Chaco – an amazing 2 day adventure – experienced as it should be, walking from one village to the next (about 1 mile intervals) along the canyon wall with 5 dogs. What was so exceptional about Chaco for me, was to be able to reflect on what happened there as I walked accross the canyon with my dogs on the 7.5 mile Penasco Blanco trail
up to the Supernova
and climbed up the canyon wall to the unexcavated end site replete with scattered artifacts
and with its magnificent view of the canyon.
As I observed the petroglyphs
and visited 7 of the adobe great houses with their associated kivas
Pueblo del Arroyo
and the chacoan staircase,
I formulated a hypothesis. I don’t believe the people left because of drought. The crop failure may have caused a decrease in the population, but not its total abandonment. I think the ancient ones lived first in the canyon walls. Then, adobe construction and quarrying arrived probably with enslavement because it was such hard labor. The houses were first built out of the canyon walls (because one wall was already naturally there), these houses explain the petroglyphs and murals which still exist along the walls (although the houses built there have for the most part collapsed with the canyon wall). As more people arrived, the great houses were built. The old ones probably still lived in the canyon walls, and were respected.
The area must have had more water then – along the wash, and fields for crops. I wonder if a flood did not destroy the area – many of the buildings, as well as the crops. One can imagine how the underground kivas would have had problems under these conditions (they would have collected water). Sitting in several inches of water for over a month would have caused EVERYONE to leave in a way that a plague, or war would not have (people would have fled to the hills and survived).
How to test this hypothesis?
The above picture is the better picture, but there is another one that I took which is consciousness-raising. Most pits in shelters don’t get walked – because the volunteers are not allowed to go in their pens. It isn’t just a shelter problem – there are many also who are on chains, and never walked.
The sad picture: Shelter Life – no walks
This dog’s life has been saved 3 times, once from gassing, and twice from being attacked by another dog.
On the way out, we stopped at la Ventana (the window) in El Malpais for a picture of the natural Arc(/Ark).