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Hi, my name is Rob Weiner.


I'm a undergraduate student here at the
Joukowsky Institute.
I come from Santa Fe, New Mexico and
growing up there one of
the main interests I had was archaeology
of the region, right in my backyard.
One of the most impressive places and
something that I research now is Chaco
Canyon.
Which was a gigantic Pabloan center in
North
Western New Mexico in the San Juan basin.
And, and Chaco's unique because you know
in the preceding
pueblo period we see what are called small
unit pueblos.
There's probably one or two family units
living in these things.
And you know, people are practicing.
Agriculture, generally very small scale.
With Chaco things take off in
an unprecedented and really mind blowing
fashion.
Starting around 800 of the common era, we
see the construction of what are called
great houses.
And these are big essentially apartment
complex-like
buildings, multiple stories in a
semi-circular shape with.
Circular features, we suspect they're
ritual features called kivas, great kivas.
Pueblo Bonito is the largest of these
structures, it was
added on to over a period of 200 years
approximately.
And by its culmination this thing was 4-5
stories
tall, there are up to 700 rooms in there.
Timber is being brought in from great
distances.
I think the current estimate is 200,000
pine
trees brought in for the construction of
this.
But the mysterious thing is that there
aren't a lot
of people living in Pueblo Bonito in this
huge, huge structure.
The evidence for domestic usage is very,
very small.
We only see a few, rooms that have
grinding stones
and hearths, the, the things we typically
associate with domestic use.
So, the question is what, what is going on
in, in
Pueblo Bonito, this huge, this huge
structure we call a great house?
And it, it turns out, these are mostly
storage rooms, and what is being stored in
them but, objects that are classified
under the category of exotica.
So, so, so beautiful, strange and
presumably ritual objects there's vast,
vast
quantities of turquoise being brought in
from mines near Santa Fe at Serios.
There are macaw skeletons, and macaw
feathers, up all the way from
Mezzo-America.
We have copper bells coming up also from
presumably the western coast of Mexico.
There are even a few cylindrical vessels
that have residue of chocolate beverages
in them.
So things very, very strange, very
sensorially
engaging material culture is coming into
Chaco from very, very far away.
And one of the most intriguing things is
we have a, a room called.
Room 33 in Pueblo Bonito, where
two individuals are buried they were
middle-aged
men compared to the other burials their
skeletons are much more robust and
healthier.
And these, and the, the grave goods
associated with these two individuals, are
astounding.
50,000 pieces of turquoise, worked
turquoise, so these are
mostly beads that are found buried with
these guys.
Along with a number of other skeletons we,
some, some people would call
them retainers, but this challenges the
view
of ancient Pavlova societies as relatively
egalitarian.
Social structure.
Because here's two individuals with vast
amounts of grave goods,
and this gigantic structure, with not many
other people living it.
that, that's causing us to try and rethink
the
nature of, of the, political system, in
and around Chaco.
So there's still a lot of debate.
But, but I think there's a lot of work
to be done, especially with the larger
regional system.
We have Chaco style of architecture in
these great
houses, semicircular, with the corned
veneer masonry and great kivas.
In a vast, vast geographical region, I'd
say probably equivalent to
or larger than the size of New England,
surrounding Chaco Canyon.
Sites that are copying Chaco in
architecture, and
filling up the regents, so the influence
was profound.
And one, one last interesting point that
may shed some light on the importance
of Chaco are these sort of astrological,
excuse me, astronomical alignments in this
site.
So, one of the most famous is, is a
petroglyph called the Sun Dagger.
Up on a butte called Fajada Butte.
So there's three parallel upright slabs of
sandstone.
And on the winter and the summer solstice,
the sun shines
through these, these slabs and perfectly
bisects one of two spirals.
Etched into the cliff side that marked the
winter and summer solstice, and,
and there's a second spiral, and the same
thing happens on, on the equinoxes.
And similarly in terms of sort
of cosmological associations or
significances at
Chaco, we have what are called the great
north and south roads.
And these are huge, huge leveled areas,
running for up
to 100 kilometers due north and due south
from Chaco.
These are, you know, people have argued
these are for transportation but I mean
really?
Ten meter flags is really really far.
And, and these things don't veer off where
one would logically,
you know, if there's a hill it goes up the
hill.
If there's a canyon, it goes straight down
the canyon.
We have stairs carved into the sandstone
or,
you know, burms built up to go up cliffs.
So this is leading us to believe, you
know, sure, if you're bringing timber into
Chaco you're going to use these road
systems,
but also, they're running due north, due
south.
We know that there's cosmological
importance with
the direction north in modern Puebloan
communities.
So maybe these are more of landscape
monuments
emanating outward from Chaco as an
important ritual center.
So, I think there's a lot of work to be
done and a lot of interesting questions
that could be asked.
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