Sikyatki, Arizona

Encyclopedia Article


A site of ancient Hopi village ruins, located in the southern portion of First Mesa on the Hopi Reservation in Northern Arizona. The site is probably more well-known than some of the other ancient ruins in the area, because it was the location of a large excavation (mainly in cemeteries) by Jesse Walter Fewkes of the Smithsonian Institution in 1895. The result of this excavation was the discovery of large numbers of pottery pieces all made in the unique “Sikyatki-style.”

According to Hopi oral tradition, as it is recounted in Tony Hillerman's work, the settlement was abandoned after conflict with the neighboring village of Walpi, which is still inhabited today. While historians are uncertain as to why Sikyatki was abandoned, there is some consensus that the people left the village as such conflicts escalated. It is estimated that the village was first settled in the 1400s and abandoned between 1500 and 1600, before the arrival of the Spanish colonizers.

In his novel 1980 Navajo detective novel THE DARK WIND, Hillerman portrays the village as still being a settled community, while in actuality Sikyatki has not been occupied for centuries, although it remains a significant, sacred site to the Hopi.

Photo Credit: 

"Decorated bowl from the ruins of the former Hopi village of Sikyátki, circa 1400-1625 AD" by Millicent Rogers Museum is licensed under CC BY.

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