THE ANASAZI by Eleanor H. Ayer


Age Range: 10 & up
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 With a nod to modern archaeological method, Ayer discusses what's known about the remarkable pre-Columbian ``Ancient Ones'' who built a great culture in the Southwest and then mysteriously dispersed around A.D. 1300, and explains how their living spaces evolved into today's breathtaking ruins. Though sometimes moving a bit too quickly through the meager clues to how the Anasazi lived (dendrochronolgy is glossed over; the Bering Strait story may not be familiar to many readers), she offers a wealth of information on the people, their movements during the 900 years when they left traces, and their descendants. Ayer is not always convincing in inferring aspects of Anasazi culture from modern parallels: Did ancient children really go through the same rituals to join secret societies as today? How can we know that ``As they stood on their posts on dark nights [guarding the corn crop], they might smear ashes on their faces in hopes of keeping away witches?'' Some of the more astounding revelations of Anasazi life are also omitted, e.g., the astronomical observatory in Chaco Canyon (see the National Geographic, November 1982) or the tiny handholds used to climb sheer rock faces to mesa villages. A final chapter encourages readers to visit the Anasazi's descendants; locations of villages and ruins are listed. Bibliography. B&w photos & index not seen. (Nonfiction. 10+)

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-8027-8184-5
Page count: 136pp
Publisher: Walker
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1993