname-the "fissure pueblo". Followed by several more expeditions, and finally a concerted effort by archaeological organizations and the Town of Springerville, as well as the Hopi Tribe and the Pueblo of Zuni to thoroughly document excavation and preservation of sites, Casa Malpais continues today to be a source of learning about this pre-historic time period in the Round Valley area.
Today, the Casa remains a destination for travelers interested in archaeological sites and history. In 1964, the site was made a National Historic Monument. Prehistoric sites are numerous in the area, and many people plan their trips around these sites. Along with the Museum filled with artifacts from the excavation of Casa Malpais, and a well produced video giving the history of the site, it has become a popular destination for national as well as international travelers.
Located at the Springerville Heritage Center
418 E. Main Street
Springerville, AZ 85938
Tours start from the Museum - 418 E. Main St
Tuesday - Saturdays March-Nov.
Tour times 9, 11:30, and 2 weather permitting
Reservations suggested: 928-333-5375
Pets are not allowed at the cultural site.
View of the Calendar and pueblo ruins from up on top
after climbing the Prehistoric Stairway