Chaco Canyon

The Western Hemisphere. General term for the Americas following their discovery by Europeans, thus setting them in contradistinction to the Old World of Africa, Europe, and Asia.

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uniface

Chaco Canyon

Post by uniface » Sat Aug 02, 2014 12:36 pm

"Our point," Wills, et al. continue, "is that we do not know where most of the wood in Chaco great houses originated, and we cannot eliminate local (canyon drainage) sources. Consequently there is no basis for concluding that the abandonment of Chaco Canyon was brought on by deforestation, improvident use of natural resources, or unstable exchange relationships, and therefore there is no reason to use Chaco’s history as a warning from the past about societal failure."

And changing climate (such as the 50-year drought that commenced in 1130 AD) may not be the culprit either, they maintain.

"Construction patterns indicate that overall energy investment in Chaco great houses began to decline dramatically in the late AD 1000s, before the onset of any documented drought periods, and immigrants appear to have arrived in Chaco during the 12th century drought."
http://popular-archaeology.com/issue/06 ... aco-canyon

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Re: Chaco Canyon

Post by Minimalist » Sun Aug 03, 2014 11:33 am

How many years of drought would it take to devastate a subsistence based farming community?

We see in Africa today that virtually the first thing that happens when the rains fail is that fighting breaks out over what resources remain. Why assume that the ancients reacted any differently?
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

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Re: Chaco Canyon

Post by kbs2244 » Sun Aug 03, 2014 2:36 pm

And what does the availbilty of structualy useful wood have to do with it?

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Re: Chaco Canyon

Post by Cognito » Sun Aug 03, 2014 3:34 pm

It appears that the region has a long history of variable wet and dry periods. People would have known how to survive both quite well simply by listening to their elders. There was a wet period followed by a 50-year drought lasting from 1130AD to 1180AD; however, Min's comments make sense: With dwindling resources, people begin fighting each other for survival. Add to that the influx (i.e. displacement) of marauders during the same time period and you get:

"But about 1200 AD some of these native peoples moved into cliff dwellings in the Mesa Verde area and in Tsegi Canyon."
Refer to: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/ctl/cliihis1000.html

They didn't move into cliff dwellings for the view, or the newfound inconvenience of tending their crops.
Natural selection favors the paranoid

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Re: Chaco Canyon

Post by Minimalist » Sun Aug 03, 2014 7:01 pm

Contrast this photo of the Mesa Verde dwellings

Image

with the shots in the original story. Clearly, somebody made a decision to stop building at ground level!
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin

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Re: Chaco Canyon

Post by shawomet » Mon Aug 04, 2014 5:42 am

The Hopi speak of the need for the clans to complete certain migration cycles per the orders of the creator Masaw. Their oral histories seem to speak often of clans packing up and abandoning settlements in order to continue the prescribed migrations. All this is from Frank Waters' Book of the Hopi, whose informants have been called into question for some of the things they told Waters. But, my point is, there they spoke of migrations as a type of "spiritual imperative" that was not necessarily related to environmental degradation or marauders or other such reasons, but rather something they were called upon to fulfill. So, perhaps this "spiritual imperative" was at times a reason for abandonment of settlements. In the Book of the Hopi, the informants identified the swastika as the migration symbol. If a clan left a partial swastika petroglyph near their village site, it was indicative of where they were, what stage they were in, in their prescribed migration cycle, indicating that their journey was not yet complete. Within the context of this interpretation, the Hopi Mesas were the final settlement area intended by the creator. The Hopi mesas were settled from several directions around 1000 AD, with continuing arrivals in later centuries; how much of their described mythology might apply in a general sense to the movements of the Anasazi I don't know but just thought I'd mention this possible component behind the reason for the cyclical settlement, abandonment, and settlement of Anasazi villages.

From Wikipedia(with allowances for that dubious source!):

"Migrations
Upon their arrival in the Fourth World, the Hopis divided and went on a series of great migrations throughout the land. Sometimes they would stop and build a town, then abandon it to continue on with the migration. However, they would leave their symbols behind in the rocks to show that the Hopi had been there. Long the divided people wandered in groups of families, eventually forming clans named after an event or sign that a particular group received upon its journey.[19] These clans would travel for some time as a unified community, but almost inevitably a disagreement would occur, the clan would split and each portion would go its separate way. However, as the clans traveled, they would often join together forming large groups, only to have these associations disband, and then be reformed with other clans. These alternate periods of harmonious living followed by wickedness, contention, and separation play an important part of the Hopi mythos. This pattern seemingly began in the First World and continues even into recent history.

In the course of their migration, each Hopi clan was to go to the farthest extremity of the land in every direction. Far in the north was a land of snow and ice which was called the Back Door, but this was closed to the Hopi. However, the Hopi say that other peoples came through the Back Door into the Fourth World. This Back Door could be referring to the Bering land bridge, which connected Asia with far north North America. The Hopi were led on their migrations by various signs, or were helped along by Spider Woman. Eventually, the Hopi clans finished their prescribed migrations and were led to their current location in northeastern Arizona.

Most Hopi traditions have it that they were given their land by Masauwu, the Spirit of Death and Master of the Fourth World."
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http://nativeamericannetroots.net/diary/1003

"In 1540 Francisco Vásquez de Coronado began his journey north from Mexico seeking the legendary Seven Cities of Cibola. He had with him a force of 330 Spaniards (most of whom were mounted soldiers) and 1,000 native allies. After conquering Zuñi Pueblo, Coronado sent an expedition under the command of Captain Pedro de Tovar to make contact with the Hopi. The Hopi met the Spaniards at the town of Kawaika-a with coldness. The Hopi were in battle formation and drew a line on the ground with sacred corn pollen telling the Spaniards not to cross it. There was a short battle that was won by the Spaniards. At this time there were an estimated 29,000 Hopi who lived in several well-established villages, many of which were defensively located on mesa tops.

The designation Hopi comes from a contraction of Hopi-tuh which means “peaceful ones.” While outsiders have often insisted on discussing the Hopi as a tribe, they are a collection of independent, autonomous villages (Pueblos) which are unified by a common language and common cultural traditions. While the Hopi had lived in their villages for several centuries prior to their first encounter with the Spanish (the Hopi village of Oraibi had been established by 1100 CE), their oral histories and the archaeological record tell of many migrations. Some of these oral traditions speak of a migration from the Old World to the New World, a migration made across water rather than across lands.

One of the most important features of Hopi social organization is their clans: matrilineal, named, exogamous, family units. Matrilineal clans mean that each member of Hopi society belongs to a single clan and that clan membership is the mother’s clan. Being exogamous means that clan members may not marry people from the same clan.

The Hopi migration stories are histories of the Hopi clans. According to Hopi traditions, the clans migrated independently, arriving in the Hopi homelands at different times and from different directions. The clan name often reflects an episode in the clan’s migrations. Each clan has its own stories about its migrations across the Southwest and their arrival at their present villages.

There was often a pattern of settling down, building villages and preparing new fields for their corn and other plants. Then would come another migration. When an area was abandoned, the remains of the Hopi ancestors were left behind. These ancestors are important as the weather patterns-something very important to dry land farmers-are controlled by spirit ancestors.

Before they began their wanderings, the deity Maasaw gave the Hopi tablets which sealed their covenant with him.

Upon their emergence from the Underworld at the Sipapu, the Hopi began their search for the homeland promised them by Mockingbird. Each group that left the Sipapu (the sacred entrance to the underworld) was accompanied by an old woman. It was the wisdom of this elder that would be counted on during the long time of wandering. For this reason, Hopi women have always played an important part in village secular and religious life.

The Hopi promised land was to be an area where they would find security from enemies who waged war against them, soil suited to their plants (corn, beans, cotton), an adequate supply of game and, most important, a dependable supply of water. All of these are found in the mesas of northern Arizona where they established their villages.

At first the Hopi all traveled to the east. One group, led by Bahana, went so far east that he could touch his forehead to the Sun. Here they settled and planted their crops. The other Hopi groups spread out in many directions, often pausing for several seasons at certain places. Then they would continue their search for the promised land.

One of the wandering bands of Hopi under the leadership of Matcito found the body of a dead bear near the Little Colorado River. Considering this to be a significant omen, this group became the Bear Clan. Later, a second band of Hopi came upon the bear’s carcass. Since they needed help in carrying their possessions, they cut long straps from the bear’s hide and are thus known as the Strap Clan. Several days later, a third party of Hopi came upon the dead bear, which was now just a skeleton. They found several bluebirds perched on the bones and took this as a sign to name themselves the Bluebird Clan. The fourth group to come upon the bear found a spider with a large web in the center of the skeleton and took the name Spider Clan. The fifth group to find the bear’s skeleton noted that there were now many holes made by moles and became the Mole Clan. Many months later, a sixth Hopi group came upon what remained of the bear. When they examined the skull they found a strange substance in the eye cavities and so they became the Greasy Eye Cavities Clan.

The Bear Clan camped at Kuiwanva and it was here that the god Masau-u, the death god and the patron of all food plants, visited them. The Bear Clan people asked Masau-u if he would give them some of his land and allow them to build their village there. Masau-u then showed them where they could build their village, and today this is the site of Oraibi (also spelled Orayvi). As other clans would later approach the village, they would have to ask the village chief, a member of the Bear Clan, for permission to settle in the village. The Bear Clan chief would always ask them what they could contribute to the village before allowing them to settle there.

The Hopi Snake Clan once settled at Tokoonavi, which is northeast of the Grand Canyon near Navajo Mountain. Tiyo, the son of the village chief, made a boat and journeyed down the Colorado River to the ocean and from there to a small island. After adventures with the snake people (the reason for the Clan’s name), Tiyo returned home. Tiyo and his wife eventually decided to seek a new home and came to Walpi where they asked to be allowed to live.

Like the Snake Clan, the Horn Clan traces its roots to Tokoonavi. After they left this village to search for a site for a permanent home, they came to Lenyanobi which was inhabited by the Flute Clan. The people of the Flute Clan made the Horn Clan welcome and after a while the two people became very closely related. After living at Lenyanobi for a long time, the two clans continued the search for their homeland. Near the Hopi village of Walpi, they built the village of Kwactapahu. When they discovered that the Snake Clan people, which whom they had lived at Tokoonavi, were now living at Walpi, they were made welcome and entered the pueblo.

The Hopi Water clans-Young Corn, Cloud, Tadpole and Frog, Snow, and Rabbitbrush-have an oral history in which they migrated to Hopi country from Palotquopi, a region of red rocks. This area probably lies near the pueblo of Casas Grandes in Chihuahua, Mexico. As they migrated north, they lived for a while at the Zuñi pueblo of Hawikuh. Eventually, the Snake Clan chief welcomed the Water Clans to Walpi.

The Hopi Katsini and Parrot Clans also have a tradition which tells of a migration from the south, possibly Casas Grandes. As with the Water Clans, there is also some indication that these two clans lived for a while with the Zuni.

The Firewood or Kokop Clans-Coyta, Masau-u, Yucca, Pinyon-have an oral tradition that says they came to the Hopi from villages on the Jemez Plateau in New Mexico. Several other clans-Sun, Moon, Stars, Sun’s Forehead, Eagle, Hawk, Turkey-also have traditions about living in the pueblos of New Mexico.

The Badger Clan wandered for a long time after emerging from the Underworld. They then settled a Kisiu-va in the San Francisco peaks. Here they lived for a time with members of the Katsina Clan. Early in their wanderings, the Badger Clan had established the village of Tuwanacabi, north of the present-day Hopi villages. They then moved to the Oraibi Wash where they built the village of Siu-va. It was at this time that they became interested in the badger and became the Badger Clan. Later they moved to the village of Oraibi."
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So, to any other reasons suggested for abandonment and movement of the Anasazi people, we might perhaps add "fulfilling the instructions of the creator". And this potentially important component is something that really wouldn't show up in the archaeological record the way signs of draught or destructive attacks by enemies might. So, this reason might be ascribed to "existing belief systems" or "spiritual imperative/instruction". With each clan having it's own history of fulfilling this "spiritual imperative/instruction". But I am not ignoring the fact that post-Chaco demonstrated movement from canyon floor to canyon cliff dwellings, indicative of a move for greater safety from enemies. And Old Oraibi, the oldest Hopi village is mesa top, as is Acoma, the Sky City and oldest of the Rio Grande Pueblo towns. Both date to c.1000 AD, earlier then the abandonment of the canyon floor villages in Chaco Canyon.
Last edited by shawomet on Mon Aug 04, 2014 7:49 am, edited 6 times in total.

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Re: Chaco Canyon

Post by shawomet » Mon Aug 04, 2014 7:10 am

The Hohokam were another urbanized culture of the SW, in the Phoenix and Tucson Basins. Probably most influenced by the Mesoamerican cultures in northern Mexico then any other SW group. They may have migrated from northern Mexico. The Anasazi decendents are the Hopi and the Rio Grande Pueblos. The Pima are descendent from the Hohokam. Here is a very common image from their pottery, which was traded throughout the region, as was Anasazi pottery. At any rate, this may be an image representing "migration". Talking off the top of my head, though. I'm not sure if there is an "accepted" interpretation of this common image. I do think representing "migrations" is a reasonable interpretation. This sherd is c. 800 AD.
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Re: Chaco Canyon

Post by Cognito » Mon Aug 04, 2014 8:09 am

The Anasazi decendents are the Hopi and the Rio Grande Pueblos.
The image you displayed appears to be Kokopelli..

While at the Taos Pueblo I was told by the natives that the Anasazi were one of the peoples absorbed into the pueblos; one of many. Further, the pueblos were established along the Rio Grande because of its consistent source of water and the peoples consolidated for protection from outsiders (primarily the Navajo/Apache).
Natural selection favors the paranoid

uniface

Re: Chaco Canyon

Post by uniface » Mon Aug 04, 2014 7:35 pm

the Hopi . . . oral histories and the archaeological record tell of many migrations. Some of these oral traditions speak of a migration from the Old World to the New World, a migration made across water rather than across lands.
http://archaeologica.boardbot.com/viewt ... f=9&t=3543 :lol:

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Re: Chaco Canyon

Post by Minimalist » Tue Aug 05, 2014 9:33 am

Well this is a timely piece.

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/08/05/a ... y-america/
Archaeologists piece together evidence of bloody apocalypse in 12th century America
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin

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Re: Chaco Canyon

Post by shawomet » Tue Aug 05, 2014 2:27 pm

Cognito wrote:
The Anasazi decendents are the Hopi and the Rio Grande Pueblos.
The image you displayed appears to be Kokopelli..

While at the Taos Pueblo I was told by the natives that the Anasazi were one of the peoples absorbed into the pueblos; one of many. Further, the pueblos were established along the Rio Grande because of its consistent source of water and the peoples consolidated for protection from outsiders (primarily the Navajo/Apache).
Thanks. Kokopelli as the itinerant peddler, perhaps? Kokopelli is a common image on a Hohokam pottery, as the Flute Player. I have a few such sherds depicting him. Here is one. The other is a common enough image, man with staff carrying a burden, sometimes a hooked staff, sometimes not, as in the example.
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Re: Chaco Canyon

Post by shawomet » Tue Aug 05, 2014 2:44 pm

Minimalist wrote:Well this is a timely piece.

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/08/05/a ... y-america/
Archaeologists piece together evidence of bloody apocalypse in 12th century America
That was timely. There's a link to another study there indicating the birth rate in the region was 6.89 children per woman prior to 1300 AD.

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Re: Chaco Canyon

Post by Minimalist » Tue Aug 05, 2014 4:46 pm

Wow. Even then they were mormons!
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin

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Re: Chaco Canyon

Post by Cognito » Thu Aug 07, 2014 6:33 am

According to a report from WSU, the years between 1140 and 1180 A.D. were the bloodiest per capita years on North American soil, with an astonishing nine of ten corpses exhumed from the era showing signs of death by traumatic injuries to the head and arms.
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/08/05/a ... y-america/

Violence and death is a great motivator for moving to another region; however, the article quotes Tim Kohler as stating that the reason for the violence was a lack of specialization at Mesa Verde whereas the Rio Grande group specialized (division of labor, etc.). Occam's Razor be damned. Maybe the Rio Grande group banded together to defend themselves successfully in the face of external threats and specialized as a result, out of necessity.
Natural selection favors the paranoid

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Re: Chaco Canyon

Post by shawomet » Sat Aug 09, 2014 5:32 am

And during this tumultuous time, did the Anasazi also practice cannabilism?


http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news ... asazi.html

http://www.unl.edu/rhames/courses/curre ... nibals.pdf

Cannibalism and the Anaszi: Part One of Six.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWbWPgjJ7W0

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