When visiting many ancient Indian ruins, the exact state in which they were found is preserved. There are many reasons for this, most of which involve the requirements of archaeologists, and a wish to show visitors what the ruins looked like when discovered.
But sometimes it is helpful for visitors to see what an intelligent reproduction of such ruins looks like. Scientists with their many measurements and experience with many ruins can give an accurate reproduction (enhancement of the ruins) enabling the average tourist to appreciate, perhaps, the sophistication of an ancient tribe. Besh-Ba-Gowah ruins is one such site.
The area of the Tonto National Forest and extending south and east was an area where the Salado Indians lived for many years developing a culture which was very admirable for the times. Not all, but many of the remains of buildings at the site have been rebuilt according to scientific standards and give the average tourist an eye-opening experience into ancient Indian civilization.
The ruins were stabilized and reconstructed providing a wonderful experience for the interested traveler. Documentation of tools used and the nature of living quarters are available at the site. A very large assortment of implements discovered years ago are on display in the visitor’s center, not to be missed.
The ruins were occupied between 1225 to 1400 AD, well before the Spaniards explored the area. Why the region was evacuated and left to decay is not completely understood, but the major thesis put forward by experts is that drought caused competition for natural resources, mainly food, and war between neighboring groups ensued.
If you would like to read more about this somewhat mysterious group of people, yet a group about which a lot is known, try reading a good article describing the grounds of this site for those anticipating a journey to central eastern Arizona. This is perhaps a less well-known area, but not something to be ignored even so. The countryside here is beautiful.