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TWEChevy Archives - Page 2 of 2 - The Wonders Expedition™ - @Archeoastronomy

April 18, 2021

In Search of the Anasazi and the Cities of Cibola (Gold)

Studying the Anasazi with Allen Manning

North of the main settlements of Chaco Canyon Aztec National Ruins Park holds as many questions as answers. Here alongside cold, fast-flowing waters, Anasazi built a great Kiva and several smaller kivas situated about their five-story-high multi-room complex. Structures that for the most part have stood up to time’s ravages almost didn’t survive the looters.

These doors are taller and wider than most found throughout theses ruins. Looters cut through the three-foot-thick walls as they dug out rooms along the western side of the complex in search of treasures.

Pottery, tools and some artifacts long since taken by the looters rest in private collections and a few museums. As far as archeologist can tell no cache of gold passed out of these doors in the hands of looters.

Doorways of the Anasazi with Allen Manning

In 1542 when Spanish explorer Vasquez de Coronado set out through the region in search of the Seven Cities of Cibola (Gold) he returned without either gold or the cities’ locations.  By the time his men snaked their way through the Chocoan region the inhabitants of this and all the other Anasazi cites had been gone several hundred years.

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Chaco Canyon Roads

Chaco Canyon Roads by Allen W. Manning

By Allen W. Manning

The road to discovery is often bumpy and long, none could better describe the path taken into Chaco Canyon for our first day of investigation and discovery.  But it is not the current well used road into the canyon I find interesting.

Not easily visible to the amature or untrained eye (that would be me) are the thousand-year-old roads, most straight and smooth for miles that carried ancient commerce and people through the canyon.
It was once said in Europe that all roads lead to Rome, well Chaco is the Rome of the North American continent.

In John Kantner’s paper “Chaco Road” he elaborates on research into the wide and rather straight system of roadways thus far found emanating from Chaco.

“Chaco roads are notoriously wide, with most ranging 8-10 m in width, but there is considerable variability. Nials (1983) notes that the larger, well-defined roads located near major sites average 9 m in width, while isolated ‘spur’ roads tend to measure half this.

“A single roadway can be much wider near an architectural site, but then narrow to a mere two meters and exhibit few distinguishable features in remote areas where the terrain is more restrictive.

“Determining the depth of Chaco roads has also proven to be difficult. Many suspected roads exhibit significant amounts of gullying, while border elements such as large berms exaggerate the actual depth below ground level. In fact, the majority of suspected roadways have no topographic expression at all, either because they were never excavated into the surface during road construction or because natural processes have destroyed them (Nials 1983:6-15).  Less frequent are roads that were excavated to hard-packed soil to form a roadbed; these range 10-50 cm in depth (Vivian 1995:17).  A few road segments were actually excavated into sandstone bedrock, apparently in order to delineate the road.”

Much of what has been found leads to more questions. How and why did a society with no known beast of burden other than bipedal humanoids without the advent of the wheel create and use such a detailed road system.

It is believed that many of the roads were constructed around 1000 AD near the end of then occupation of Chaco Canyon. But dating the roads is difficult and most rely on discarded pottery found along the paths, possible broken trade good vessels left by passing travelers.

 Much that is known comes from supposition and few hard evidential markers. Elaborate stone walls tightly constructed, overplayed with plaster and ornamented with paintings adorned not only the housing cities, but also may have covered the sides of the roadways. Several structures along each side of the miles of straight road are marked by mounds, masonry walls and markers.

Could the builders purpose for the roads be any different than our own modern needs? How did they transport more than 600,000 timbers from more than 100 miles away to construct these 12 cities and why here? This bumpy and unexplained path of discovery continues to lead researchers down dark alleys and into blind corners. But they, we still seek the answers of the Anasazi.

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Anasazi Artifacts and Their Mystery Purposes

Tan, black and red swirling patterns bound with fire upon a frame for the tiny fingers of a child.

Anasazi Artifacts by Allen Manning

Or did once the sand in rusted vessel hold sweet aromas bound for a feminine client seeking to allure a husband’s nose? Found in fields turned for decades by plows behind horse and man. Unearthed where several small Kivas lie, back filled protecting structure and history, in my family’s careful hands it rests.

In a museum some similar vessels I found, labeled for religious purposes with no supporting evidence around. When asked, the curator eluded to other relics about the world that they’d found. Simple, small, and round, who but for medicine could it be bound. Conjecture on our paths to an answer, whose thoughts will the future from a past make clear when an ancient builder the item makes clear?

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Leaving Anasazi Country

 

By Allen Manning

Fires crackled and burned, stones cracked in the intense heat as plaster explodes from overheated walls. Timbers once the structure’s primary unifying agent betray it room by room. Ceilings collapse onto over-weighted upper floors as each dominoes till walls fall stripped of support by a growing fire stormfalling in pieces upon the embers.

Chaco Canyon Anasazi Ruin by Allen Manning

Others abandoned by their builders, used now by passing nomads tending flocks and seeking castoffs from a long fled society.

Chacoan, Anasazi, Hohokam, Patayan or Mogollon, regardless the name current Pueblo descendants may call those who built the ruins that so vividly displays  ancient builders’ technology, they came here first. And here they built a society with roads, astronomy and sophisticated rituals centuries before any other North American people had moved out of single story long houses of wood and mud structures.

Many Kivas and pueblos in the 13 known major Chacoan era Pueblo builders were destroyed by fires. It is not known if any were intently set ablaze by departing builders or by enemy raiders.
Cannibalized  remains at several sights suggest to some grizzly fate befell the builders. But so many questions and so few answers leave us asking, are these builders’ bones, enemies or witches.  Were they cannibalized, or just brutally butchered and burned with the tumbled down buildings.

Questions will be addressed, answers sought from current Pueblo residents and regional experts. But for now this first journey into the great builders of the American West is coming into a close. More research and and a second trip already in the planning stages are underway. I solicit your touts, memories and understandings of the people and their past. There are some 22 Pueblo tribes in the southwest. I seek each for memories and answers.

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Aztec Ruins in the Four Corners Region

Aztec Ruins

Sifting through more material, hearing jaded reports on theories with little support. Yet still the reporter in me continues to dig for answers to a 1500 year old mystery buried in outlying ruins.

#TWEChevy March 14 2012 Near Aztec National Park

Where have they gone and why?  Seeing the faces plowing along numbered paths peering into collapsing rooms I see the ancients.  Small statuesque woman with deep brown complexion smiling as I look into her eyes. Yes they are here still, still in each of us. Why here, why did they leave are we soon to follow their fate?

Aztec ruins reflects similar building to Chaco Canyon, with like eras of rebuilding stretched over miles along the San Juan River.

Thirteen major pueblos criss cross the Chaco Canyon region while other areas hold one apartment development supported by hundreds of smaller remote homesteads.

Many theories fill visitors with confusion. Can one answer fill in every void? Look to our own communities and see if one answer fills in every question.

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Tour Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Canyon, New Mexico

Bouncing about along ridged dirt and gravel paths our trek into Chaco Canyon begins a few hours after sunrise. Occasional stops to capture images of the geology and history afford us moments to stretch for the walks ahead.

Pueblo Bonito By Allen Manning

Mungo Pavi ruin just the west of the main entrance is the first stop. Three other pueblos entertain modern visits. Videos and pictures highlighting a people’s life in a land less receptive to habitation now than a thousand years ago I stand astounded and surrounded by others equally as awed.

Circling through crumbling walls and rooms with dirt now filled, once bounding with laughter and cries of a people long from this valley a living here tried.

We stepped through halls long now paths for rabbits and mice, once echoed with leather and yucca fiber sandals.

Seeing the level of construction with each successive rebuilding by Chacoan residents reflects their desire to improve on their past and grow a future.

Wandering from rooms in Pueblo Bonito on the third level of a four story complex abandoned before the first Conquistadors tread through this land other’s voices of wonder recall ancient visitors first visit to the complex.

No warriors stands reflected in the construction rather security from the elements with walls three-feet-thick, many hollow rocks stands filled with sand. Great and small Kivas most round with chimneys and benches for day’s-long ceremonies. Questions of why, why here, why then and why did they leave remain unanswerable. But the answers are there in the faces of the pueblo residents who still inhabit this region. More to come on the next adventure.

RMO – Digging In

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Jemez Springs and Discoveries in Anasazi Country

Today in a small corner of New Mexico I found an archeologist who repeated my own thoughts on things pulled from these sacred grounds.

Jemez State Monument by Allen Manning

Twenty-two known Pueblo nations stand watch over hundreds of diggers rifling through shared histories, ruins and more. Many unwilling to share the paths to the present. But for a few, who are willing to explain, years of misunderstandings come crashing down instead of the walls raised from the ground. Each explanation of a simple artifacts as they are found sheds light and perceptions changed abound.

Sharing thoughts of a seasoned Chaco Canyon digger I heard of the needs shared by the Puebloeans as each grain from their past is swept away. Respect for the dead, understanding for the living and hopes for the future. More of this conversation and more to soon be introduced.

My time here in this pass is short, as the wealth holds out, the voices I need for learning busy seeking next year’s funding.

Oh and not every unknown artifact was some sort of religious piece. How many items in your own home are religious in nature….

In the morning my first visit to Chaco Canyon….

 

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The latest photo from @RoadMonkeyOne

Allen Manning is on the road again in New Mexico, updating his photos from Anasazi Country.

Are you following him on Twitter? Anasazi Ruins in New Mexico by Allen Manning

 

Our Man Allen Manning in New Mexico

He’s near Bernalillo, NM according to TwitPic.  We talked with him a little while ago and he was in Albuquerque headed up into the mountains.

But here’s a cool shot from the road by Allen Manning as he makes his way into the heart of Anasazi and Manitou Country in the Southwestern United States.

Near Bernanillo, NM With Allen Manning

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@RoadMonkeyOne All Set For The Road

This morning we got Allen Manning’s 2012 Equinox from @GMTexas all decked out with official markings from The Wonders Expedition.  He’s headed out west in about an hour.

Here’s the car to be looking for along the way.  He has Chevy prizes to hand out and we’ve got some here in Dallas, too.

If you see the car, take a photo of it and text it with the hashtag of #TWEChevy.  You very well may win a prize for your hard work!

 

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