Chaco Culture National Historic Park is remarkable.
The canyon’s breathtaking architecture has drawn visitors from around the world.
A thousand years ago Chaco Canyon was the center of a phenomenal culture. Monumental public architecture was constructed with rocks, mud, stone tools and a great deal of social cooperation. For generations construction continued on a cluster of great houses in Chaco Canyon. After prevailing for 300 years, Chaco Canyon declined as a regional center, construction ceased and the great houses where abandoned. Continue reading
The Chaco Phenomenon was an instance of a rapid jump in culture.
Huge three-and four-story houses built with exquisite stonework, and containing hundreds of rooms were built by people that only a short time prior were living in underground pit houses.
During the 11th and 12th centuries the Chacoan people suddenly developed an extraordinary culture, that over generations completed great works of civic architecture.These achievements were only made possible by a social, economic, religious and political system that had not existed before that time. The rapid jump in culture raises perplexing and unanswered questions. Why the marvelous great houses were built and then completely deserted by AD 1250 adds to the mystery of the phenomena. Continue reading
Chaco Culture National Historical Park preserves one of America’s richest and most fascinating cultural and historic areas.
I had been to Chaco Canyon on a memorable excursion 15 years ago. I was able to revisit there the summer of 2014. I wanted to stand where humans had stood a thousand years ago, in a land that had not changed. I wanted to see what those people had seen. A priority on this visit was to see how they used local resources for architecture and document their meticulous craftsmanship in masonry.
At about 900 AD there was an explosion of activity in all facets of life, work and culture in Chaco Canyon. What influenced the people there to build huge pueblos and great houses is an unknown mystery.
The Chaco people combined pre-planned architectural designs, astronomical alignments, geometry, landscaping and engineering to create an ancient urban center of spectacular public architecture. There are 15 great house sites in the core area of Chaco Canyon and hundreds of other related pueblos in the region
craftsmanship Continue reading
Archeoastronomy is the study of the beliefs and practices concerning astronomy that existed in ancient and prehistoric civilizations.
The meanings of the sky vary from culture to culture.
The sun, moon and stars above mattered to our ancient ancestors. The universe above seemed a predictable and ordered model to structure their civilization on. In today’s society, heavenly cycles such as the lunar phases, the equinox and solstice all go by unnoticed. What mattered to our ancient ancestors matters less in modern society as lives are less connected to the environment and natural cycles.
In Chaco Canyon, New Mexico there is a monument to archeoastronomy; high on Fajada Butte is the Sun Dagger. Nine hundred years ago Chaco canyon was the center of a hub for trade and administration for 75 surrounding pueblos and settlements. Radiating out from Chaco like a compass were 400 roads, some as long as 250 miles. While many details of this culture’s origin and lifestyle are unclear, the record of their history stands in the incredible architecture and their knowledge of the celestial sky. Continue reading
I am drawn to ruins.
In July of this year I spent time in Chaco Canyon, at a cluster of archeological sites left by the Anasazi (the Ancient Ones) over a thousand years ago.
Chaco Canyon was a place of power, wealth and the center of an architectural, technological and cultural revolution like the world had never seen before or has seen since.
The New Mexico San Juan Basin located on the Colorado Plateau is a 100 mile diameter area edged by Cuba, New Mexico and Farmington, NM on the southern side and Durango, Colorado and Pagosa Springs, CO on the northern. The most extensive collection of ancient ruins in North America are in the San Juan Basin on the Colorado Plateau. Continue reading
The rural roots of personal identity and community have been cut off.
Our heritage is disappearing. A way of life and livelihood is disappearing. Knowledge of skills is disappearing. Self reliance is disappearing. Family farms are disappearing. People live huddled in crowded cities. They have have lost their connection to the land, and our heritage is disappearing.
How can rural communities advance the common goal of economic stability, healthy living and environmental stewardship?
Food, clothing and shelter are the necessities of human survival. These industries and the transportation of these goods also have the largest impact on the environment. These same industries also drive a good portion of the local economy as well as corporate economic growth. Continue reading