Dean M. Chriss
Mummy Cave Ruins, Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona

Mummy Cave Ruins, Canyon del Muerto, Arizona

(Click image to enlarge)

Mummy Cave, located deep within Canyon del Muerto at Canyon de Chelly National Park, contains a number of ancient structures that were built at various times in history. The structure shown in this image is the newest in the complex, and is situated between two deeper alcoves that comprise Mummy Cave. It is likely the last pueblo the Anasazi occupied before abandoning the Canyon de Chelly region around 1300 A.D.. The caves take their name from two mummified bodies, found still wrapped in yucca plant fiber, by an archeological expedition in 1882.

This photograph was taken in the morning before any direct sunlight strikes the ruins. Much of the illumination is reflected from adjacent canyon walls, casting a glow of warm diffuse light into the alcove.