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Part 5
Part 6
Part 7







Canyons of the Heart
Part 5: The unknown people

A few days later, far from the highway down an agonizingly rutted road in New Mexico, we reached Chaco Canyon. We were alone but felt their presence lingering as we explored the extensive ruins they left behind. They lived here, ancestors of the Pueblos known as the Anasazi. The word Anasazi itself is a Navajo word for the unknown people who lived here before the Navajo. The walls the ancient Puebloans built still stand, made of intricately fitted stones, almost like bricks chinked with stone slivers and mud for mortar. Stones the same colors as the rock cliffs against which they built, so almost camouflaged.

They used timbers for roofing and poles in the floors. Some structures were at least 5 stories tall. These complexes were designed to be defended, both in location and architecture. A fortress and refuge, home for a village, for a city. Construction on some of these complexes continued for over a century, to include homes and storage chambers and public plazas and sacred spaces, the kivas. Kivas are circular rooms entered through a hole in the roof by climbing on a wooden ladder. The Anasazi believed that the origin of humans was emerging from an underground chamber in the earth, climbing out, thus being born into the world. And so they climb into and out of the sacred kiva through a portal in the roof.

Part 6: Time on a planetary scale

this travelogue is part of the subside travelzine
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