Monday, January 12, 2015

Hovenweep National Monument: Mystery and Archaeology

Hovenweep Castle by HJPD
In my romantic suspense Whispers in the Dark, my heroine is an archaeology Masters student working at the fictional “Lost Valley.” This site is closely based on Hovenweep National Monument.

Located on the southern border between Colorado and Utah, these ruins once housed 2500 people between A.D. 1200 and 1300. It’s one of many sites left behind by the ancestral Puebloans, also known as the Anasazi. It’s smaller and less visited than Chaco Canyon or Mesa Verde, but that’s part of its charm. You can hike and camp without crowds.

Hovenweep Castle by Greg Willis
One hike takes you along a small canyon dotted with ruins, including multi-story towers and mudbrick structures balanced on boulders. The structures were built between A.D. 1200 and 1300. They may be square, circular, or D-shaped. There are many kivas, ceremonial structures. Some structures are still standing after 700 years, despite being built on the irregular surfaces of boulders. Mysteries abound. What were the towers for? Theories include celestial observatories, storage, defensive structures, homes, and civil buildings.

The reason people abandoned Hovenweep is also uncertain. A long drought was probably a factor, maybe combined with warfare and the depletion of resources. People throughout the area migrated into New Mexico and Arizona. Their descendents are today's Pueblo, Hopi, and Zuni people.

Hovenweep Cutthroat4 by HJPD
Despite a ranger station, campground, and trails, Hovenweep is often quiet. The lonely location allows for an almost Gothic atmosphere – mysterious lights in the canyon, spooky moaning sounds, and plenty of people hiding secrets. My heroine, Kylie, finds more than she bargains for, of course – including mystery, danger, and new love. She also falls in love with the Southwest, as I did after moving to New Mexico more 12 years ago.

Hovenweep National Monument is managed by the National Park Service.
Some lovely photos of Hovenweep by Orland Ned Eddins.
Road Scholar offers a Four Corners tour that includes Hovenweep.

Whispers in the Dark: Archaeology student Kylie Hafford craves adventure when she heads to the remote Puebloan ruins of Lost Valley, Colorado, to excavate. Romance isn’t in her plans, but she soon meets two sexy men: Danesh looks like a warrior from the Pueblo’s ancient past, and Sean is a charming, playful tourist. The summer heats up as Kylie uncovers mysteries, secrets, and terrors in the dark. She’ll need all her strength and wits to survive—and to save the man she’s come to love. 

Whispers in the Dark, romantic suspense set in the Four Corners region of the Southwest, will appeal to fans of Mary Stewart, Barbara Michaels, and Terry Odell.


Read a sample on my website.
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