On January 18, 2000, President William Clinton signed Presidential Proclamation 7263 establishing the Agua Fria National Monument. Located in Central Arizona east of I-17 between Phoenix and Flagstaff Agua Fria National Monument is covered by mesa grasslands split by steep canyons and helps to protect the resources of the Perry Mesa Archaeological District that was home to several thousand residents in pueblo communities between 1250 and 1450.
From the Proclamation:
The windswept, grassy mesas and formidable canyons of Agua Fria National Monument embrace an extraordinary array of scientific and historic resources. The ancient ruins within the monument, with their breathtaking vistas and spectacular petroglyphs, provide a link to the past, offering insights into the lives of the peoples who once inhabited this part of the desert Southwest. The area’s architectural features and artifacts are tangible objects that can help researchers reconstruct the human past. Such objects and, more importantly, the spatial relationships among them, provide outstanding opportunities for archeologists to study the way humans interacted with one another, neighboring groups, and with the environment that sustained them in prehistoric times.
The monument contains one of the most significant systems of late prehistoric sites in the American Southwest. Between A.D. 1250 and 1450, its pueblo communities were populated by up to several thousand people. During this time, many dwelling locations in the Southwest were abandoned and groups became aggregated in a relatively small number of densely populated areas. The monument encompasses one of the best examples of these areas, containing important archeological evidence that is crucial to understanding the cultural, social, and economic processes that accompanied this period of significant change.