Chaco Canyon Essay, Research Paper


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jim barry 11/4/96

The Anasazi, who were named by the Navajos, knew how to chart the

seasons by detecting the sky. The biggest enigma of Chaco Canyon is why the

Anasazidecided to go forth the place that they had built over so many old ages. the

one thing

that is rather interesting is that they were able to build such a

brilliant piece of

architecture without the usage of metal tools or any devices with wheels.


Chimney Rock is located about 20 stat mis west of Pagosa Springs, Colorado. The

building is composed chiefly of sandstone which was laid at that place more than

65 million

old ages ago. The territory that Chimney Rock is located in consists of 6.12

square stat mis, has

91 identified countries with a sum of 217 different constructions.

Most of these countries were grouped into 7 communities that are located at


topographic points within the territory. The Anasazi Indians lived in the Piedra Valley

get downing about

the tine of Christ. Most of them lives at lower lifts near the Fieldss

and they farmed

along the H2O beds, but some moved up onto the higher parts of Chimney Rock


around 925 A.D. They may hold moved higher to avoid the cold sink consequence that

made the

lower countries colder in the winter, or they may hold moved higher to use

winter snow as

a H2O beginning. Still, most of the Fieldss they planted in spring were along

the waterways

on the floor of the vale or on patios in the vales above the river. At

Chimney Rock

the people grew maize and beams, but no squash. Although squash was a pillar

of their

people in other countries, the turning season was likely excessively short in this

part for squash

to maturate before it was killed by hoar.

The population of Chimney Rock is estimated to hold been between 1200 and

2000 people. The local Anasazi built in the Northern San Juan Style, each

household or

extended household constructing its ain place. The masonry was similar to that in the


at Mesa Verde.

Great kivas were built in about every major Anasazi site between 900 and


A.D. One of the several great kivas at Chimney Rock has been excavated. These


constructions likely served for community assemblages and rites. Fourteen


Chamberss, were found in the floor of this Great Kiva, presumptively for the

storage of

ceremonial gear. Although this Great Kiva has some alone characteristics,

it likely

was built harmonizing to a general program used by all the Anasazi.

Ninety stat mis to the South, some of the Anasazi were making a new sort of


in Chaco Canyon. Alternatively of the scattered type of homes found in most


communities at that clip, the people at Chaco were constructing Pueblo or great

houses. This

is Pueblo Bonito. They besides created more than 400 stat mis of roads taking to


colonies, or settlements. Chaco seems to hold been a focal point in the

trading of

turquoise from many countries of the Southwest with the civilisations in Central


In 1076 the Chacoans built a great house on Chimney Rock Mesa. Their Pueblo

was high above the others, the highest Anasazi colony known anyplace, and

the most

northeastern of the sites colonized by the Chacoans. Some Chacoan settlements

seem to

have been built in places where they could see the fires of other settlements

at dark, or,

possibly, send signals to each other.

The people of Taos Pueblo in New Mexico claim Chimney Rock as one of their

hereditary places and say that the two stones pinnacles are a shrine to the Twin

Was Gods.

The Anasazi were interested in calendrical uranology as a means to state when

to works their

harvests. Religious ceremonials were related to motions of Sun, Moon and sta


in the

celestial spheres, merely as the same motions as alterations of seasons determined their

lives. At

Chimney Rock they found a natural lunar observatory. Every 18 old ages the full

Moon rises

between the two pinnacles as viewed from the small town. This occurs at the clip

of lunar

deadlock, the clip when the Moon rises at its furthest point North of E.

The Chacoan

Pueblo at Chimney Rock may hold been a prehistoric research institute,

similar in portion to

Stonehenge in Great Britain.

Dr. Frank Eddy, who has excavated some Chimney Rock sites, feels that the

settlers who moved here may hold been priests, all male, because they

brought merely

masculine endowments with them ; for illustration, the manner of masonry, a adult male? s

undertaking, is clearly

Chacoan. However, the occupants of Chimney Rock did non bring forth typical


clayware, a adult female? s business.

Replica of pots found at Chimney Rock Produced by Clint Swink, a local


who specializes in doing transcripts of Anasazi clayware, show a Chacoan manner

pot, turn outing

that there was ongoing trade between the two societal centres. Other artefacts

found at

Chaco Canyon but made at Chimney Rock Reinforce the trade and cultural links.

Evidence that the Chacoan Pueblo was planned and built as a whole is shown by

the uninterrupted rear wall. The masonry was laid down on bedrock, taking


to believe that the rocks and the soil used for the clay howitzer were hauled

up from below.

The Chacoans stayed at Chimney Rock for merely about 50 old ages. Their Pueblo was

abandoned no later than 1125 A.D. It is thought that the other occupants

deserted the

part at about the same clip. Both the Pueblo and the small town edifices were


about the same clip. Chaco Canyon itself was abandoned over a period of old ages


1130 and 1150 A.D.

The Anasazi moved often when local resources became depleted. Even the

stupefying cliff homes at Mesa Verde were occupied for less than a century.


the cause of their abandoning the full Colorado Plateau was likely due to

a terrible

drouth that occurred between 1276 and 1299. When the rains failed to come,


agribusiness faltered and they were forced to go forth. The Anasazi must hold

abandoned this

fatherland reluctantly.

The former dwellers of Chimney Rock may hold moved to the Rio Grande

country to fall in the Taos Pueblo, or they may hold been one of the groups that


reoccupied Chacoan shade towns. For illustration, the ruins at Aztec, New Mexico


built by people from Chaco about 1100, abandoned by 1150, but reoccupied and

remodeled by Northern San Juan Anasazis from 1200 to about 1300 A.D. Some

interesting grounds late discovered by Dr. Kim Malville at Mesa Verde

may demo

that some Chimney Rock Anasazi moved at that place after go forthing their places below



Today Chimney Rock is managed by the U.S. Forest Service. It was made a

National Historic Site in 1970. In 1987 afire sentinel tower that had been

abandoned in

the 1950? s was rebuilt. The tower provides a point of view comparable to the

one that the

Chacoans must hold had from the top of their two-storied Pueblo. Ranger-led

Tourss are

the lone manner to make the ruins. The country is closed except for Tourss to

continue the delicate

constructions and to protect critical wildlife home ground.

Visitors from all parts of the state and across the universe are intrigued by


archeological enigmas of Chimney Rock. Particular occasions, such as the

one-year unfastened

house or a moonrise talk by Dr. Kin Malville, who originated the theory of

the importance

of the lunar deadlock at Chimney Rock, attract late crowds.

Many see Chimney Rock the most dramatic of all the Anasazi sites, and


the magnificant architecture and ruins, who would reason that?


Greer, William W. Chaco Canyon. Johnson Books 1995.

Boulder, Colorado 80302


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