The Ancestral Puebloans

Jan 032008

Lowry Pueblo: Archaeology in Southwest Colorado

Lowry Pueblo is located 28 miles northwest of Cortez, off Highway 666 at Pleasant View on County Road CC. Guidebooks are available at the site or at the Heritage Center. The Heritage Center also offers exhibits on Lowry and an interactive computer program “People in the Past” that provides interpretation of prehistoric pueblo life from both scientific and Native American perspectives.

Limited facilities at Lowry include picnic tables and restrooms. Lowry is handicapped accessible. Please remember to bring water with you when visiting the site. Suggested visitation time, with driving, is 1/2 day, or combine your Lowry visit with a visit to the Heritage Center for a full day of activities.

BLM Colorado – Canyons of the Ancients National Monument – Home Page

BLM Colorado – Anasazi Heritage Center – Home Page

 Posted by at 7:50 pm
Nov 282007

Fangars visits the Four Corners more thoroughly than I do. He has a lot of interesting photos of a wide range of ancient ruins. I recommend you visit his flickr site:

Flickr: Photos from fangars

At the same time, let me mention a way to see 200 thumbnails at once: Here’s the link to peruse Fangars’ pix: (I have misgivings with this function because I know some pictures don’t show up well in this format, which can easily overwhelm the individual photos.) mjh

 Posted by at 6:49 am
Nov 072007

Your Input Needed!

The New Mexico Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration, in cooperation with San Juan County, has initiated a study to evaluate alternatives for improving the unpaved portion of San Juan County Road 7950, the roadway providing primary vehicular access to Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

DATE: Thursday, November 15

WHERE: NMDOT District 3 Office
7500 Pan American Freeway, NE
Albuquerque, NM 87109

TIME: 6:00 pm: Open House
6:30 pm: Staff Presentation
7:00 pm: Public Comments

If you are interested in the project, but are unable to attend the meeting, please contact John Taschek, at TEC, (505) 821-4700. Comments will be accepted at the meeting or can be mailed to John Taschek at 8901 Adams, N.E., Albuquerque, NM 87113, or e-mailed to Requests for Americans with Disabilities Act-related accommodations should also be directed to John Taschek.

For Talking Points Contact Nathan Newcomer (

View Larger Map

 Posted by at 8:50 pm
Oct 182007

The Wilderness Alliance ( is encouraging people to contact Taschek Environmental Consulting regarding a study they are performing on paving the road to Chaco. Follow both of these links, if you are interested.

STOP THE CHACO ROAD (has email addresses)

 Posted by at 2:34 pm
Oct 152007

ABQjournal NM: Chaco Canyon Meeting Set Despite Concerns, By Leslie Linthicum, Journal Staff Writer

The Hopis call Chaco “Yupqoyvi” (“the place beyond the horizon”) and, along with other pueblos, trace some of their early history to the ancient towns that now attract historians, archaeologists and tourists to the park.

Chaco Culture Historical Park is a national park that encompasses ruins of pueblo towns that date to the 9th century. It has been named a World Heritage Site and, despite its remote location— at the end of more than a dozen miles of rough dirt road in northwestern New Mexico— it attracts about 80,000 visitors each year.

Citing safety concerns, the county government decided to improve the entrance access. It paved with a chip-seal coat the stretch of County Road 7900 that leads off U.S. 550 to County Road 7950 and plans to pave 7950, which leads to the park’s entrance.

Opponents of a paved road say that it will inundate Chaco with more cars, recreational vehicles and high-volume tour buses, and that the park’s archaeological treasures will suffer under large crowds. …

[State and federal transportation officials and San Juan County have scheduled a public hearing next week about proposed improvements to the road that leads to Chaco Canyon.] The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Thursday [10/18/07], with public comments to be taken at 7 p.m. It is in the San Juan County Commission chambers at 100 S. Oliver Dr. in Aztec.

 Posted by at 3:56 pm
Oct 092007

A visitor pointed out a problem with some photos missing from a few of my Chaco pages ( It will take a while to sort that out, but in the meantime, I have photos in other locations:

mjh’s Chaco photos | 75 of 75

Flickr: mjhinton’s photos tagged with chacocanyon

 Posted by at 3:29 pm
Sep 202007

Comb Ridge yields big discoveries By Joe Bauman, Deseret Morning News

An archaeological survey of southern Utah’s Comb Ridge is documenting a huge number of sites, from Ice Age camps and 800-year-old Anasazi cliff dwellings to historic artifacts of Anglo settlers.

The field crews are finding “substantial” sites, says the project director, Winston Hurst, a Blanding resident, “real interesting sites that I didn’t know existed.”

Comb Ridge is a huge sandstone feature extending from west of Blanding to the vicinity of Bluff, San Juan County. Among the areas covered by the study is Butler Wash, one of the places where Anasazi Indians lived in cliff dwellings.

“Our project area’s about 25 miles long,” said Hurst. “We have 48,000 acres approximately in our survey area.”

The study was launched in 2005 under a contract between the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, administrator of most of the land, and the University of Colorado, Boulder. Hurst is a subcontractor. The principal investigator is Catherine M. Cameron, associate professor at the University of Colorado. …

So far, the team has found a great many archaeological sites, and unexpectedly interesting ones.

“We’ve got Anasazi roads,” Hurst said. These are strange lanes from eight to 10 yards wide “that they were carving across the desert for miles and miles and miles, connecting places of significance.

“We call them roads, but we don’t know what they were used for.” They probably weren’t roads in our sense of routes to transport supplies.

“They don’t behave like a road that’s designed to facilitate transport and traffic,” Hurst added, “They seem to be lines carved into the world.”

Such lines have been found in Chaco Canyon, a large Anasazi settlement in New Mexico.

“They’re very subtle,” Hurst said of the Utah features. “Sometimes you can see them when the light is at a low angle,” and then they’re hard to see when the sun is at its zenith. Some are easier to see during certain seasons.

They can be easy to miss. “They’re subtle enough that when you’re walking around on the ground, you don’t see them, you look right past them.”

Among other discoveries are Hopi-style pottery fragments on trails crossing Comb Ridge. They date from a period after the Hopi’s ancestors, the Anasazi, had abandoned settlements in Utah.

“We get these stray pieces of 14th, 15th century Hopi pottery,” Hurst said. The scientists find “just enough to indicate they were back there on a small scale.

“We’re not really sure what they were doing — maybe revisiting old ancestral shrines.”

CU-Boulder, BLM Collaborating On Four Corners Archaeology Project | News Center | University of Colorado at Boulder

A partnership between the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the University of Colorado at Boulder initiated in August 2005 to inventory a rich archaeological region in southeastern Utah will continue this summer.

Known as the Comb Ridge Heritage Initiative, the project was designed to allow researchers to study a 48,000-acre region in the Four Corners area containing archaeological sites dating back 13,000 years, said CU-Boulder anthropology Professor Catherine Cameron. The $275,000 award to CU-Boulder from the BLM runs through 2008….

Comb Ridge consists of a 30-mile-long sandstone formation and its adjacent drainages, including Comb Wash and Butler Wash.

 Posted by at 12:18 pm
Aug 262007

GEMLAND.NET » Blog Archive » The Turquoise Traders

The drive through New Mexico had been long and tedious, and though I was tired, I was also excited to reach my goal. Just a few more miles, I thought to myself, and I’ll be there. This was to be the first of several places I had wanted to visit that are now known to be intimately tied to the history of turquoise in the New World.

I was expecting the place I had been seeking to just jump out at me. But no, it turned out that it wasn’t that noticeable. Had I not been looking for it, I would have just driven on by, like the thousands of cars and trucks a day that zoom north and south between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, oblivious to the little group of small hills just east of the Interstate — another of those redundantly named places in the Southwest — the Cerrillos Hills. (Cerrillos means “little hills”, in Spanish.)

Probably not one person in a thousand moving along that asphalt ribbon could have told you that in those barren looking hills is the oldest continuously mined site in North America. Like so many other places in our modern world where remnants of past greatness lie within reach of our everyday lives and yet go easily unnoticed and unconsidered, the Cerrillos Hills and their rich mines once shaped empires.

The Indians of the Southwest, the Aztecs of Mexico, and later the Spaniards, would all come to know of this place and the treasure it once offered – the mineral we call turquoise.

 Posted by at 9:47 am
Aug 242007

Cibola County Beacon – News
Navajos to mark Chaco Canyon Centennial, By Diane Fowler, Beacon staff writer

CHACO CANYON – The Navajos of northwest New Mexico will observe the centennial anniversary of Chaco Canyon National Heritage Park Saturday by reminding the Dine of their historical place in that mystic canyon.

The gathering is not connected to the park or the National Park Service in any way, according to a spokeswoman for the event. She asked to remain anonymous, but was willing to share some of the details of the observance.

“We will focus on the history of the Navajo people in Chaco Canyon. It’s not a part of our history that is emphasized, but our people were forced to leave Chaco Canyon 100 years ago when it was made a national park,” she said.

“We lost our land and it was a tragic time for us,” she added.

The spokeswoman observed that currently most people think of Chaco Canyon as a national park and not as a place where people live, “The Navajo people still exist in the Chaco Canyon area,” she remarked.

The observance will include an address by San Juan County Commissioner Irving Chavez in support of the local community. Navajo Nation Vice-President Ben Shelly and other tribal leaders will also speak.

Tribal elders, who are familiar with the history of the canyon, will make a special appearance, along with Miss Indian Farmington. Traditional singing will provide entertainment and a potluck dinner will be served.

The event will be held on tribal land rather than the actual park site. Everyone is welcome to attend.

From highway 550, take county road 7800 to state route 57, then take a left on county road 7980 and look for a large tent.

The observance will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 25, 2007.

[hat tip to walkingraven]

 Posted by at 11:04 am
Aug 062007

Aztec Ruins National Monument – Directions (U.S. National Park Service)

“Aztec Ruins National Monument is located on Ruins Road about 1/2 mile north of New Mexico Highway 516, in the City of Aztec, New Mexico.”

Aztec Ruins National Monument – Operating Hours & Seasons (U.S. National Park Service)

“Aztec Ruins National Monument is open 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. most of the year and 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Memorial Day through Labor Day. The park is closed Thanksgiving, December 25th, and January 1st.”

Aztec Ruins National Monument – Fees & Reservations (U.S. National Park Service)

“Entrance to the park is $5.00 per person for anyone over fifteen years old. Entrance passes are good for seven days. Kids fifteen and under get in free.” [mjh: various passes admitted for free.]

 Posted by at 2:38 pm
Jul 102007

NPR : Ancient Culture Prompts Worry for Arid Southwest, by Richard Harris
All Things Considered, July 9, 2007

Chaco Canyon is a stark and breathtaking ruin, nestled under soaring, red sandstone cliffs. [read or listen to this piece…]

 Posted by at 4:38 pm
Jul 062007

Visiting some Southwest icons, by PENNY E. SCHWARTZ, For the Daily Facts

[mjh: this is a good, brief overview of a visit to Mesa Verde.]

 Posted by at 11:42 am
Jun 182007

Farmington Daily Times – Tower gives view into ancient history, By Lisa Meerts

DOLORES, Colo. — Archaeological research caused by construction of the Animas-La Plata Project, a dam and reservoir in Durango, could lead to more understanding about the historic inhabitants of the Four Corners.

James Potter, project director of the environmental consulting firm SWCA INC., spent four years excavating a 2.5 mile-long and 1.5 mile-wide site in Ridges Basin. What he found at a place called Sacred Ridge surprised him and other archaeologists.

“We didn’t anticipate finding what we’re interpreting as a wood and adobe tower on top of this knoll,” he said. “There’s nothing else like it that we know of.”

[Read it all]

 Posted by at 11:52 am
Jun 152007

Nicely-written meditative piece with some good imagery. If you enjoy it, be sure to see the second link for photos and more. peace, mjh

Dispatches From Kansas: Kachina at Chetro Ketl by Tom Parker

 Posted by at 8:36 am