October 14, 2011
Chaco Canyon National Heritage Park
Join Chacoan Scholar, John Kantner and NM Wild for a day-long tour of Chaco Canyon National Historic Park. Chaco is one of the most spectacular areas in New Mexico. Its combination of natural beauty and cultural significance justifies its Wold Heritage status, making it beloved by visitors the world over. Dr. Kantner’s insights from years of research will inspire our imagination to travel into the ancient past as we stop at sites like Pueblo Bonita and Casa Rinconada. We will also be joined by NMWA Executive Director, Steve Capra who will brief us on the current status of the Proposed Chaco Canyon Wilderness Proposal and oil and gas drilling threats in the area.
The tour will take approximately three and a half hours. A shuttle will pick participants up in Bernalillo, New Mexico, early on the morning of October 14 and shuttle guests to the park. We will enjoy a hearty lunch at the visitors center before embarking on our tour. At the end of the day, we will have a chance to go to the visitor’s center and bookstore before the shuttle takes guests back to Bernalillo early that evening.
Trip Cost: $100 per person (includes shuttle round-trip shuttle from Bernalillo to the park entrance fees and lunch)
To sign up, or for more information: E-mail Demis Foster or call 505-216-9719.
About John Kantner:
John is an anthropological archaeologist. His research ranges from Spanish Colonial historic sites in New Mexico and Georgia to pre-Hispanic traditions of southern Central America, to early nomadic sites of the southern plains. He is currently seeking to understand the Chaco Canyon phenomenon and its impact on the prehistory of the American Southwest, an interest explored in his most recent book, The Ancient Puebloan Southwest.
To read more about John and his work go to: http://www.sarweb.org/kantner/index.html
The Ancestral Puebloans
So, what name should we use? There is no simple answer. These people were Ancestral Puebloan, Hisatsinom, and Anasazi. And they were none of these.
[hat tip to NewMexiKen for bringing this topic up]
I particularly like the first comment in which Jeffrey calls these ancients “The Castle Builders of the High Desert.” Accurate.
I continue to use Anasazi for continuity with a century of documentation. I mean no offense; take none.
July 22, 2010 by teofilo
Yurt and Modular Office Unit in Chaco Visitor Center Parking Lot
Lots of visitors, seeing the boarded-up and fenced-off visitor center, have been asking what’s going on. When I tell them, they often respond with a knowing chuckle. People seem to understand that these things happen. Some are a bit disappointed that we no longer have a museum to show any artifacts or an auditorium to show the park video, but even they are pretty understanding of the situation. I’ve heard considerably more positive comments about the yurt than negative comments about the closed visitor center, in fact. This is a marked contrast to the amount of outrage people showed when the campground was closed. Luckily it’s now open, so at least that nightmare is over. Just goes to show what the priorities of visitors to Chaco are, I guess.
I’m sure Teofilo isn’t as surprised as he sounds. It is much worse to drive a hundred miles to camp at Chaco and find there is no campground, than no visitors center. Moreover, the CG was closed due to a problem related to bathrooms. Those bathrooms should never have been built with running water and porta-potties should have been brought in immediately. (They were, eventually.) Not one site in that too-small CG should have been closed more than one night. Moreover, the lovely yurt befits a world-class destination in a way that orange traffic cones in the CG surely did not.
Maxwell Museum Sponsoring Excursion to South Chaco Canyon Outliers
Tom Windes will lead a Maxwell Museum sponsored two-day excursion to Chacoan outlying sites found in the general area of Grants, New Mexico on Saturday-Sunday, April 17-18. These early communities span the Pueblo I, II, III and IV periods (CE 900-1400’s) and provide a visible impression of architectural and ceramic change through the centuries during the Chacoan period and beyond.
Windes will show sites on BLM land that are normally closed to the public. There are Greathouses, kivas and spectacular settings at Las Ventanas, Cebolla Canyon, Andrews Greathouse and Casamero Ruin.
There is a $75 per day charge, and UNM Tuition Remission is accepted. For two-day registrants there is $20 van transportation available. Each of the areas to be visited has had some research conducted by archeologists, such as inventory surveys and interested tour members can get a more in-depth look at the sites.
For more information, please contact Mary Beth Hermans at (505) 277-1400 or
Media Contact: Karen Wentworth, (505) 277-5627; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
I go to Chaco Canyon every year (except for this one). In 2008, I also traveled to a couple of outliers west of Chaco. The road into Kin Bineola (“where the wind whirls,” Navajo) crosses a dirt dam. I had never seen any water on either side of that dam before, but on this trip in May, there was a small pond near the dam, well below the road. I saw something circle over the pond. I stopped on the dam to consider taking a picture. The two adult avocets were cute enough – and seemed out of place enough – to warrant a photo. I just got lucky that the babies flew in just as I clicked. I respect photographic skill, experience, and equipment, but lucky timing is the most valuable asset a photographer can’t buy. I never expected to photograph shorebirds in the desert.
I am again recommending the Chacoan website created by Teofilo – Gambler’s House (an allusion to the Navajo history of Chaco). He writes well and thoughtfully, interspersing interesting photos in the text. In particular, Teofilo sums up the information about the source of all of the wood used in Chaco in this entry:
Where They Got the Wood « Gambler’s House
I’m certain it is not for lack of knowledge that he doesn’t mention that some think Chimney Rock was an outpost for gathering wood that might have been floated as far as Chaco. I don’t know if there is any merit to this idea. However, waterways may explain why wood would come from some areas and not others. In particular, Jemez may not be upstream from Chaco. peace, mjh
Update 7/9/09: Asked and answered. In his next post, Teofilo destroys the floating logs hypothesis, which I think I heard at Chimney Rock — and clearly, the eponymous rocks are all the reason the Chacoans needed to be there. Nothing like the careful consideration of facts to undermine a lovely idea. Still, in all matters, remember that the word facts often should be followed by “as we know them now.” Not said to undermine Teofilo’s facts — he has quite a grasp.
The Gambler’s House blog has an interesting account of the analysis of Macaw feathers at Edge of the Cedars.
The organization will use the funds to promote and educate tourists about the "North Road Experience," created about an Anasazi-built road running from Chaco Canyon through Salmon Ruins, Aztec Ruins, passing through some of Aztec’s arches to Durango, Colo., then branching to Chimney Rock and Mesa Verde.
"This puts Aztec square in the middle," Christensen said. "We are promoting this as a trip through the sacred territory of the Ancestral Puebloan, and offering to help plan trips and tours to experience this area by staying in Aztec and taking day trips along the North Road."
The promotion will include interpretive archeological information, American Indian and Hispanic cultural mythology about nearby geological formations and research into astro-archeological discoveries proximate to Aztec.
Tom and Sue Weiss have posted some nice photos as well as an account of a trip led by Dr. David Wilcox. Worth a read — he mentions many sites I’ve never heard of. peace, mjh
Data on Chacoan or Chacoan-Like Great Houses by David R. Wilcox
I’ve gone to Chaco Canyon every year for most of 25 years. It’s my pilgrimage. This year was possibly the windiest (and that’s saying a lot). My journal may be a little less inspired than we’d like, but in it, you’ll read about my new friends and some old roads.
Read the journal (link to photos at the end) …
“The Chaco Collection contains approximately one million artifacts from over 120 sites in Chaco Canyon and the surrounding region. Because most of the artifacts were systematically collected and documented, the collections are extremely valuable for scientific studies.
The Archive documents over 100 years of excavation in Chaco Canyon, and contains approximately 300 linear feet of records, 30,000 photographs, 7,000 color slides, 600 glass lantern slides, 2,000 maps, 1,000 manuscripts, and field notes, reports, and other written records.
The objects in this exhibit represent the range of materials in the Chaco Collection. They give us insight into the remarkable achievements of the Chacoan culture, and help us connect more directly to the past. ”
[mjh: Intentional reburial of ruins. I knew it is done, but didn’t realize it has been done a lot at Chaco lately. Follow the link and compare the two photos.]
NPS Archeology Program: Research in the Parks
“Intentional site reburial is an effective, practical, and economical treatment for the most threatened structures with the greatest visitation and is a sustainable and relatively low-tech solution to some of the more complex structural problems”
[mjh: From my alma mater, UVa.]
“Welcome to the Chaco Digital Initiative! CDI is a collaborative effort
to create a digital archive that will integrate much of the widely dispersed archaeological data collected from Chaco Canyon in the late 1890s and the first half of the 20th century.”