People of Chaco: A Canyon and Its Culture

Overview

"[W]ritten in the best tradition of the science writer and the mystery writer. . . . [A] breathtaking piece of work."—Jake Page, Washington Times
In northwestern New Mexico's Chaco Canyon lies a spectacular array of ruins. Like Stonehenge, they are both a monument to our pre-history and a cryptic puzzle. We know that in Chaco Canyon, one thousand years ago, there arose among the Pueblo people a great and culturally sophisticated civilization. But many questions remain: Just what function did Chaco Canyon fulfill?...

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Overview

"[W]ritten in the best tradition of the science writer and the mystery writer. . . . [A] breathtaking piece of work."—Jake Page, Washington Times
In northwestern New Mexico's Chaco Canyon lies a spectacular array of ruins. Like Stonehenge, they are both a monument to our pre-history and a cryptic puzzle. We know that in Chaco Canyon, one thousand years ago, there arose among the Pueblo people a great and culturally sophisticated civilization. But many questions remain: Just what function did Chaco Canyon fulfill? How great was its extent and influence? Why did its culture collapse? First published in 1986 and now updated with the latest archaeological and anthropological evidence, People of Chaco is an essential book for the general reader on the Chaco culture and ruins. With grace and erudition, Kendrick Frazier scours the canyon for clues about its unique cultural system, confirms its importance to archaeology, and saves this vital American narrative from the oblivion of history.

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Editorial Reviews

Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Kendrick Frazier has combined scientific and ethnographic data with Native American oral history to develop a concise account of this national monument.

Paul Craig - Sacramento Bee
“By-the-fireside archaeology at its best.”
Library Journal
The intermittent Chaco Wash has cut a broad canyon through northwestern New Mexico. Its natural beauty is surpassed only by the many prehistoric ruins it contains, which were built by the Chacoan Anasazi, the ancestors of the modern Pueblo Indians. About 1000 years ago, the Chacoans constructed multistory residences, established an extensive road system, exercised cultural hegemony over a large region in the southwestern United States, and then suddenly left. Frazier skillfully recounts the fascinating story of Chaco Canyon. He describes its discovery and exploration, its role in the development of American archaeology, and the clues it contains about a unique cultural system. This thorough, balanced, and engrossing work is a delight for all students of the prehistoric Southwest. Gordon C. Tucker, Jr., Nickens and Assocs., Montrose, Col.
Booknews
Updating the 1997 Norton edition with new findings (including the cannibalism controversy) about the Anasazi civilization that peaked ca. 1000 AD, an Albuquerque writer summarizes research conducted by the Chaco Center at the U. of New Mexico. Includes maps, b&w photos, and a glossary of place names. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393318258
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/25/2005
  • Edition description: Revised and Updated
  • Pages: 261
  • Sales rank: 1,225,550
  • Product dimensions: 8.98 (w) x 6.38 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Meet the Author

Kendrick Frazier, the author of several books and the former editor of Science News, lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 7
Prologue: The Ancient Way 13
1 The Lieutenant and the Cowboy 23
2 Judd and the Geo Excavations 43
3 The Secrets of Time 63
4 The Chaco Project 85
5 Canals and Irrigation 95
6 Roadways and Signal Towers 105
7 The Outliers 128
8 Population, Burials, and the Mexican Connection 153
9 The Chaco Phenomenon 171
10 The Sky-Watchers of Chaco 188
11 Destinies and Destinations 203
12 Chaco at the Millennium 213
App Chaco Place Names 245
Selected Bibliography 247
Index 255
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