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Chaco Canyon Archives - The Wonders Expedition™ - @Archeoastronomy

May 29, 2020

Tweet a Pic of Our Buick Enclave in Memphis for the Society for American Archaeology Meeting

Tweet a pic of our 2012 Buick Enclave for a chance to win prizes!

Here’s an example of being in the right place at the right time with a smartphone that can tweet a photo of our 2012 Buick Enclave, courtesy of @GMTexas.  If you see us on the road between Dallas and Memphis, take a photo of the car and then tweet it with the hashtag #TWEChevy, you’ll have the chance to win some cool prizes for participating.

We are using the car as a loaner through the generosity of GM and the social media team who graciously support the work of bloggers and those active in social media.  So far, since December,  @GMTexas has provided us a Traverse, an Equinox and now and Enclave to visit Poverty Point, Louisiana for the December Solstice expedition, the visit by Allen Manning to Chaco Canyon in New Mexico to study the Anasazi Indians and other Native Americans in the area, and now, we’re headed to the Society for American Archaeology meeting in Memphis.

THE SAA MEETING

We are excited to be headed to Memphis courtesy of support from a couple of incredible sponsors who made the trip possible.  While in Memphis, we will be doing a series of interviews for our upcoming release of Dr. Mark Van Stone’s 2012: Science and Prophecy of the Ancient Maya interactive book for the iPad.  This book is going to be the only book like it on the market, complete with video interviews with Dr. Van Stone, one the world’s most renowned Mayanists.

While in Memphis, we also want to talk to as many archeologists as possible who are interested in converting their written works over to Interactive Books for the iPad.  If you want to talk while you’re also in town, please let us know by sending a Tweet to our Twitter account–@Archeoastronomy or by sending a contact inquiry through the site.

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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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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 Mysteries of Poverty Point, LA, USA–And The Beginnings of The Wonders Expedition™

We’ve been doing a lot of work lately to assemble the core team to launch The Wonders Expedition™ and our other  legacy products that are in development, but back on December 22, 2011, our Founder, Don Claxton and his daughters were at the historic site, Poverty Point/Lower Jackson Mound, near Monroe, Louisiana in the southeastern United States making some pretty curious findings.

The Lower Jackson Mound

The Lower Jackson Mound, which is about eight feet high and more than 130 feet at its widest point, is said to have been built almost 5,400 years ago.  If that is true, and Carbon Dating has suggested that to be the case, that means it was built here in the United States prior to Stonehenge/Woodhenge/Sillbury Hill/The Henge of Avebury in England, AND the Pyramids of Giza in Northern Egypt.

Stop and think about that for a second.  We normally refer to Native American Indians in the historic lore of the United States as “savages.”

Poverty Point, LA

Poverty Point itself was built about one-half mile from Lower Jackson Mound about 1,650 BC, which is about 3,660 years ago, and after Stonehenge and Giza.  It is fascinating nonetheless.

From accounts of local historians, its mounds, like Lower Jackson Mound, were all constructed out of dirt.  “There are no rocks in the area,” we were told.  Certainly no limestone.

But here in the Southeastern United States, just about 20 minutes north of Interstate 20 in Northern Louisiana, mankind once had made this a thriving area of life, civilization and trading.  There are utility rocks that have been found at Poverty Point that were used for spearheads, cooking, idols, etc.  And science has found those rocks came from all over the eastern United States and even as far away as the Great Lakes Region.

The Wonders Expedition™

We won’t argue that there may seemingly be many other more curious and interesting places around the country–Mesa Verde and Chaco Canyon in New Mexico come to mind.  But it is important to not overlook places like Poverty Point as well.  It has tremendous historical value and possesses its own lore and mysteries.

What happened to the people who lived here?  Some suggest they migrated into Meso America and became what we know of as the Olmec.

Just like the Anastazi had a major site in Chaco Canyon and then abandoned their site, or like the people who built Stonehenge used it for many years and then stopped,  similar things seem to have happened here at Poverty Point.

We are in search for answers to many questions that make these places around the world so intriguing.  Thank you for reading.  We invite you to follow us on Twitter for additional updates and to LIKE us on Facebook.  Very soon we will be opening a subscription service so you can receive more frequent updates about the activities we have underway around the world.

 

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