PEOPLE OF CHACO: A Canyon and Its Culture by Kendrick Frazier

PEOPLE OF CHACO: A Canyon and Its Culture

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A documentary history of the research that uncovered the ruins of Chaco Canyon in New Mexico. Frazier, former editor of Science News and author of Our Turbulent Sun and The Violent Face of Nature, writes with great admiration of the several generations of researchers that handed the Pueblo Indians the hard evidence of their ancestry going back nearly 10 centuries. Beginning in 1849, written accounts of discoveries at Chaco began to make their way into print, outlining a civilization in which was found, wrote a member of that first expedition, ""a combination of science and art which can only be referred to a higher stage of civilization and refinement than is discoverable in the works of Mexicans or Pueblos of the present day."" From these first forays, Frazier skips nearly five decades to 1895, when the first archaeological exploration of Chaco Canyon was led by Richard Wetherill, the discoverer of the cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde. Wetherill found huge deposits of pottery and turquoise pendants. His work, clearing dozens of rooms in the multi-storied stone villages unearthed, resulted in the 1907 creation of the Chaco Canyon National Monument. (Wetherill, it might sadly be added, died in the dust at Chaco, the victim of a Navajo ambush.) Frazier outlines also the work of Neil Judd and the National Geographic Society beginning in 1921, which resulted in the scientific deciphering of Pueblo Bonita, the largest ruin and ""the very symbol of Pueblo civilization in full flower."" Solid reportage for those who enjoy looking back in time.

Pub Date: Oct. 27th, 1986
ISBN: 0393318257
Publisher: Norton