THATCHER, AZ—Eastern Arizona College’s Discovery Park was grateful to host National Honor Society students from Pima High School for a service project to restore the Mogollon Pit House demonstration site last month.
The Mogollon Pit House at EAC Discovery Park was originally built by Nathan McNair for a Boy Scouts of America Eagle Project in June of 2011. The Pit House is an archaeological demonstration of how pre-historic Native Americans, specifically the “Mogollon Culture” of the Southwest would have lived.
The structures began with a deep circular or oval pit dug into the ground. The pit helped provide a stable temperature that was cool in the summer and warm in winter. The shelter was made with a circular framework of limbs and branches above ground, surrounding the pit, with a narrow sloping entrance leading into the shelter. The final step was to mix mud and cover the entire dwelling in a thick layer to seal and protect the inhabitants from wind, rain, heat, and cold.
An open doorway entrance allowed airflow in the summer and cooled the shelter, while a blocked doorway and small fire with a small chimney opening in the roof area provided warmth in the winter. These dwellings protected the Mogollon people from the extreme weather of the region, where they lived from 200 BC to approximately 1540 AD.
Time, weather, and use would require the Pit House to require re-mudding to maintain the seal and protection of the structure.
“Using wheelbarrows, shovels, native grass, and dirt from the site, the students mixed a thick blend of mud and repaired the structure,” said Paul Anger, Discovery Park director. “We are grateful for their help in repairing the Mogollon Pit House so the community can continue to visit the site and learn about the prehistoric settlers of our area.”
Visitors are welcome to explore the Mogollon Pit House, as well as the “Rock House” next to it, near the beautiful Discovery Park’s grassy “Meadows” area. The grounds are open to the public at no charge Monday through Saturday from dawn to dusk. For more information on EAC Discovery Park, visit www.eac.edu/discoverypark, call (928) 428-6260, or email email@example.com.