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Thread: The Mystery Of Chaco Canyon

  1. #1
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    On PBS, here at least tonight, maybe somewhere else later in the week:

    Evidence suggests the Chacoan people used a complex solar and lunar cosmology in their architecture

    I remember books and a video on this from my Anthropology days. There might be some cool graphics.

    Chaco Canyon is the site of the cliff dwellings in SE United States.

  2. #2
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    Yes, I've heard of the "Chacoan Mystery", as it has been dubbed. I believe there was a show on the History Channel about it at one time or another. That's pretty much the only channel I watch

  3. #3
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    I brought up this old thread from 2004 because I happened to see a show on PBS last night about Chaco Canyon. This one was narrated by Robert Redford. It got a little hokey and mystical at the end, and it kind of overplayed the significance of a north-south alignment, but that did not detract from most of the show that explained these architectural alignments with the seasonal patterns of the sun and moon.

    There were many large structures scattered around this huge canyon, all in various interrelated alignments, but the odd thing was, the huge number of dark, cramped "rooms" appeared to be more structural than inhabitable, and archaeologists were finding indications that the whole area may not have been "inhabited" at all in the normal sense, but only used for huge ceremonies of, apparently, the equinoxes and solstices. As this example shows, these people were very well aware of the patterns in the sky, and they obviously thought these discoveries were very important. I'd tend to agree.
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

  4. #4
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    I doubt it is much of a mystery. I mean I do not know all the details about this but if you look at many ancient cultures like the Egyptians and the Mayans you can see that they were experts in astronomy. The three pyramids of Giza are lined up with the stars in Orion's belt. Oh yes another fine example would be Stonehenge. The blocks of stone were aligned in a way so that on the winter (or summer I forgot) solstice it would create a pathway towards the center and then they could use this as a ceremony entrance celebrating the solstice. The "Chacoan Mystery" and Stonehenge share striking resemblances.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by GalacticBeatDown View Post
    The three pyramids of Giza are lined up with the stars in Orion's belt.
    Actually, no, they're not, but your point that ancient civilizations were very aware of the night sky is true.

  6. #6
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    Rhaedas, although this is not the thread to start a debate(neither do I wish to start one) but after doing some research I have found that there is still much debate upon this topic. There two sides to this and none have been proven fully. So when you say that it is definitive that there is no correlation, there is not enough evidence for that suggestion and I need much more proof than a small wikipedia text document to change my mind.

  7. #7
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    There is always a finite chance of a three-point correlation. Likewise, the 'Chaco sun dagger' may be coincidental as well - or real, but just an observation, not a significant of part of Chaco canyon as a cultural mecca. Chaco was a gathing place (all roads lead to Chaco), and it is true many of the pits were likely cerimonial; again, a fact deduced from the distribution of refuse. (Archeologists learn more sifting through garbage than chasing lost arks

    But back to the sun dagger, how important could it be? It is on the outskirts of the site as a whole; and to the best of my knowledge not duplicated anywhere within the main assembly of buildings.

    I think the mystery of Easter Island has been resolved as well: Have you seen the size of the Samoans playing football for USC?

  8. #8
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    I have been to this local historical site numerous times. Not to be picky but its in the Southwestern US not Southeastern. Chaco was occupied numerous times and the architecture demonstrates this as the masonry changes over time(becoming less sophisticated in later generations). As previously stated, Chaco was a hub with roads arriving from many locations. The roof vigas were imported from many tens of miles away. The pits (called Kivas) were ceremonial and are common in later cultures of the Native American tribes in this area. The layout of the canyon floor is in a roughly North-South orientation. Fascinating place to visit. They had agriculture and irrigation. The disappearance of the culture is still a mystery, however it is strongly believed that climate change had a lot to do with it(this having occurred about 1200 years ago). A must see when you come to New Mexico if you like such things.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by GalacticBeatDown View Post
    Rhaedas, although this is not the thread to start a debate(neither do I wish to start one) but after doing some research I have found that there is still much debate upon this topic. There two sides to this and none have been proven fully. So when you say that it is definitive that there is no correlation, there is not enough evidence for that suggestion and I need much more proof than a small wikipedia text document to change my mind.
    Yet you asserted it as true, without proof. I doubt you have a leg to stand on here, so let's keep the discussion on the OP, from a few years ago.
    Quote Originally Posted by flynjack1 View Post
    I have been to this local historical site numerous times. Not to be picky but its in the Southwestern US not Southeastern.
    How in the world did we miss that, for so many years?

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