All posts by mjh

Mark Justice Hinton lives in New Mexico and loves the Four Corners region, as well as the Rocky Mountains. Write him at chaco@mjhinton.com.

Canyons of the Ancients

cliff ruinsBLM Colorado – Canyons of the Ancients National Monument

Canyons of the Ancients National Monument in southwestern Colorado contains a huge number of archaeological sites (more than 6000 recorded, up to 100 per square mile in some places) representing the Ancestral Puebloan and other Native American cultures, as well as important historic and environmental resources.

Visitors planning to explore this National Monument should first stop at the Anasazi Heritage Center for orientation and current information.

See also Canyons of the Ancients | Home for a map (PDF).

Snow job

Today’s Weather Fact in abqjournal.com says:

While Downtown Albuquerque averages seven inches of snow per year, Sandia Crest, less than 15 miles away [mjh: but a mile higher], averages about 120 inches.

Frankly, I can’t believe either of those numbers. I’ve almost never seen more than 2 inches at a time in Albuquerque and can’t remember 3 snowfalls in town in one winter in the past 20 years. As for the Crest, there can be great skiing up there, but last year the ski area never opened. If there was close to the purported 10 foot average, it was spread out pretty thin over 4 months. mjh

New Ute Museum in Ignacio, CO

Utes OK architect to design new museum

The new Ute museum is to be constructed across Colorado Highway 172 from the Sky Ute Casino in Ignacio. A 3,000-square-foot building attached to the casino that has served as a bingo parlor, radio station and community hall now houses the museum’s collection of artifacts.

”It was never meant to be a museum,” Brittner said. …

“Thousands of people visit Mesa Verde without ever learning anything about the Utes,” Brittner said. “The Utes were here before the Anasazi, and they’re alive today and making great contributions.”

Developer finds treasure in ruins

Archie Hanson holds a pot from about A.D. 1200 that was found outside the kiva in the background.DenverPost.com – LOCAL NEWS

Project near Cortez has 19 homes, 210 ancient Indian sites

”Indian Camp Ranch” billed as ”the first archaeological subdivision.”

On the 1,200 high-desert acres just a few miles northwest of Cortez sit 19 high-end homes. The area has one of the highest recorded densities of ancient Indian sites in the country – 210.

The concentration of sites is rivaled only by the subdivision’s neighbor, the 164,000-acre archaeological preserve called Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. …

This settlement, now called the Hanson Pueblo, has a tower, three kivas and some 28 rooms altogether. It likely was home to three families around A.D. 1135, Hanson says. …

If most archaeologists find Hanson less appealing, they can do nothing about it. In this state it is legal for private property owners to do whatever they like with the cultural artifacts found on their land. …

“We’re living in a fool’s paradise. This is freedom’s heaven,” where county officials base decisions on common sense, not politics, he says.

Hanson, who originally asked $232,000 for each of Indian Camp’s 32 lots, each at least 35 acres, never charged a price differential for the cultural resources. Lots now go for about $250,000 each. …

Just down the hill from the Hansons’ house is the Seed Jar Site, thrilling in its gruesome way.

“A raiding party came in and killed everybody. They stayed there long enough to eat them. Twelve dead people,” Hanson says. “There were 9,156 bones they got out of it, not counting the little ones.”

Archaeologist Korri Dee Turner, daughter of Christy Turner, a cannibalism researcher reviled for focusing so much attention on a grisly and hotly disputed topic, reported evidence of witchcraft rituals and trophy-taking.

Cannibalism of the Ancestral Puebloans is an unpopular topic among many contemporary archaeologists and modern Indians. Just about everything Hanson does causes some unease in the conservative community of local archaeologists because of their discipline’s grueling standards and his free-wheeling ways.

Archaeologists churn up ancient tools, figurine near Prescott, AZ

Prescott Newspapers Online

Archaeologists uncovered one of the largest pestles ever found on the Prescott National Forest while excavating a site for the Gray Wolf landfill expansion last week.

A pestle is a long, conical grinding tool with a pointed end that ancient native people used to grind harder items such as nuts and minerals for paint. …

People of the Prescott Culture during the Chino phase, which dates between 1100 A.D. and 1300 A.D., used the site.

After that time, drier sites the Prescott Culture and others inhabited around the Southwest such as the Hohokam, Anasazi and Mogollon experienced widespread abandonment. They left during the “Great Drought of the Southwest.” Tree-ring dating shows the drought occurred between 1276 and 1299.

The Prescott Culture range covered much of western Yavapai County, especially in the Prescott Basin, as far back as 200 A.D. They had a strong Hohokam influence, in that the Hohokam settled the upper Agua Fria watershed around 750 A.D. to 850 A.D.

Archaeologists disagree about whether the Yavapai people are related to the Prescott Culture. Some theorize that the Yavapai came to this area after the Prescott Culture abandoned it.

The Buffalo Commons

Make Way for Buffalo

[T]he boldest idea in America today: rescuing the rural Great Plains by returning much of it to a vast ”Buffalo Commons.”

The result would be the world’s largest nature park, drawing tourists from all over the world to see parts of 10 states alive again with buffalo, elk, grizzlies and wolves. Restoring a large chunk of the plains — which cover nearly one-fifth of the lower 48 states — to their original state may also be the best way to revive local economies and keep hamlets like Rawson, ND, from becoming ghost towns.

San Juan mountains and national forests

The San Juan Mountains are in Southwestern Colorado (part of the magnificent Four Corners Area: Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah). I hesitate to say this is the most beautiful country I’ve ever seen.

Below is a link to a page of links put together by the San Juan Mountains Association. Also, a link to a map of this stunning area.mjh

Links: Want to know more about Southwest Colorado and public lands?

big map of San Juan National Forest area

Moab Men Charged with Digging Up Anasazi Ruins

KSL News: Moab Men Charged with Digging Up Anasazi Ruins

Three men have been accused of causing ten thousand dollars damage to an Anasazi archaeological site, charges that bring a decade in prison and a hefty fine.

Phillip C. Morse, Donald Snowberger, and Woodard J. Cresswell, all of Moab, are accused of damaging the Side Canyon Rock Shelter on Bureau of Land Management property near Moab.

They were indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury in Salt Lake City on charges of violating the Archaeological Resources Protection Act and damaging property of the United States.
The first count carries a term of up to two years behind bars and the second has a ten-year maximum. The maximum fine for violating each law is 250 thousand dollars.

The alleged violations took place December second, 1998.

A U-S Attorney’s Office spokeswoman says these cases often take years to come to court because experts must assess the damage.

The indictment says that the site consists of material remains of human life and activity dating to the Basketmaker Period. The Utah State Historical Society says the Anasazi came to Utah around 400 A-D, bringing their basketmaker cultural traditions.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Still more on Chaco corn research

Ancient corncobs unlock riddle

At its height, Pueblo Bonito is thought to have supported between 6,000 and 12,000 people. Excavations of the largest building have found hundreds of rooms, turquoise ornaments, unusual cylindrical jars, finely crafted spear points and icons of tropical birds from Central America.

Beyond the central city, a network of roads led to outlying villages that were scattered across more than 23,000 square miles of the San Juan Basin.

Each of the article I’ve linked to is a little different from the others, though some names & quotes are the same. mjh