Arizona Faces and Features Montezuma Castle (1150s–1400s) Sinagua (a Spanish word meaning “without water”) Indian farmers began building this 5-story, 20-room dwelling in the 12th century. It stands in a cliff recess 100 feet above the valley. The Sinaguans probably thought that this was a good place to live. The nearby creek was a reliable source of water. There was fertile land on the terrace. The ladders they used to climb up to their home were pulled up behind them. In this way, they felt safe because warring Indians could not climb the cliff to reach them. Montezuma Castle reached its present size in the 1300s and was occupied for another century. In the early 1400s, the Sinaguans abandoned the entire valley. No one knows why. r There are over 200 species of agave plants  found in the American Southwest and  Mexico. Early Spanish explorers took agave  plants back to Europe where they are found  in many European countries today. Agave One family of plants that was very important to the Paleo Indians is known today as the agave. Many species of agave are found in the deserts of Arizona. Sometimes these plants are called century plants. This is because of an incorrect legend that they live 100 years before blooming. The agave was very useful to the Paleo Indians. They used all parts of the plant. They would roast the leaf stalks in their fires. Then they would pound the leaves with stones to remove the plant tissue. Long, stringy fibers now remained. These fibers were woven into rope and sandals. The flower buds were roasted and used as food. The flower stalk could be cut to allow sweet sap to ooze out. The sap was collected and used as a sweet drink. r Montezuma Castle National Monument is  located in the Verde Valley near the town  of Camp Verde, Arizona. King Montezuma II  never lived in this pueblo “castle.” Chapter 3 • Arizona Faces and Features  35