Shoofly Village Gives Glimpse Into Area's Past


More than 800 years ago, a group of people made the Shoofly Village their home. Located just 5 miles northeast of Payson on Houston Mesa Road, the village contains 87 rooms and many courtyards. A wall surrounds all of these. The entire village consists of about four acres.

The people who built the village had close cultural ties to the Hohokam and Salado people, then living in the deserts and mountains to the south of Payson.


For those like local archaeologist Penny Minturn who like to study ancient cultures, the Shoofly and Risser Ruins are a must-see.

The village is arranged into three groups of rooms that were constructed at different times during the history of the site.

According to written information from the Tonto National Forest, "The compound wall was at least 3 feet high and may have been higher. The fact that no houses are found outside the wall suggests that it was built for protection."

A lot of corn and grinding stones have been found at the village, so the people probably raised corn and beans. The village is very close to creeks, so they had a water source for many agricultural quests.

Forty other sites have been found near the Shoofly Village. You'll see some terraces where the villagers probably farmed.

Take Houston Mesa Road to the village. There is signage by the road. Park your car in the designated lot and take the self-guided tour. There are ramadas along the way and a wonderful view of the Mogollon Rim from the back of the village.

Archeologists aren't sure when the people of the area abandoned the Shoofly Village. According to the forest service, it was probably a gradual process that ended around 1250 A.D. They believe drought or social unrest could have forced the villagers to leave.


What: Shoofly Village archeological ruins

Where: 5 miles northeast of Payson, on Houston Mesa Road

Fee: no

Wheelchair access: Yes, mostly flat trails

Facilities: Bathrooms, picnic tables, ramadas, and a handicap-accessible, self-guided interpretive trail.

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