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Catherine M.

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Catherine M. Cameron is an active scholar and professor at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Her research focuses on the American Southwest, especially in the Chacoan and postChacoan area. Camerons work has covered topics from prehistoric population movement, the evolution of complex societies as understood through the study of regional social and political systems, methodology of social boundaries in the past and prehistoric architecture. More current research includes pre-state societies captives and how they influence cultural transmission.[1]


1 Background 2 Education 3 Employment History 4 Selected Awards and Elected/Appointed Positions 5 Research Emphasis 6 Books and Monographs 7 Selected Journal Articles 8 Selected Book Chapters 9 External links 10 References

[edit] Background
Cameron was born in Santa Rosa, California, and was raised in the San Francisco Bay area (Palo Alto, Oakland, and Concord). Cameron developed a strong interest in archaeology at an early age. In an interview conducted by F. Joan Mathien and Joyce M. Raab for the Chaco Canyon

Field School Project, Cameron stated that [she] had always been interested in history as a kid. [Her] dad was very interested in history. This early interest made anthropology very appealing when she was choosing her career path.[2] In 1979, she married Stephen H. Lekson, a fellow southwestern archaeologist. Dr. Lekson also works in the Anthropology department in the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History. Throughout her career Dr. Cameron has written dozens of published works, and she has presented more than 50 papers at professional meetings.

[edit] Education
Cameron received her Bachelors degree in Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley in 1970. She went on to attain her Masters in Anthropology from the University of New Mexico in 1973. Cameron returned for her Ph.D. in Anthropology at the University of Arizona in 1991.

[edit] Employment History

After receiving her Masters degree, Cameron worked several jobs as an archaeologist and lithic analyst on the San Juan Valley Archaeological Project (1974-1975), at the National Park Services Chaco Center (1975-1982), on the Black Mesa Archaeological Project (1982-1985), and at the Coronado National Forest (1987-1990). While working on her Ph.D., Cameron worked in the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research at the University of Arizona (1988-1990). Upon completion of her Ph.D. in 1991, Cameron began working for the School of American Research in Santa Fe as an archaeological consultant (1991-1992). From 1992 1995, Cameron worked for the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation which is a Federal agency that promotes the preservation of historic and archaeological properties. In 1996, Cameron became an Assistant Professor for the Department of Anthropology and Associate Curator in the Anthropology Section at the University Museum, University of Colorado, Boulder. In 2001 she was promoted to Associate Professor and remains in that position to date (May, 2009).[3] Dr. Cameron expects a promotion to Full Professor by this summer (2009).

[edit] Selected Awards and Elected/Appointed Positions

Dr. Cameron received Colorado Universitys Outstanding Graduate Advising Award for 2001-2. She was the Program Chair, for the Society for American Archaeologys 2002 Annual Meeting. Cameron has been appointed to many other positions not listed here.

[edit] Research Emphasis

Cameron has emphasized the evolution of complex societies, paleodemography, and resource procurement and lithic studies. She has studied these subjects through the sites at Chaco Canyon National Park[4] in New Mexico, an early center for the Four Corners region of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado which dates to about AD 850 to AD 1250. The Bluff Great House in Utah which was a part of the Chacoan Regional System was another major research area for

Cameron. At Bluff Great House Cameron co-directed the site with Dr. Stephen H. Lekson. The site was of particular interest because of its seeming reconstruction during the Post-Chacoan Era, beginning around AD 1150, when many sites were being abandoned in the area.[5] The Comb Wash community, Utah is an important area located about 25 km northwest of Bluff Great House and contains a site that is believed to be another place which was occupied during and after Chaco-era. Cameron has focused on the analysis of architecture and its uses, worldwide studies on migration and captive women, and lithic analysis. Cameron emphasizes work with volunteers, presenting her research to the public, and consulting with Native American groups.

[edit] Books and Monographs

Cameron, Catherine M.

2009 Chaco and After in the Northern San Juan: Excavations at the Bluff Great House. University of Arizona Press.

Catherine M. Cameron, editor.

2008 Invisible Citizens: Captives and their Consequences. University of Utah Press.

Cameron, Catherine M.

1999 Hopi Dwellings: Architecture at Orayvi. University of Arizona Press.

Cameron, Catherine M. and Steve A. Tomka, editors.

1993 The Abandonment of Settlements and Regions: Ethnoarchaeological and Archaeological Approaches. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Winifred Creamer with contributions by Catherine M. Cameron and John Beal

1993 The Architecture of Arroyo Hondo Pueblo, New Mexico. School of American Research Press, Santa Fe. Note: Cameron wrote portions of and extensively revised the manuscript

[edit] Selected Journal Articles

Cameron is responsible for writing more than a dozen peer-review articles, some of which are listed below. Cameron, Catherine M. and Andrew Duff.

2008 History and Process in Village Formation: Context and Contrasts from the Northern Southwest. American Antiquity 73(1).

Cameron, Catherine M. and Phil Geib.

2007 Earthen Architecture at a Chacoan Great House. Journal of Field Archaeology 32:1-14.

Cameron, Catherine M.

2005 Exploring Archaeological Cultures in the Northern Southwest: What were Chaco and Mesa Verde? Kiva 70(3):227-254.

Cameron, Catherine M.

2002 Sacred Earthen Architecture in the Northern Southwest: The Bluff Great House Berm. American Antiquity 67(4).

Cameron, Catherine M.

2001 Pink Chert, Projectile Points, and the Chacoan Regional System. American Antiquity Volume 66(1):79-102.

Cameron, Catherine M. and H. Wolcott Toll

2001 Deciphering the Organization of Production in Chaco Canyon. American Antiquity Volume 66(1):5-13.

[edit] Selected Book Chapters

Dr. Cameron has contributed more than 15 book chapters.

Cameron, Catherine M., editor.

2008 Captives in Prehistory: Agents of Social Change. In Invisible Citizens: Captives and their Consequences. University of Utah Press.

Cameron, Catherine M.

2008 Comparing Great House Architecture: Perspectives from the Bluff Great House. In Salmon Ruins: Chacoan Outlier and Thirteenth-Century Pueblo in the Middle San Juan Region, edited by Paul Reed, pp. 251272. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake.

Cameron, Catherine M.

2003 A Consideration of Abandonment from Beyond Middle America In The Archaeology of Settlement Abandonment in Middle America, edited by Takeshi Inomata and Ronald Webb, pp 203210. University of Utah Press.

Jalbert, Joseph Peter and Catherine M. Cameron.

2000 Chacoan and Local Influences in Three Great House Communities in the Northern San Juan Region. In Great House Communities across the Chacoan Landscape, edited by John Kantner and Nancy Mahoney, pp. 7990. University of Arizona Press, Tucson.

[edit] External links

Faculty Biography, University of Colorado, Boulder.

Chaco Digital Initiative Chaco Canyon National Park

Coronado National Forest Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research Society for American Archaeology. University of Colorado Museum.

[edit] References
1. ^ University of Colorado at Boulder, Department of Anthropology. Faculty Bios; Catherine Cameron. 2. ^ Chaco Digital Initiative. 3. ^ Catherine Cameron CV. pdf 4. ^ Chaco Canyon National Park. 5. ^ On the Periphery of the Chaco World; The Bluff Great House. By Christine Ward.

Chaco Culture National Historical Park

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Chaco Culture National Historical Park

IUCN Category V (Protected Landscape/Seascape)

The Great Kiva of Chetro Ketl


San Juan County and McKinley County, New Mexico, USA

Nearest city Farmington, New Mexico 36330N 1075732W / 36.05833N Coordinates 107.95889WCoordinates:

36330N 1075732W / 36.05833N 107.95889W


33,974.29 acres (137.4891 km2) (137.49 km) (in 2005) 45,539 National Park Service

Established March 11, 1907 Visitors Governing body

World 1987 Heritage Site

Chaco Culture*
UNESCO World Heritage Site
State Party Type Criteria Reference Region** United States Cultural iii 353 North America

Inscription history
Inscription 1987
(11th Session)

* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List. ** Region as classified by UNESCO.

Chaco Culture National Historical Park is a United States National Historical Park hosting the densest and most exceptional concentration of pueblos in the American Southwest. The park is located in northwestern New Mexico, between Albuquerque and Farmington, in a remote canyon cut by the Chaco Wash. Containing the most sweeping collection of ancient ruins north of Mexico, the park preserves one of the United States' most fascinating cultural and historic areas.[1] Between AD 900 and 1150, Chaco Canyon was a major center of culture for the Ancient Pueblo Peoples.[] Chacoans quarried sandstone blocks and hauled timber from great distances, assembling fifteen major complexes which remained the largest buildings in North America until the 19th century.[1][2] Evidence of archaeoastronomy at Chaco has been proposed, with the "Sun Dagger" petroglyph at Fajada Butte a popular example. Many Chacoan buildings may have been aligned to capture the solar and lunar cycles,[3] requiring generations of astronomical observations and centuries of skillfully coordinated construction.[4] Climate change is thought to have led to the emigration of Chacoans and the eventual abandonment of the canyon, beginning with a 50-year drought in 1130.[5]

Composing a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the arid and inhospitable Four Corners region, the Chacoan cultural sites are fragile; fears of erosion caused by tourists have led to the closure of Fajada Butte to the public. The sites are considered sacred ancestral homelands by the Hopi and Pueblo people, who maintain oral accounts of their historical migration from Chaco and their spiritual relationship to the land.[6][7] Though park preservation efforts can conflict with native religious beliefs, tribal representatives work closely with the National Park Service to share their knowledge and respect the heritage of the Chacoan culture.[6]


1 Geography 2 Geology 3 Climate 4 Flora and fauna 5 History o 5.1 Ancestral Puebloans o 5.2 Athabaskan succession o 5.3 Excavation and protection 6 Management 7 Sites o 7.1 Central canyon o 7.2 Outliers 8 Ruins o 8.1 Great Houses o 8.2 Usage 9 See also 10 Notes 11 Citations 12 References 13 Further reading 14 External links

[edit] Geography
Chaco Canyon lies within the San Juan Basin, atop the vast Colorado Plateau, surrounded by the Chuska Mountains in the west, the San Juan Mountains to the north, and the San Pedro Mountains in the east. Ancient Chacoans drew upon dense forests of oak, pion, ponderosa pine, and juniper to obtain timber and other resources. The canyon itself, located within lowlands circumscribed by dune fields, ridges, and mountains, runs in a roughly northwest-to-southeast direction and is rimmed by flat massifs known as mesas. Large gaps between the southwestern cliff facesside canyons known as rinconswere critical in funneling rain-bearing storms into the canyon and boosting local precipitation levels.[8] The principal Chacoan complexes, such as

Pueblo Bonito, Nuevo Alto, and Kin Kletso, have elevations of 6,200 to 6,440 feet (1,890 to 1,963 m).

Summer thunderstorms over Fajada Butte and the Fajada Gap, near the southwestern rim of Chaco Canyon The alluvial canyon floor slopes downward to the northeast at a gentle grade of 30 feet (9.1 m) per mile (6 meters per kilometer); it is bisected by the Chaco Wash, an arroyo that only infrequently carries water. Of the canyon's aquifers, the largest are located at a depth that precluded the ancient Chacoans from tapping their groundwater: only several smaller, shallower sources supported the small springs that sustained them.[9] Significant surface water is virtually non-existent except in the guise of occasional storm runoff coursing through arroyos.

[edit] Geology
After the Pangaean supercontinent split apart during the Cretaceous period, the region became part of a shifting transition zone between a shallow inland seathe Western Interior Seaway and a band of plains and low hills to the west. A sandy and swampy coastline repeatedly shifted east and west, alternately submerging and uncovering the canyon's portion of what is now the Colorado Plateau.[10] As the Chaco Wash flowed across the upper strata of what is now the 400-foot (122 m) Chacra Mesa, it cut into it, gouging out the broad canyon over the course of millions of years. The mesa itself comprises sandstone and shale formations dating from the Late Cretaceous,[11] which are of the Mesa Verde formation.[10] The canyon's bottomlands were later further eroded, exposing Menefee Shale bedrock; this was subsequently buried under approximately 125 feet (38 m) of deposited sediment. The canyon and mesa lie within the "Chaco Core", distinct from the wider Chaco Plateau; it is a relatively flat region of grassland with infrequent and interspersed stands of trees. Especially because the Continental Divide is only 15.5 miles (25 km) east of the canyon, geological characteristics and different patterns of drainage differentiate these two regions both from each other and from the nearby Chaco Slope, the Gobernador Slope, and the Chuska Valley.[12]

[edit] Climate

Fajada Butte: Three or four snowstorms strike the canyon in a typical winter An arid region of high xeric scrubland and desert steppe, the canyon and wider basin average 8 inches (20 cm) of rainfall annually; the park averages 9.1 inches (231.1 mm). Chaco Canyon lies on the leeward side of extensive mountain ranges to the south and west, resulting in a rainshadow effect that leads to the prevailing lack of moisture in the region.[13] Four distinct seasons define the region, with rainfall most likely between July and September; May and June are the driest months. Orographic precipitation, resulting from moisture wrung out of storm systems ascending mountain ranges around Chaco Canyon, is responsible for most precipitation in both summer and winter; rainfall increases with higher elevation.[11] Occasional abnormal northward excursions of the intertropical convergence zone may bring unusually high amounts of precipitation in some years. The Chaco Canyon area is also characterized by remarkable climatic extremes: recorded temperatures range between 38 F (39 C) to 102 F (39 C),[14] and temperature swings of up to 60 F (16 C) in a single day are not unknown.[6] The region averages less than 150 days without frost per year, and the local climate can swing wildly from years of plentiful rainfall to long droughts.[15] The heavy influence of the El Nio-Southern Oscillation phenomenon on the canyon's weather contributes to the extreme climatic variability.[14]

[edit] Flora and fauna

Chaco Canyon's flora is typical of that found in the high deserts of North America: sagebrush and several species of cactus are interspersed with dry scrub forests of pion and juniper, the latter primarily on mesa tops. The canyon receives less precipitation than many other parts of New Mexico located at similar latitudes and elevations; consequently, it does not have the temperate coniferous forests that are plentiful in areas to the east. The prevailing sparseness of both plants and wildlife was echoed in ancient times, when overpopulation, expanding cultivation, overhunting, habitat destruction, and drought may have led the Chacoans to strip the canyon of wild plants and game.[16] As such, even during wet periods, the canyon was only able to sustain around 2,000 people.[17] The canyon's most notable mammalian species include the ubiquitous coyote (Canis latrans); mule deer, elk, and antelope also live within the canyon, though they are rarely encountered by visitors. Important smaller carnivores include the bobcats, badgers, foxes, and two species of skunk. The park hosts abundant populations of rodents, including several prairie dog towns and small colonies of bats, which are present during the summer. The local shortage of water means that relatively few bird species are present; these include roadrunners, large hawks (such as

Cooper's Hawks and American Kestrels), owls, vultures, and ravens, though they are less abundant in the canyon than in the wetter mountain ranges to the east. Sizeable populations of smaller birds, including warblers, sparrows, and house finches, are also common. Three species of hummingbirds are present, including the tiny, but highly pugnacious, Rufous Hummingbird; they compete intensely with the more mild-tempered Black-chinned Hummingbirds for breeding habitat in shrubs or trees located near water. Western (prairie) rattlesnakes are occasionally seen in the backcountry, though various lizards and skinks are far more abundant.

[edit] History
See also: Timeline of Chacoan history

[edit] Ancestral Puebloans

Chaco was one of many Anasazi sites (beige) spread across the Four Corners, the Colorado Plateau, and beyond Archaeologists identify the first people in the broader San Juan Basin as hunter-gatherers designated as the Archaic; they in turn descended from nomadic Clovis hunters who arrived in the Southwest around 10,000 BC.[18] By approximately 900 BC, these people lived at sites such as Atlatl Cave.[19] The Archaic people left very little evidence of their presence in Chaco Canyon itself. However, by approximately AD 490, their descendants, designated as Basketmakers, were continuously farming within the canyon, living in Shabik'eshchee Village and other pithouse settlements.

A small population of Basketmakers remained in the Chaco Canyon area and developed through several cultural stages until around 800, when they were building crescent-shaped stone complexes, each comprising four to five residential suites abutting subterranean kivas,[20] large enclosed areas set aside for religious observances and ceremonies. These structures have been identified as characteristic of the Early Pueblo People. By 850, the Ancient Pueblo population also known as the "Anasazi", from a Ute term adopted by the Navajo whose meaning has been variously translated as "ancient ones" or as "enemy ancestors" had rapidly expanded, with members residing in larger, denser pueblos. There is strong evidence of a canyon-wide turquoise processing and trading industry dating from the 10th century. At this time, the first section of the massive Pueblo Bonito complex was built, beginning with a curved row of 50 rooms near its present north wall.[21][22]

Pueblo Bonito, largest of the Great Houses, abuts the foot of Chaco Canyon's northern rim The cohesive system that characterized Chacoan society began disintegrating around 1140, perhaps due to an extreme 50-year drought that began in 1130;[23] chronic climatic instability, including a series of severe droughts, again struck the region between 1250 and 1450.[24] Other factors included water management patterns (leading to arroyo cutting) and deforestation.[25][26][27] For instance, timber for construction was imported from outlying mountain ranges, such as the Chuska Mountains over 50 miles (80 km) to the west.[28] Outlying communities began to disappear and, by the end of the century, the buildings in the central canyon had been carefully sealed and abandoned. Archaeological and cultural evidence leads scientists to believe people from this region migrated south, east, and west into the valleys and drainages of the Little Colorado River, the Rio Puerco, and the Rio Grande.[29]

[edit] Athabaskan succession

Numic-speaking peoples, such as the Ute and Shoshone, were present on the Colorado Plateau beginning in the 12th century. Nomadic Southern Athabaskan speaking peoples, such as the Apache and Navajo, succeeded the Pueblo people in this region by the 15th century; in the process, they acquired Chacoan customs and agricultural skills.[29][30] Ute tribal groups also frequented the region, primarily during hunting and raiding expeditions. The modern Navajo Nation lies west of Chaco Canyon, and many Navajo (more appropriately known as the Din) live in surrounding areas. The arrival of the Spanish in the 17th century inaugurated an era of subjugation and rebellion, with the Chaco Canyon area absorbing Puebloan and Navajo refugees fleeing Spanish rule. In succession, as first Mexico, then the U.S., gained sovereignty over the canyon, military campaigns were launched against the region's remaining inhabitants.[31]

[edit] Excavation and protection

Prehistoric roads and Great Houses in the San Juan Basin The trader Josiah Gregg was the first to write about the ruins of Chaco Canyon, referring in 1832 to Pueblo Bonito as "built of fine-grit sandstone". In 1849, a U.S. Army detachment passed through and surveyed the ruins.[32] The canyon was so remote, however, that it was scarcely visited over the next 50 years. After brief reconnaissance work by Smithsonian scholars in the 1870s, formal archaeological work began in 1896 when a party from the American Museum of Natural Historythe Hyde Exploring Expeditionbegan excavating Pueblo Bonito. Spending five summers in the region, they sent over 60,000 artifacts back to New York and operated a series of trading posts.[33] In 1901 Richard Wetherill, who had worked for the Hyde expedition, claimed a homestead of 161 acres (0.65 km2) that included Pueblo Bonito, Pueblo del Arroyo, and Chetro Ketl.[34][35] While investigating Wetherill's land claim, federal land agent Samuel J. Holsinger detailed the physical setting of the canyon and the sites, noted prehistoric road segments and stairways above Chetro Ketl, and documented prehistoric dams and irrigation systems.[36][37] His report, which went unpublished, urged the creation of a national park to safeguard Chacoan sites. The next year, Edgar Lee Hewett, president of New Mexico Normal University (later renamed New Mexico Highlands University), mapped many Chacoan sites. Hewett and others helped to enact the Federal Antiquities Act of 1906, the first U.S. law to protect antiquities; it was, in effect, a direct consequence of controversy surrounding Wetherill's activities in the Chaco Canyon area.[38] The Act also authorized the President to establish national monuments: on March 11, 1907, Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed Chaco Canyon National Monument. Wetherill relinquished his claims.[6]

Hungo Pavi, near the center of Chaco Canyon. A staircase leads out of the complex. In 1949, Chaco Canyon National Monument was expanded with lands deeded from the University of New Mexico. In return, the university maintained scientific research rights to the area. By 1959, the National Park Service had constructed a park visitor center, staff housing, and campgrounds. As a historic property of the National Park Service, the National Monument was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966. In 1971, researchers Robert Lister and James Judge established the Chaco Center, a division for cultural research that functioned as a joint project between the University of New Mexico and the National Park Service. A number of multi-disciplinary research projects, archaeological surveys, and limited excavations began during this time. The Chaco Center extensively surveyed the Chacoan roads, well-constructed paths radiating from the central canyon.[39] The results from such research conducted at Pueblo Alto and other sites dramatically altered accepted academic interpretations of both the Chacoan culture and the Four Corners region of the American Southwest. The richness of the cultural remains at park sites led to the expansion of the small National Monument into the Chaco Culture National Historical Park on December 19, 1980, when an additional 13,000 acres (53 km) were added to the protected area. In 1987, the park was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. To safeguard Chacoan sites on adjacent Bureau of Land Management and Navajo Nation lands, the Park Service developed the multi-agency Chaco Culture Archaeological Protection Site program. These initiatives have detailed the presence of more than 2,400 archeological sites within the current park's boundaries; only a small percentage of these have been excavated.[39][40]

[edit] Management

Map of major Chacoan sites Chaco Culture National Historical Park is managed by the National Park Service, a federal agency within the Department of the Interior; neighboring federal lands hosting Chacoan roads are controlled by the Bureau of Land Management. In the 20022003 fiscal year, the park's total annual operating budget was US$1,434,000.[41] The park has a visitor center, which features the Chaco Collection Museum, an information desk, a theater, a book store, and a gift shop. Prior to the 1980s, archeological excavations within the current park were intensive, involving the partial dismantling or demolition of compound walls and extraction of thousands of artifacts. Starting in 1981, a new approach informed by traditional Hopi and Pueblo beliefs led to restrictions on such intrusive excavations, preferring instead methodsincluding remote sensing, anthropological research into Indian oral traditions, and dendrochronologythat leave the Chacoan sites relatively undisturbed. In this vein, the Chaco American Indian Consultation Committee was established in 1991 in order to allow Navajo, Hopi, Pueblo, and other Indian representatives a voice in the parks management.[6] Current park policy mandates partial restoration of excavated sites. "Backfilling", which involves the use of sand to re-bury excavated sites, is one such technique.[6] Other initiatives include the Chaco Night Sky Program, which seeks to eliminate the impact of light pollution on the park's acclaimed night skies; under the program, some 14,000 visitors make use of the Chaco Observatory (inaugurated in 1998), park telescopes, and astronomy-related programs.[6] However, Chacoan relics outside the current park's boundaries have been threatened by development: an example was the proposed competitive leasing of federal lands in the San Juan Basin for coal mining beginning in 1983. Since ample coal deposits immediately abut the park, the strip mining would have threatened the web of ancient Chacoan roads. The year-long Chaco Roads Project thus documented the roads, which were later protected from the proposed mining.[42]

[edit] Sites

Chaco's smaller kivas numbered around 100, each hosting rituals for 50100 worshipers; the 15 much larger "Great Kivas" each held up to 400 The Chacoans built their complexes along a nine-mile (14 km) stretch of canyon floor, with the walls of some structures aligned cardinally and others aligned with the 18.6 year cycle of

minimum and maximum moonrise and moonset. Nine Great Houses are positioned along the north side of Chaco Wash, at the base of massive sandstone mesas. Other Great Houses are found on mesa tops or in nearby washes and drainage areas. There are 14 recognized Great Houses, which are grouped below according to geographic positioning with respect to the canyon.

[edit] Central canyon

The central portion of the canyon contains the largest Chacoan complexes. The most studied is Pueblo Bonito ("Beautiful Village"); covering almost 2 acres (8,000 m) and comprising at least 650 rooms, it is the largest Great House; in parts of the complex, the structure was four stories high. The builders' use of core-and-veneer architecture and multi-story construction necessitated massive masonry walls up to 3 feet (1 m) thick. Pueblo Bonito is divided into two sections by a wall precisely aligned to run north-south, bisecting the central plaza. A Great Kiva was placed on either side of the wall, creating a symmetrical pattern common to many Chacoan Great Houses. The complex, upon completion, was roughly the size of the Roman Colosseum.[4]

Pueblo Bonito Nearby is Pueblo del Arroyo; founded between AD 1050 and 1075 and completed in the early 12th century, it is located near Pueblo Bonito at a drainage outlet known as South Gap. Casa Rinconada, hosting a Great Kiva and relatively isolated from other sites in Chaco Canyon, sits to the south side of Chaco Wash, adjacent to a Chacoan road leading to a set of steep stairs that reached the top of Chacra Mesa. The kiva stands alone, with no residential or support structures; it once had a 39-foot (12 m) passageway leading from the underground kiva to several aboveground levels. Chetro Ketl, located near Pueblo Bonito, bears the typical D-shape of many other central complexes, but is slightly smaller. Begun between AD 1020 and 1050, its 450550 rooms shared just one Great Kiva. Scientists estimate that it took 29,135 person-hours of construction to erect Chetro Ketl alone; Hewett estimated that it required the wood of 5,000 trees and 50 million stone blocks.[43] Kin Kletso ("Yellow House") was a medium-sized complex located 0.5 miles (0.8 m) west of Pueblo Bonito; it shows strong evidence of construction and occupation by Pueblo peoples from the northern San Juan Basin. Its rectangular shape and design is related to the Pueblo II cultural group, rather than the Pueblo III style or its Chacoan variant. It contains around 55 rooms, four ground-floor kivas, and a two-story cylindrical tower that may have functioned as a kiva or religious center. Evidence of an obsidian-processing industry was discovered near the village, which was erected between AD 1125 and 1130.[44]

Anasazi, North America: A canteen (pot) excavated from the ruins in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico Pueblo Alto, a Great House of 89 rooms, is located on a mesa top near the middle of Chaco Canyon, and is 0.6 miles (1 km) from Pueblo Bonito; it was begun between AD 1020 and 1050 during a wider building boom throughout the canyon. Its location made the community visible to most of the inhabitants of the San Juan Basin; indeed, it was only 2.3 miles (3.7 km) north of Tsin Kletsin, on the opposite side of the canyon. The community was the center of a bead- and turquoise-processing industry that influenced the development of all villages in the canyon; chert tool production was also common. Research conducted by archaeologist Tom Windes at the site suggests that only a handful of families, perhaps as few as five to twenty, actually lived in the complex; this may imply that Pueblo Alto served a primarily non-residential role.[45] Another Great House, Nuevo Alto, was built on the north mesa near Pueblo Alto; it was founded in the late 1100s, a time when the Chacoan population was declining in the canyon.

[edit] Outliers
In Chaco Canyon's northern reaches lies another cluster of Great Houses; among the largest are Casa Chiquita ("Small House"), a village built in the 1080s AD, when, in a period of ample rainfall, Chacoan culture was expanding. Its layout featured a smaller, squarer profile; it also lacked the open plazas and separate kivas of its predecessors.[46] Larger, squarer blocks of stone were used in the masonry; kivas were designed in the northern Mesa Verdean tradition. Two miles down the canyon is Peasco Blanco ("White Bluff"), an arc-shaped compound built atop the canyon's southern rim in five distinct stages between AD 900 and 1125. A cliff painting (the "Supernova Platograph") nearby may record the sighting of the SN 1054 supernova on July 5, 1054.[][47]

Petroglyphs near Pueblo Bonito: a crescent moon, a hand, and a supernova

Hungo Pavi, located 1 mile (2 km) from Una Vida, measured 872 feet (266 m) in circumference. Initial explorations revealed 72 ground-level rooms,[48] with structures reaching four stories in height; one large circular kiva has been identified. Kin Nahasbas (built in either the 9th or 10th century) was another major ruin; it is located slightly north of Una Vida, positioned at the foot of the north mesa. Limited excavation has been conducted in this area.[49] Tsin Kletzin ("Charcoal Place"), a compound located on the Chacra Mesa and positioned above Casa Rinconada, is 2.3 miles (3.7 km) due south of Pueblo Alto, on the opposite side of the canyon. It lies near Weritos Dam, a massive earthen structure that scientists believe provided Tsin Kletzin with all of its domestic water. The dam worked by retaining stormwater runoff in a reservoir. However, massive amounts of silt accumulated during flash floods would have forced the residents to regularly rebuild the dam and dredge the catchment area.[50]

Interior of Wijiji, an outlier site occupied between AD 1100 and 1150 Deeper into the canyon, Una Vida ("One Life") is one of the three earliest Great Houses with construction beginning around AD 900. Comprising at least two stories and 124 rooms,[48] it shares an arc or D-shaped design with its contemporaries, Peasco Blanco and Pueblo Bonito, but has a unique "dog leg" addition made necessary by topography. It is located in one of the canyon's major side drainages, near Gallo Wash, and was massively expanded after 930.[40] Wijiji ("Greasewood"), comprising just over 100 rooms, is the smallest of the Great Houses. Built between AD 1110 and 1115,[51] it was the last Chacoan Great House to be constructed. Somewhat isolated within the narrow wash, it is positioned 1 mile (2 km) from neighboring Una Vida. Directly north are communities that are even more remote, including Salmon Ruins and Aztec Ruins, which are located along the San Juan and Animas Rivers near Farmington; these were built during a 30-year wet period that began in AD 1100.[5][52] Sixty miles (100 km) directly south of Chaco Canyon, on the Great South Road, lies another cluster of outlying communities. The largest of these is Kin Nizhoni, which stands atop a 7,000 foot (2,100 m) mesa surrounded by marsh-like bottomlands.

[edit] Ruins
[edit] Great Houses

Casa Rinconada, a Chacoan Great House Immense complexes known as "Great Houses" were key centers exemplifying Chacoan architectural and worship styles. Although forms evolved as the centuries passed, the houses maintained several core characteristics. Most notable is their sheer bulk; most complexes in Chaco Canyon averaged more than 200 rooms each, with some reaching up to 700 rooms.[4] The sizes of individual rooms were substantial, with high ceilings when compared to buildings erected in preceding Anasazi periods. They were also well-planned, with vast sections or wings erected in a single stage, rather than in increments. Houses are generally oriented to face the south, with plaza areas almost always enclosed by edifices of sealed-off rooms or high walls. The predominantly multistory constructions often stood four to five stories tall, with single-story rooms facing directly onto the plaza; room blocks were terraced so that the tallest sections composed the pueblo's rear edifice. Rooms were often organized into suites, with front rooms larger than rear, interior, and storage rooms or areas.

Doorways, Pueblo Bonito Ceremonial structures known as kivas were built in proportion to the number of rooms in a pueblo. On average, one small kiva was built for every 29 rooms. Nine complexes also each hosted an oversized Great Kiva, which could range up to 63 feet (19 m) in diameter. All Chacoan kivas share distinctive architectural features, including T-shaped doorways and stone lintels. Though simple and compound walls were also built, Great Houses were primarily constructed of core-and-veneer walls: two parallel load-bearing walls comprising dressed, flat sandstone blocks bound in clay mortar were erected. The gap between the walls was filled with rubble, which then formed the wall's core. Walls were then covered in a veneer of small sandstone pieces, which

were pressed into a layer of binding mud.[53] These surfacing stones were often placed to create distinctive patterns. Taken together, the Chacoan constructions required the wood of over 200,000 coniferous trees, which were mostly hauledon footfrom mountain ranges up to 70 miles (113 km) away.[7][54][55]

[edit] Usage

Petroglyphs, Una Vida: Observe reuse (overwriting of symbols) and various artists' styles compare the barking dog (left center) to the two rectangular dogs below it. The hand-print (center-left) and foot-print (inside rectangular body, center) are common in Puebloan art. (Image enhanced for contrast; see unenhanced view.) The meticulously designed buildings characterizing the larger Chacoan complexes did not emerge until around AD 1030. The Chacoan people combined pre-planned architectural designs, astronomical alignments, geometry, landscaping, and engineering to create an ancient urban center of unique public architecture. Researchers have concluded that the complex may have had a relatively small residential population, with larger groups assembling only temporarily for annual events and ceremonies.[7] Smaller sites, apparently more residential in character, are scattered near the Great Houses in and around Chaco Canyon. The canyon itself runs along one of the lunar alignment lines, suggesting the location was originally chosen for its astronomical significance. If nothing else, this facilitated alignment with several other key structures in the canyon.[4] Around this time, the extended Ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi) community also experienced a population and construction boom. Throughout the 10th century, Chacoan construction techniques gradually spread from the canyon to neighboring regions.[56] By AD 1115, at least 70 outlying pueblos with characteristic Chacoan architecture had been built within the 25,000 square miles (65,000 km) that compose the San Juan Basin. Researchers debate the function of the buildings, some of which are large enough to be considered Great Houses in their own right. Some suggest they may have been more than agricultural communities, perhaps functioning as trading posts or ceremonial sites.[57] Thirty such outliers spread across 65,000 square miles (168,000 km) are connected to the central canyon and to one another by a web of six enigmatic Chacoan road systems. Extending up to 60 miles (97 km) in generally straight lines, they appear to have been extensively surveyed and engineered.[58][59] They typically feature depressed and scraped caliche beds approximately 30 feet (9 m) wide; earthen berms or rocks, at times composing low walls, defined their edges. When necessary, the roads used steep stone stairways and rock ramps to traverse major obstacles, such as cliffs.[60] Although their overall function may never be known, archaeologist

Harold S. Gladwin reported that, according to the beliefs of nearby Navajo, the Anasazi had used the roads for transporting timber; archaeologist Neil Judd offered a similar hypothesis.[2]

[edit] See also

Archaeoastronomical sites by country

[edit] Notes

^ : The question of how to date Chacoan ruins was tackled by A. E. Douglass, the earliest practitioner of dendrochronology; consequently, the developmental chronology of Chaco Canyon's ruins is now the world's most extensively researched and accurate.[61] ^ : The Crab Nebula, now a supernova remnant in the constellation of Taurus, was the result of the event in question; the original supernova attained peak brilliance on the date that the Chacoans presumably sighted it.[47]

[edit] Citations
1. ^ a b Strutin 1994, p. 6 2. ^ a b Fagan 2005, p. 35 3. ^ Fagan 1998, pp. 177182 4. ^ a b c d Sofaer 1997 5. ^ a b Fagan 2005, p. 198 6. ^ a b c d e f g National Park Service 2007 7. ^ a b c Sofaer 1999 8. ^ Fagan 2005, p. 5 9. ^ Fagan 2005, p. 43 10. ^ a b Hopkins 2002, p. 240 11. ^ a b Fagan 2005, p. 47 12. ^ Fagan 2005, pp. 4647 13. ^ Fagan 2005, p. 44 14. ^ a b Fagan 2005, p. 45 15. ^ Frazier 2005, p. 181 16. ^ Fagan 2005, p. 222 17. ^ Fagan 1998, p. 177 18. ^ Stuart 2000, pp. 1417 19. ^ Stuart 2000, p. 43 20. ^ Fagan 2005, pp. 1819 21. ^ Noble 1991, p. 120 22. ^ Fagan 2005, p. 20 23. ^ Fagan 2005, p. 126 24. ^ Fagan 2005, pp. 5557 25. ^ Diamond 2005, pp. 136156 26. ^ Noble 1984, p. 11

27. ^ Noble 1984, pp. 5758 28. ^ English 2001 29. ^ a b Strutin 1994, p. 57 30. ^ Strutin 1994, p. 60 31. ^ Strutin 1994, pp. 5759 32. ^ Brugge, Hayes & Judge 1988, p. 4 33. ^ Strutin 1994, pp. 1217 34. ^ Brugge, Hayes & Judge 1988, p. 7 35. ^ Fagan 2005, p. 32 36. ^ Strutin 1994, pp. 1819 37. ^ Fagan 2005, p. 165 38. ^ Fagan 2005, p. 33 39. ^ a b Strutin 1994, pp. 32 40. ^ a b Fagan 2005, p. 6 41. ^ National Park Service 2005 42. ^ Frazier 2005, pp. 120121 43. ^ Strutin 1994, p. 26 44. ^ Fagan 2005, p. 11 45. ^ Fagan 2005, pp. 1011 46. ^ Fagan 2005, p. 21 47. ^ a b Kelley & Milone 2004, p. 413 48. ^ a b Fagan 2005, p. 26 49. ^ Fagan 2005, p. 98 50. ^ Frazier 2005, p. 101 51. ^ Fagan 2005, pp. 67 52. ^ Fagan 2005, p. 208 53. ^ Fagan 2005, pp. 119121 54. ^ Reynolds, Betancourt & Quade 2005, p. 1062 55. ^ Reynolds, Betancourt & Quade 2005, p. 1073 56. ^ Fagan 2005, p. 204 57. ^ Fagan 2005, pp. 202208 58. ^ Fagan 1998, p. 178 59. ^ Noble 1984, pp. 5253 60. ^ Strutin 1994, p. 35 61. ^ Fagan 2005, pp. 5055

[edit] References

Brugge, D.; Hayes, A.; Judge, W. (1988), Archeological Surveys of Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, University of New Mexico Press, ISBN 0-82631-029-X Diamond, J. (2005), Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, Viking, ISBN 0-670-03337-5 English, N. B.; Betancourt, J.; Dean et al., J. S. (2001), "Strontium isotopes reveal distant sources of architectural timber in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico", Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 58: 11891-11896, doi:10.1073/pnas.211305498

Fagan, B. (2005), Chaco Canyon: Archaeologists Explore the Lives of an Ancient Society, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-517043-1 Fagan, B. (1998), From Black Land to Fifth Sun: The Science of Sacred Sites, Basic Books, ISBN 0-20-195991-7 Frazier, K. (2005), People of Chaco: A Canyon and Its Culture, Norton, ISBN 0-39330496-5 Hopkins, R. L. (2002), Hiking the Southwest's Geology: Four Corners Region, Mountaineers, ISBN 0-89886-856-4 Kelley, D. H.; Milone, E. F. (2004), Exploring Ancient Skies: An Encyclopedic Survey of Archaeoastronomy, Springer, ISBN 0-38795-310-8 United States World Heritage Periodic Report: Chaco Culture National Historical Park (Section II), National Park Service, 2005,, retrieved August 21, 2009 Chaco Culture National Historical Park, National Park Service, 2007,, retrieved August 21, 2009 Noble, D. (1984), New Light on Chaco Canyon, School of American Research Press, ISBN 0-933452-10-1 Noble, D. (1991), Ancient Ruins of the Southwest: An Archaeological Guide, Northland, ISBN 0-87358-530-5 Reynolds, A.; Betancourt, J.; Quade, J. et al. (2005), "87Sr/86Sr sourcing of ponderosa pine used in Anasazi Great House construction at Chaco Canyon, New Mexico", Journal of Archaeological Science 32: 10611075,, retrieved August 21, 2009 Sofaer, A. (1997), The Primary Architecture of the Chacoan Culture: A Cosmological Expression, University of New Mexico Press,, retrieved August 21, 2009 Sofaer, A. (1999), The Mystery of Chaco Canyon, South Carolina Educational Television Strutin, M. (1994), Chaco: A Cultural Legacy, Southwest Parks and Monuments Association, ISBN 1-877856-45-2 Stuart, D. (2000), Anasazi America, University of New Mexico Press, ISBN 0-82632179-8

[edit] Further reading

Plog, S. (1998), Ancient Peoples of the American Southwest, Thames and London, ISBN 0-500-27939-X LeBlanc, S. A. (1999), Prehistoric Warfare in the American Southwest, Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, ISBN 0-87480-581-3

[edit] External links


"Chaco Culture National Historical Park". National Park Service.


"Chaco Digital Initiative". University of Virginia.


Media related to Chaco Culture National Historical Park at Wikimedia Commons


Chaco Culture National Historical Park travel guide from Wikitravel "Chaco Culture National Historical Park". A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary: American Southwest. National Park Service.


"Ancient Observatories: Chaco Canyon". Exploratorium. "The Mystery of Chaco Canyon". Solstice Project. "Chaco Canyon National Historical Park". Traditions of the Sun. University of California.

Ancient Pueblo Peoples

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Anasazi) Jump to: navigation, search

Cliff Palace, Mesa Verde National Park.

White House Ruins, Canyon de Chelly National Monument. Ancient Pueblo People or Ancestral Puebloans were an ancient Native American culture centered on the present-day Four Corners area of the United States. Archaeologists still debate when a distinct culture emerged, but the current consensus, based on terminology defined by the Pecos Classification, suggests their emergence around 1200 BC,during the Basketmaker II Era. Beginning with the earliest explorations and excavations, researchers have believed that the Ancient Puebloans are ancestors of the modern Pueblo peoples.[1] In general, modern Pueblo people claim these ancient people as their ancestors. The term "Anasazi" is not preferred by their descendants, though there is still some controversy amongst them on a native alternative. The word Anasazi is Navajo for "Ancient Ones" or "Ancient Enemy."[1]


1 Geography 2 Cultural characteristics 3 Origins 4 Migration from the homeland 5 Warfare and cannibalism 6 Anasazi as a cultural label 7 Cultural distinctions 8 See also 9 References 10 External links

[edit] Geography

Anasazi territory shown in light brown. The Ancient Pueblo were one of four major prehistoric archaeological traditions of the American Southwest. The others are the Mogollon, Hohokam and Patayan. In relation to neighboring cultures, the Ancient Pueblo occupied the northeast quadrant of the area.[2] The Ancient Pueblo homeland centers on the Colorado Plateau, but extends from central New Mexico on the east to southern Nevada on the west. Areas of southern Nevada, Utah and Colorado form a loose northern boundary, while the southern edge is defined by the Colorado and Little Colorado rivers in Arizona and the Rio Puerco and Rio Grande in New Mexico. However, evidence of Ancient Pueblo culture has been found extending east onto the American Great Plains, in areas near the Cimarron and Pecos rivers and in the Galisteo Basin. Terrain and resources within this massive region vary greatly. The plateau regions are generally high, with elevations ranging from 4500 to 8,500 feet (2,600 m). Extensive horizontal mesas are capped by sedimentary formations and support woodlands of junipers, pinon, ponderosa pines, and yellow pines, each favoring different elevations. Wind and water erosion have created steep walled canyons, and sculpted windows and bridges out of the sandstone landscape. In areas where erosionally resistant strata (sedimentary rock layers) such as sandstone or limestone overlie more easily eroded strata such as shale, rock overhangs formed. These overhangs were favored sites for shelters and building sites. The range country in areas such as the San Juan, Gallup and Albuquerque basins is low and arid, supporting desert grasses and shrubs. Streams in these regions allow the growth of willows and reeds, and were utilized by the Ancient Pueblo for agriculture. Mountains in the region are as tall as 12,000 feet (3,700 m), and provided timber, game, minerals, and the specialized stone used for flaked tools. In the southwest, access to water was essential. All areas of the Ancient Pueblo homeland suffered from periods of drought and wind and water erosion. Summer rains could be undependable and often arrived in destructive thunderstorms. While the amount of winter snowfall varied greatly, the Ancient Pueblo depended on the snow for most of their water. Snow

melt allowed the germination of seeds, both wild and cultivated, in the spring. Where sandstone layers overlay shale, snow melt could accumulate and create seeps and springs, which the Ancient Pueblo used as water sources. Snow also fed the smaller, more predictable tributaries, such as the Chinle, Animas, Jemez and Taos rivers. The larger rivers were less important to the ancient culture, as smaller streams were more easily diverted or controlled for irrigation.

[edit] Cultural characteristics

Pueblo Bonito, the largest of the Chacoan Great Houses, stands at the foot of Chaco Canyon's northern rim. The Ancient Pueblo culture is perhaps best-known for the stone and adobe dwellings built along cliff walls, particularly during the Pueblo II and Pueblo III eras. The adobe houses were built out of mud and dirt that they had molded together. The best-preserved examples of those dwellings are in National Parks (USA), parks such as Chaco Canyon or Chaco Culture National Historical Park, Bandelier National Monument, Mesa Verde National Park, Hovenweep National Monument, and Canyon de Chelly National Monument. These villages, called pueblos by Spanish settlers, were often only accessible by rope or through rock climbing. However, these astonishing building achievements had more modest beginnings. The first Ancestral Puebloan homes and villages were based on the pit-house, a common feature in the Basketmaker periods. The Ancestral Puebloans are also known for their pottery. In the "Anasazi" (northern) portion of the Ancestral Pueblo world, from about 500 to 1300 AD, the most common decorated pottery had black painted designs on white or light gray backgrounds. (In northern New Mexico, the local "black on white" tradition, the Rio Grande white wares, continued well after 1300 AD.) Pottery used for cooking or storage was unpainted gray ware, either smooth or textured. The Ancestral Puebloans also created many petroglyphs and pictographs.

[edit] Origins
The period from 700-1130 AD saw a rapid increase in population due to consistent and regular rainfall patterns. From studies of skeletal remains, this growth was due to increased fertility

rather than decreased mortality. However, this tenfold increase in population over the course of a few generations could not be achieved by increased birthrate alone; likely it also involved migrations of peoples from surrounding areas. Innovations such as pottery, food storage, and agriculture enabled this rapid growth. Over several decades, the Ancient Pueblo culture spread across the landscape. Anasazi culture has been divided into three main areas or branches, based on geographical location: Chaco Canyon (northwest New Mexico), Kayenta (northeast Arizona), and Northern San Juan (or Mesa Verde) (southwest Colorado). Modern Pueblo oral traditions hold that they originated to the north of their current settlements, from Shibapu, where they emerged from the underworld through a lake. For unknown ages they were led by war chiefs guided by the Great Spirit across North America. They settled first in the Anasazi areas for a few hundred years, then migrated to their current location.[citation needed]

[edit] Migration from the homeland

Ancestral Puebloan ruins in Dark Canyon Wilderness, Utah It is not entirely clear why the Ancestral Puebloans migrated from their established homes in the 12th and 13th centuries. Factors examined and discussed include global or regional climate change (cf. Little Ice Age), prolonged periods of drought, cyclical periods of topsoil erosion, environmental degradation, de-forestation, hostility from new arrivals, religious or cultural change, and even influence from Mesoamerican cultures. Many of these possibilities are supported by archaeological evidence. Current opinion holds that the Ancestral Puebloans responded to pressure from Numic-speaking peoples moving onto the Colorado Plateau as well as climate change which resulted in agricultural failures. The archaeological record indicates that it was not unusual for ancient Pueblo peoples to adapt to climatic change by changing residences and locations.[citation needed] Early Pueblo I sites may have housed up to 600 individuals in a few separate but closely spaced settlement clusters. However, they were generally occupied for a mere 30 years or less. Archaeologist Timothy A. Kohler excavated large Pueblo I sites near Dolores, Colorado, and discovered that they were established during periods of above-average rainfall. This would allow crops to be grown without benefit of irrigation. At the same time, nearby areas experiencing significantly drier patterns were abandoned.

The ancient Pueblos attained a cultural "Golden Age" between about 900 and 1130. During this time, generally classed as Pueblo II, the climate was relatively warm and rainfall mostly adequate. Communities grew larger and were inhabited for longer periods of time. Highly specific local traditions in architecture and pottery emerged, and trade over long distances appears to have been common. Domesticated turkeys appear.[citation needed] After approximately 1150, North America experienced significant climatic change in the form of a 300 year drought called the Great Drought, which also led to the collapse of the Tiwanaku civilization around Lake Titicaca.[3] The contemporary Mississippian culture also collapsed during this period. Confirming evidence is found in excavations of the western regions of the Mississippi Valley between 1150 and 1350, which show long-lasting patterns of warmer, wetter winters and cooler, drier summers. In this later period, the Pueblo II became more self-contained, decreasing trade and interaction with more distant communities. Southwest farmers developed irrigation techniques appropriate to seasonal rainfall, including soil and water control features such as check dams and terraces. However, the population of the region continued to be mobile, abandoning settlements and fields under adverse conditions. Along with this change in precipitation patterns, there was a drop in water table levels due to a different cycle unrelated to rainfall. This forced the abandonment of settlements in the more arid or over-farmed locations.[citation needed] Evidence also suggests a profound change in religion in this period. Chacoan and other structures constructed originally along astronomical alignments, and thought to have served important ceremonial purposes to the culture, were systematically dismantled. Doorways were sealed with rock and mortar. Kiva walls show marks from great fires set within them, which probably required removal of the massive roof - a task which would require significant effort. Habitations were abandoned, tribes split and divided and resettled far elsewhere. This evidence suggests that the religious structures were deliberately abandoned slowly over time. Puebloan tradition holds that the ancestors had achieved great spiritual power and control over natural forces, and used their power in ways that caused nature to change, and caused changes that were never meant to occur. Possibly, the dismantling of their religious structures was an effort to symbolically undo the changes they felt they caused due to their abuse of their spiritual power, and thus make amends with nature. Most modern Pueblo peoples (whether Keresans, Hopi, or Tanoans) and historians such as James W. Loewen, in his book Lies Across America: What Our Historic Markers and Monuments Get Wrong(1999), assert the ancient Pueblo did not "vanish" as is commonly portrayed in media presentations or popular books, but migrated to areas in the southwest with more favorable rainfall and dependable streams. They merged into the various Pueblo peoples whose descendants still live in Arizona and New Mexico. This perspective is not new and was also presented in reports from early 20th century anthropologists, including Frank Hamilton Cushing, J. Walter Fewkes and Alfred V. Kidder. Many modern Pueblo tribes trace their lineage from settlements. Evidence also suggests that a profound change took place in the Anasazi area and areas inhabited by their cultural neighbors, the Mogollon. For example, the San Ildefonso Pueblo people believe that their ancestors lived in both the Mesa Verde and the Bandelier areas.

[edit] Warfare and cannibalism

Stress on the environment may have been reflected in the social structure, leading to conflict and warfare. Near Kayenta, Arizona, Jonathan Haas of the Field Museum in Chicago has been studying a group of Anasazi villages that relocated from the canyons to the high mesa tops during the late 1200s. The only reason Haas can see for a move so far from water and arable land is defense against enemies. He asserts that isolated communities relied on raiding for food and supplies, and that internal conflict and warfare became common in the 13th century. This conflict may have been aggravated by the influx of less settled peoples, Numic-speakers such as the Utes, Shoshones and Piutes, who may have originated in what is today California. A 1997 excavation at Cowboy Wash near Dolores, Colorado, found remains of at least twentyfour human skeletons that showed evidence of violence and dismemberment, with strong indications of cannibalism. This modest community appears to have been abandoned during the same time period. (LeBlanc, p. 174) Other excavations within the Ancient Pueblo culture area produce varying numbers of unburied, and in some cases dismembered, bodies.[4] This evidence of warfare, conflict, and cannibalism is hotly debated by some scholars and interest groups.

[edit] Anasazi as a cultural label

The term "Anasazi" was established in archaeological terminology through the Pecos Classification system in 1927. Archaeologist Linda Cordell discussed the word's etymology and use: {{bquote|The name "Anasazi" has come to mean "ancient people," although the word itself is Navajo, meaning "enemy ancestors." [The Navajo word is anaasz (<anaa- "enemy", sz "ancestor").] It is unfortunate that a non-Pueblo word has come to stand for a tradition that is certainly ancestral Pueblo. The term was first applied to ruins of the Mesa Verde by Richard Wetherill, a rancher and trader who, in 18881889, was the first Anglo-American to explore the sites in that area. Wetherill knew and worked with Navajos and understood what the word meant. The name was further sanctioned in archaeology when it was adopted by Alfred V. Kidder, the acknowledged dean of Southwestern Archaeology. Kidder felt that it was less cumbersome than a more technical term he might have used. Subsequently some archaeologists who would try to change the term have worried that because the Pueblos speak different languages, there are different words for "ancestor," and using one might be offensive to people speaking other languages[5]. However, some translations of "Anasazi" suggest a translation closer to "ancestors that are now scattered", perhaps referring to a diaspora or exodus.[citation needed] Some modern Pueblo peoples object to the use of the term Anasazi, although there is still controversy among them on a native alternative. Some modern descendants of this culture often choose to use the term "pueblo peoples". The modern Hopi use the word "Hisatsinom" in preference to Anasazi. [6] However, Navajo Nation Historic Preservation Department (NNHPD) spokesperson Ronald Maldonado has indicated the Navajo do not favor use of the term "Ancestral Puebloan." In fact, reports submitted for review by NNHPD are rejected if they include use of the term.[citation needed] In David Robert's "In Search of the Old Ones: Exploring the Anasazi World of the Southwest" the author explained his reason for using the term "Anasazi" over a term using "Puebloan",

noting that the latter term "derives from the language of an oppressor who treated the indigenes of the Southwest far more brutally than the Navajo ever did."

[edit] Cultural distinctions

Boy in doorway, Balcony House, Mesa Verde National Park. Archaeological cultural units such as "Anasazi", Hohokam, Patayan or Mogollon are used by archaeologists to define material culture similarities and differences that may identify prehistoric socio-cultural units, equivalent to modern societies or peoples. The names and divisions are classification devices based on theoretical perspectives, analytical methods and data available at the time of analysis and publication. They are subject to change, not only on the basis of new information and discoveries, but also as attitudes and perspectives change within the scientific community. It should not be assumed that an archaeological division or culture unit corresponds to a particular language group or to a socio-political entity such as a tribe. When making use of modern cultural divisions in the American Southwest, it is important to comprehend that current terms and conventions have significant limitations:

Archaeological research focuses on items left behind during peoples activities: fragments of pottery vessels, garbage, human remains, stone tools or evidence left from the construction of dwellings. However, many other aspects of the culture of prehistoric peoples are not tangible. Their beliefs and behavior are difficult to decipher from physical materials, and their languages remain unknown as they had no known writing system. Cultural divisions are tools of the modern scientist, and so should not be considered similar to divisions or relationships the ancient residents may have recognized. Modern

cultures in this region, many of whom claim some of these ancient people as ancestors, contain a striking range of diversity in lifestyles, social organization, language and religious beliefs. This suggests the ancient people were also more diverse than their material remains may suggest. The modern term style has a bearing on how material items such as pottery or architecture can be interpreted. Within a people, different means to accomplish the same goal can be adopted by subsets of the larger group. For example, in modern Western cultures, there are alternative styles of clothing that characterized older and younger generations. Some cultural differences may be based on linear traditions, on teaching from one generation or school to another. Other varieties in style may have distinguished between arbitrary groups within a culture, perhaps defining status, gender, clan or guild affiliation, religious belief or cultural alliances. Variations may also simply reflect the different resources available in a given time or area.

Defining cultural groups, such as the Ancient Pueblo peoples, tends to create an image of territories separated by clear-cut boundaries, like border boundaries separating modern states. These simply did not exist. Prehistoric people traded, worshipped, collaborated and fought most often with other nearby groups. Cultural differences should therefore be understood as clinal, "increasing gradually as the distance separating groups also increases"[7]. Departures from the expected pattern may occur because of unidentified social or political situations or because of geographic barriers. In the Southwest, mountain ranges, rivers and, most obviously, the Grand Canyon can be significant barriers for human communities, likely reducing the frequency of contact with other groups. Current opinion holds that the closer cultural similarity between the Mogollon and Ancient Pueblos and their greater differences from the Hohokam and Patayan is due to both the geography and the variety of climate zones in the Southwest.

[edit] See also

Anasazi flute Anasazi Indian State Park Cliff Palace Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed Gallina Kokopelli Matrilocality Newspaper Rock State Historic Monument Prehistoric Southwestern Cultural Divisions Poqanghoya Puye Cliff Dwellings Salmon Ruins Sipapu Taos Pueblo Tsankawi Tsirege Virgin Anasazi Water glyphs


[edit] References
^ a b ^ The Anasazi or "Ancient Pueblo" from CP-LUHNA ^ Mountains of Evidence from American Scientist ^ Tim White, Prehistoric cannibalism at Mancos 5MTUMR-2346, Princeton, 1992, ISBN 0-691-09467-5 5. ^ Cordell, pp. 18-19) 6. ^ Pueblo culture, scroll down 7. ^ Plog, p. 72. 1. 2. 3. 4.

Childs, Craig House of Rain: Tracking a Vanished Civilization Across the American Southwest. Little, Brown and Company, February 22, 2007. ISBN 0316608173. Cordell, Linda S. Ancient Pueblo Peoples. St. Remy Press and Smithsonian Institution, 1994. ISBN 0-89599-038-5. Fagan, Brian M. "Ancient North America: Tha Archaeology of a Continent (part five)." Thames and Hudson, Inc., New York, New York, 1991. ISBN 0-500-05075-9. Jennings, Jesse D. Glen Canyon: An Archaeological Summary. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1966, republished 1998. ISBN 0-87480-584-8. LeBlanc, Steven A. "Prehistoric Warfare in the American Southwest." 1999, University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City, Utah. ISBN 0-87480-581-3. Plog, Stephen. Ancient Peoples of the American Southwest. Thames and Hudson, London, England, 1997. ISBN 0-500-27939-X. Roberts, David D. In Search of the Old Ones: Exploring the Anasazi World of the Southwest. Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group, 1996. ISBN 0-684-81078-6. Sofaer, Anna , Director. "Mystery of Chaco Canyon." 1999. DVD/VHS. Bullfrog Films. Blurb: "Unveiling the ancient astronomy of southwestern Pueblo Indians." Sequel to "The Sun Dagger." Great Drought. (2008). In Encyclopdia Britannica. Retrieved September 30, 2008, from Encyclopdia Britannica Online:

[edit] External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Ancient pueblo people

Bandelier National Monument Virtual Museum Exhibit and Lesson Plans, from National Park Service Chaco Culture National Historic Park Virtual Museum Exhibit, from National Park Service People of the Colorado Plateau

An Early Population Explosion on the Colorado Plateau The People of the Mountains, Mesas and Grasslands Cliff Palace of the Anasazi Photo 1054 Supernova Petrograph The Chaco Meridian Oral Tradition and History of the Ancient People Life Lists at Mesa Verde

Mesa Verde National Park

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Jump to: navigation, search

Mesa Verde National Park

IUCN Category II (National Park)

Entrance to the park


Montezuma County, Colorado, USA 371102N 1082919W /

Nearest city Cortez Coordinates

37.183784N 108.488687WCoordinates:

371102N 1082919W / 37.183784N 108.488687W

Area 52,121.93 acres (210.93 km2)
51,890.65 acres (209.99 km2) federal

Established June 29, 1906 Visitors Governing body (in 2006) 557,248 National Park Service

Mesa Verde National Park*

UNESCO World Heritage Site

State Party Type Criteria Reference Region**

United States of America Cultural iii 27 Europe and North America

Inscription history
Inscription 1978
(2nd Session)

* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List. ** Region as classified by UNESCO.

Mesa Verde National Park is a U.S. National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Montezuma County, Colorado, United States. The park occupies 81.4 square miles (211 square kilometers) near the Four Corners and features numerous ruins of homes and villages built by the ancient Pueblo people known as the Anasazi. The Anasazi made this stone village their home in A.D. 1200s. It is best known for several spectacular cliff dwellings structures built within caves and under outcroppings in cliffs including Cliff Palace, which is thought to

be the largest cliff dwelling in North America. The Spanish term Mesa Verde translates into English as "green tableland."


1 Geography 2 History o 2.1 Spanish explorers o 2.2 Richard Wetherill o 2.3 Gustaf Nordenskild o 2.4 Vandalism 3 National park o 3.1 Park services 4 Architecture 5 Notable sites 6 Culturally modified trees 7 See also 8 References 9 External links

[edit] Geography
Mesa Verde National Park is located in the lower south-western corner of the state of Colorado Elevations in the park range from about 6,100 feet (1,860 meters) to about 8,400 feet (2,560 m). The terrain in much of the park is dominated by ridges and valleys running roughly north and south; many of these ridges peak at an eastwest crest near the park's northern border which turns more northerlysoutherly towards the park entrance. The northernmost point is 13.2 miles (21.2 kilometers) farther north than the southernmost; the westernmost point is 11.9 miles (19.2 kilometers) farther west than the easternmost.

[edit] History
Although explorers from Spain went through the general region in the 18th century, actual sight of the cliffs dwellings by outsiders seems to have first occurred in the latter half of the 19th century. The fame of Mesa Verde soon began to spread thanks to the Wetherill ranchers and the archeological work of Gustaf Nordenskild. Vandalism led to the President Teddy Roosevelt's support of protecting the area as a national park in 1906.

[edit] Spanish explorers

Spanish explorers seeking a route from Santa Fe to California in the 1760s and 1770s were the first Europeans to reach the Mesa Verde (green table) region, which they named after its high, tree-covered plateaus. But they never got close enough, or into the needed angle, to see the ancient stone villages, which would remain a secret for another century.

[edit] Richard Wetherill

Occasional trappers and prospectors visited, with one prospector, John Moss, making his observations known in 1873. The following year he led eminent photographer William Henry Jackson through Mancos Canyon, at the base of Mesa Verde. There Jackson both photographed and publicized a typical stone cliff dwelling. In 1875 geologist William H. Holmes retraced Jackson's route. Reports by both Jackson and Holmes were included in the 1876 report of the Hayden Survey, one of the four federally financed efforts to explore the American West. These and other publications led to proposals to systematically study Southwestern archaeological sites. They did not lead to action for some years. Meanwhile, ranchers were beginning to settle the Mancos Valley. Some climbed up into Mesa Verde and observed more and larger stone structures. Looting of artifacts began, both for home display and for sale cheaply to visitors to the region. In a dismal two decades of despoliation, the most responsible ranchers were members of the Wetherill family, who also had the best relations with the local Ute tribe on whose territory Mesa Verde was located. The Wetherills collected artifacts for sale to the Historical Society of Colorado as well as private collectors, and began assembling a small library of relevant publications. They also saw the tourist potential of the cliff dwellings they now sought out systematically. Over several years they reoriented their ranch toward guiding tourists through the cliff dwellings, and became the first experts on them. Although they continued to dig in the ruins, knocking down some walls and roofs and gathering artifacts without extensive documentation, the Wetherill's actions were more responsible and considerate than those of the other looters that preceded them. Modern archaeological opinion generally agrees that the Wetherill family were reasonable caretakers in an era before archaeological standards and federal oversight and protection.[1]

House of Many Windows One noteworthy early visitor was a New York newspaper reporter named Virginia McClurg, whose efforts over a period of years helped lead eventually to park status for Mesa Verde. Another, in 1889 and 1890, was photographer and travel writer Frederick H. Chapin. He

described the landscape and structures in an 1890 article and 1892 book, The Land of the CliffDwellers, whose many excellent photographs were the first extensive view of Mesa Verde available to the public. Like other visitors in the early years, he was guided by the Wetherills.

[edit] Gustaf Nordenskild

Perhaps the most important early visitor was Gustaf Nordenskild, son of Finnish-Swedish polar explorer Adolf Erik Nordenskild, in 1891. Nordenskild, a trained mineralogist, introduced scientific methods to artifact collection, recorded locations, photographed extensively, diagrammed sites, and correlated what he observed with existing archaeological literature as well as the home-grown expertise of the Wetherills.[2]

The Cliff Palace in 1891, photo by Gustaf Nordenskild

Local opposition surfaced, however, and, after it was learned that Nordenskild's artifacts would be shipped to a museum in northern Europe, he was arrested and charged with "devastating the ruins." Rumors of lynching circulated. Only intervention by several Washington cabinet secretaries freed Nordenskild.

On return to Sweden, Nordenskild published, in 1893, the first scholarly study of the ruins, The Cliff Dwellers of the Mesa Verde, which put Mesa Verde on the map in the international community. Nordenskild's activities remained controversial for many decades but are generally recognized as highly valuable today. Nordenskild's collection of Mesa Verde artifactsin the National Museum of Finlandis the largest outside the U.S. Former Mesa Verde National Park superintendent Robert Heyder summed up Nordenskild's contributions:

The Cliff Palace today I shudder to think what Mesa Verde would be today had there been no Gustaf Nordenskild. It is through his book that the cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde became known and his volume might well be called the harbinger of Mesa Verde National Park as we know it today.

[edit] Vandalism
Yet vandalism continued. By the end of the 19th century, it was clear that Mesa Verde needed protection from unthinking or greedy people. An early Mesa Verde National Park superintendent, Hans Randolph, described the situation at the best known cliff dwelling, Cliff Palace: Parties of "curio seekers" camped on the ruin for several winters, and it is reported that many hundred specimens therefrom have been carried down the mesa and sold to private individuals. Some of these objects are now in museums, but many are forever lost to science. In order to secure this valuable archaeological material, walls were broken down...often simply to let light into the darker rooms; floors were invariably opened and buried kivas mutilated. To facilitate this work and get rid of the dust, great openings were broken through the five walls which form the front of the ruin. Beams were used for firewood to so great an extent that not a single roof now remains. This work of destruction, added to that resulting from erosion due to rain, left Cliff Palace in a sad condition.

[edit] National park

Spruce Tree House

Long view of Spruce Tree House As concern grew over the archaeological well being of Mesa Verde's ruins, and those in other nearby sites, the area was established as a national park on June 29, 1906. As with all historical areas administered by the National Park Service, the park was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966. It was designated a World Heritage Site on September 6, 1978. The park was named with the Spanish for green table because of its forests of juniper and pion trees. A set of six buildings built by the National Park Service in 1921, the Mesa Verde Administrative District, was designated a National Historic Landmark on May 29, 1987. It consists of the first buildings constructed by the National Park Service which are based on cultural traditions represented in the park area. The principal designer believed that structures could be used for interpretive purposes to explain the construction of prehistoric dwellings in the Park, and be compatible with their natural and cultural setting. In the summers of 2000 (twice), 2001, 2002, and 2003, the park, which is covered with pinyon pine and utah juniper forests, suffered from a large number of forest fires; parts of it were closed. All areas of the park have since re-opened, but some areas show significant damage from the fires.

[edit] Park services

Mesa Verde's park entrance is about 9 miles (15 kilometers) east of the community of Cortez. The visitor center is 15 miles (24 kilometers) from the entrance, and Chapin Mesa (the most popular area) is another 6 miles (10 kilometers) beyond the visitor center. The park's Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum provides information about the Ancient Puebloan civilization and displays findings and artwork.

Park Ranger giving a tour at Mesa Verde National Park Three of the cliff dwellings on Chapin Mesa are open to the public. Spruce Tree House is open all year, weather permitting. Balcony House and Cliff Palace are open except in the winter; visitors may tour them only on ranger-guided tours. The cliff dwellings on Wetherill Mesa, including Long House and Step House, can be reached via a 12 mile (19.2 kilometer) long mountain road leading southwest from the park visitor center. Many other dwellings are visible from the road but not open to tourists. In addition to the cliff dwellings, Mesa Verde boasts a number of mesa-top ruins. Examples open to public access include the Far View Complex, Cedar Tree Tower, and the Sun Temple, all on Chapin Mesa, and Badger House Community, on Wetherill Mesa. Also in the park are hiking trails, a campground, and facilities for food, fuel, and lodging; these are unavailable in the winter. The Mesa Verde National Park Post Office has the ZIP Code 81330.[3]

[edit] Architecture

Plan of entire Spruce Tree House from above, cut from a Laser scan

Laser scan section of the four-story Square Tower House. Mesa Verde is best known for a large number of well preserved cliff dwellings, houses built in shallow caves and under rock overhangs along the canyon walls. The structures contained within these alcoves were mostly blocks of hard sandstone, held together and plastered with adobe mortar. Specific constructions had many similarities, but were generally unique in form due to the individual topography of different alcoves along the canyon walls. In marked contrast to earlier constructions and villages on top of the mesas, the cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde reflected a region-wide trend towards the aggregation of growing regional populations into close, highly defensible quarters during the 1200s. While much of the construction in these sites conforms to common Pueblo architectural forms, including Kivas, towers, and pit-houses, the space constrictions of these alcoves necessitated what seems to have been a far denser concentration of their populations. Mug House, a typical cliff dwelling of the period, was home to around 100 people who shared 94 small rooms and eight kivas built right up against each other and sharing many of their walls; builders in these areas maximized space in any way they could and no areas were considered off-limits to construction [4]. Not all of the people in the region lived in cliff dwellings; many colonized the canyon rims and slopes in multi-family structures that grew to unprecedented size as populations swelled[5]. Decorative motifs for these sandstone/mortar constructions, both cliff dwellings and non-, included T-shaped windows and doors. This has been taken by some archaeologists, such as Stephen Lekson (1999), as evidence of the continuing reach of the Chaco Canyon elite system, which had seemingly collapsed around a century before[6]. Other researchers see these motifs as part of a more generalized Puebloan style and/or spiritual significance, rather than evidence of a continuing specific elite socioeconomic system.[7]

[edit] Notable sites

Overhead view of Square Tower House

Round tower, Cliff Palace. Photo by Ansel Adams, 1941

Mesa Verde from a northern view, May, 2007.

Photo of a modern visitor next to the hand holds used to reach the mesa top by the original inhabitants of Cliff Place. For most of the 12th and 13th centuries, known archaeologically as the Classic Period, the Ancient Puebloan Indians lived in the cliff dwellings. The reason for their sudden departure about 1275 remains unexplained; theories range from crop failures due to droughts to an intrusion of foreign tribes from the North.

Cliff Palace

Main article: Cliff Palace This ruin is the largest and best-known of the cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde. The site has 150 identified rooms and 23 kivas. Although this and other Mesa Verde sites are large and well constructed, they demonstrate a long history of occupation and their architectural design is an aggregation of dwellings and storage spaces that developed

slowly and randomly. Accurate archaeological information from this site has been limited due to several decades of digging and collecting at the turn of the Twentieth century.

Mug House This ruin situated on Wetherill Mesa was professionally excavated in the late 1960s by archaeologist Arthur Rohn. The structure contains 94 rooms, in four levels, including a large kiva, with simple vertical walls and masonry pilasters. This ceremonial structure has a keyhole shape, due to a recess behind the fireplace and a deflector, that is considered an element of the Mesa Verde style. The rooms clustered around the kiva formed part of the courtyard, indicating the kiva would have been roofed.

Spruce Tree House Located on Chapin Mesa, this cliff dwelling is easily accessible and well preserved. The ruins include a kiva with a restored roof which visitors can enter. Excavations indicate that this structure, like many other dwellings in Mesa Verde, was probably occupied for less than a century.

Square Tower House The tower that gives this site its name is the tallest structure in Mesa Verde. This cliff dwelling was occupied between AD 1200 and 1300.

Mesa Verde Reservoirs These ancient reservoirs, built by the Ancient Puebloans, were named a National Civil Engineering Historic Landmark on September 26, 2004.

[edit] Culturally modified trees

In February 2008 the Colorado Historical Society has decided to invest a part of its 7 million dollar budget into a Culturally modified trees project in the National Park.[8]

[edit] See also

Mesa Verde Wilderness Bandelier National Monument Canyons of the Ancients National Monument Navajo National Monument Puye Cliff Dwellings

[edit] References

FitzGerald, Michael C., "The Majesty of Mesa Verde" in Wall Street Journal, 2009 March 13, p. W12. Kantner, John. "Ancient Puebloan Southwest". Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2004. ISBN 9780521788809 Noble, David Grant. "Ancient Ruins of the Southwest". Northland Publishing, Flagstaff, Arizona 1995. ISBN 0-87358-530-5 Nordenskild, Gustaf. Ruiner af Klippboningar I Mesa Verde's Caons, Stockholm: P. A. Norstedt & Sner, 1893. Nordenskild, Gustaf. The Cliff Dwellings of the Mesa Verde, Chicago: P.A. Norstedt & Sner, 1893. Oppelt, Norman T. "Guide to Prehistoric Ruins of the Southwest". Pruett Publishing, Boulder, Colorado, 1989. ISBN 0-87108-783-9.

1. ^ Reynolds, Judith, Reynolds, David. Nordenskiold of Mesa Verde Xlibris Corporation, April 2006. ISBN 1425704840, paperback. 2. ^ FitzGerald, Michael C., "The Majesty of Mesa Verde" in Wall Street Journal, 2009 March 13, p. W12. 3. ^ "ZIP Code Lookup" (JavaScript/HTML). United States Postal Service. January 2, 2007. Retrieved January 2 2007. 4. ^ Kantner, John (2004). "Ancient Puebloan Southwest", pp. 161-66 5. ^ ibid. 6. ^ Lekson, Stephen (1999). "The Chaco Meridian: centers of Political Power in the Ancient Southwest". Walnut Creek, Altamira Press 7. ^ Phillips, David A., Jr., 2000, "The Chaco Meridian: A skeptical analysis" paper presented to the 65th annual meeting of the Society of American Archaeology, Philadelphia. 8. ^ State Historical Fund awards more than $7M in grants, in: Denver Business Journal, 14. February 2008].

[edit] External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park (official NPS site) Mesa Verde National Park Page Mesa Verde Digital Media Archive (creative commons-licensed photos, laser scans, panoramas), data on Spruce Tree House, Fire Temple, and Square Tower House from a Texas Tech University/CyArk research partnership Mesa Verde National Park travel guide from Wikitravel

Canyon de Chelly National Monument

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Canyon de Chelly National Monument U.S. National Register of Historic Places U.S. National Monument

Canyon de Chelly, 1904, Edward S. Curtis


Apache County, Arizona, USA

Nearest city: Chinle, Arizona 360801N 1092810W / 36.13361N 109.46944WCoordinates: Coordinates:

360801N 1092810W / 36.13361N 109.46944W

83,840 acres (33,930 ha) 881,783 (2004) National Park Service April 1, 1931 August 25, 1970

Area: Visitation: Governing body: Designated NMON: Designated NRHP:

Canyon de Chelly National Monument was established April 1, 1931, as a unit of the National Park Service and is located in northeastern Arizona within the boundaries of the Navajo Nation. It preserves ruins of the early indigenous tribes that lived in the area, including the Ancient Pueblo Peoples (also called Anasazi) and Navajo. The monument covers 131 square miles (339 km2) and encompasses the floors and rims of the three major canyons: de Chelly, del Muerto, and Monument. These canyons were cut by streams with headwaters in the Chuska mountains just to the east of the monument.


1 Description of Canyon de Chelly 2 Name 3 Gallery 4 See also 5 References 6 External links

[edit] Description of Canyon de Chelly

Canyon de Chelly is unique among National Park service units, as it consists entirely of Navajo Tribal Trust Land which remains in the ownership of the Navajo Nation and is home to the canyon community, while park matters are administered by the National Park Service.[1] Access to the canyon floor is restricted, and visitors are allowed to travel in the canyons only when accompanied by a park ranger or an authorized Navajo guide. The only exception to this rule is

the White House Ruin Trail. Most park visitors arrive by automobile and view Canyon de Chelly from the rim, following both North Rim Drive and South Rim Drive. Ancient ruins and geologic structures are visible, but in the distance, from turnoffs on each of these routes. Tours of the canyon floor can be booked at the visitor center. There is no fee to see the canyon. The National Monument was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 25, 1970.[2] The park's distinctive geologic feature is Spider Rock, a sandstone spire that rises 800 feet (240 m) from the canyon floor at the junction of Canyon de Chelly and Monument Canyon. Spider Rock can be seen from South Rim Drive. It has served as the scene of a number of television commercials. According to traditional Navajo beliefs the taller of the two spires is the home of spider woman.[3]

[edit] Name
The name Chelly (or Chelley) is a Spanish borrowing of the Navajo word Tsyi, which meaning "canyon" (literally "inside the rock" < ts "rock" + -yi "inside of, within"). The Navajo pronunciation is IPA: [tsi]. The Spanish pronunciation of de Chelly [detei] was adapted into English, apparently through modelling after a French-like spelling pronunciation, and is now pronounced /de/ (dsh').

[edit] Gallery

White House Ruins

Spider Rock

Canyon de Chelly, 1941, Ansel Adams photograph

False-color Landsat 7 image of the canyon (more information)

Satellite image of area with Canyon de Chelly National Monument marked as (CdC)

[edit] See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Canyon de Chelly

Ancient Pueblo Peoples Mesa Verde National Park

[edit] References
1. ^ Brugge, David M.; Wilson, Raymond (1976). Administrative History: Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona. United States Department of the Interior National Park Service. 2. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 3. ^ Tobert, Natalie; Pitt, Fiona (1994). Taylor, Colin F.. ed. Native American Myths and Legends. Salamander books ltd. p. 35. ISBN 0861017536.

Grant, Campbell. "Canyon de Chelly: Its People and Rock Art" . University of Arizona Press, 1983. ISBN 0-8165-0523-3.

[edit] External links

National Park Service: Canyon de Chelly National Monument National Park Service Geology Fieldnotes Canyon de Chelly Video