Butler Wash Ruins


The BUTLER WASH RUINS were once a small Anasazi community also of the Pueblo III period. It was constructed in the 1200s and is also of the Mesa Verde style. This site was chosen probably because it is easily defended, and the inhabitants likely farmed further down the wash and in the bottom. Of the three alcoves here, the largest held multi-story sleeping and storage rooms. Of the four kivas on the rock plaza in the front, three are round of the Mesa Verde Anasazi style, the fourth located farthest to the north is square showing Kayenta Anasazi influence. The use of the other two alcoves is not clear, It is likely the southernmost alcove was used only for storage. There is no sign the other alcove was used for habitation, but there is a possibility that it was used for ceremonial purposes.

Another Anasazi cliff-dwelling sits in upper Butler Wash known as Target Ruins also known as Bullseye Ruins and nearby is another ruin called Ballroom Cave Ruin. These ruins are located in alcoves which hold the remains of what was once a fairly extensive set of structures, now in serious disrepair with most of the rooms gone. These alcoves also have a few petroglyphs and pictographs.

Butler Wash is on the eastern side of Comb Ridge and drains into the San Juan River a short distance west of Bluff, Utah. Comb Ridge is a classic example of a monocline and was an impossible barrier to wagon travel for the Hole-in-the-Rock Pioneers. It dips down towards the east and extends 70 miles to Kayenta, Arizona. Two roads cut through the steeply-tilted Navajo, Kayenta, Wingate and Chinle Sandstone rocks.

Visit the Butler Wash Ruins in Tour 3.

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