Chaco Canyon shrouded in mysteryBy Barbara Jolly
Science Matters: Archaeology
After years of intensive research, Chaco Canyon, located in a desolate region of northwestern New Mexico, leaves us with more questions than answers. A unique feature in the construction of many of the pueblos is that they were aligned not only with the movements of the sun, but also the 18 1/2 year lunar cycle. No other civilization is known to have accomplished this. Some 200 miles of straight roads 24- to 36-feet wide were built with raised beds, bridges, stairways and ramps. For the most part, these roads led to nowhere. For many years the theory prevailed that the "Chaco Phenomenon" existed as the distribution center for a large trading network. Colorful parrot feathers, copper bells and seashells from up to 3,000 miles away have been found in the ruins.
Huge pueblos, known as "Great Houses" are the distinguishing feature of a culture that flourished in this area starting around 850 AD and continued until 1250 AD. Ten massive structures, some four stories high, had approximately 3,000 rooms. Pueblo Bonito was the size of the Roman Coliseum.
Generations of The Ancient Ones, known also as Anasazi, dedicated themselves to the building of these pueblos. Not only did it require the transportation of sandstone from the cliffs above, timber required for the construction of the four story buildings was not available in the area.
Modern research has proven that the trees were carried by workers over 50 miles. Few crops could be grown in this arid region, so food to support the thousands of builders had to be imported. A unique feature in the construction of many of the pueblos is that they were aligned not only with the movements of the sun, but also the 18 1/2 year lunar cycle. No other civilization is known to have accomplished this.
Some 200 miles of straight roads 24- to 36-feet wide were built with raised beds, bridges, stairways and ramps. For the most part, these roads led to nowhere.
For many years the theory prevailed that the "Chaco Phenomenon" existed as the distribution center for a large trading network. Colorful parrot feathers, copper bells and seashells from up to 3,000 miles away have been found in the ruins.
Current archaeology disputes this theory. Upon closer examination, it is doubtful that these pueblos were used for ongoing habitation. Most of the rooms were closed off from the outside and at times, closed off from each other. Poor ventilation precludes heating the rooms by fire. In fact, evidence of very few hearths was found.
Only a few hundred burials have been found in the area. There is very little evidence of mounds containing household refuse. If these immense buildings were not used for day to day living, why were they built?
Most likely it was a ceremonial center and was largely empty between periodic rituals. Modern day Pueblo descendants, the Hopi, Zuni and others, say their oral history indicates Chaco was a special gathering place where many peoples and clans converged to share their ceremonial traditions and knowledge.
This would explain the 15 Great Kivas, each capable of holding more than 400 people, and over 100 small Kivas that held from 50 to 100 people.
About 1250 AD, doors were sealed up, Kivas burned and the area abandoned. A modern day mystery exists. Chaco Canyon has been added to the World Heritage List, along with other notable places as the Egyptian Pyramids, Yellowstone, and the Great Wall of China. Why then do so few Americans know about this unusual place?
Source: American Archaeology summer 2003 and video "The Mystery of Chaco Canyon"
Originally published Monday, November 24, 2003
Reply tp Article: "Folks: In the article on Chaco Canyon it was mentioned that no other culture knew about the 18 1/2 year moon cycle. This is not correct. Many cultures knew about this cycle and used it in their ritual layouts.
That includes the Egyptians, Mayans, Stonehenge, and many others. Check the book "Hamlet's Mill" and you will find that astronomy is the most ancient science. Archaeologists don't realize the extent of the abilities of the ancients. And never correlate their finds to other finds.....Dave Edwards.
"200,000" Year Old Inlaid Tile Floor
On June 27,1969, workmen cutting into a rock shelf situated on the Broadway Extension of 122nd Street, between Edmond and Oklahoma City, came upon a find that was to create much controversy among the experts.
The find was an inlaid tile floor, found 3 feet below the surface, and covering several thousand square feet. Durwood Pate, an Oklahoma City geologist, commented on the floor in the Edmond Booster of July 3, 1969:
"I am sure this was man-made because the stones are placed in perfect sets of parallel lines which intersect to form a diamond shape, all pointing to the east.
We found post holes which measure a perfect two rods from the other two. The top of the stone is very smooth, and if you lift one of them, you will find it is very jagged, which indicates wear on the surface. Everything is too well placed to be a natural formation."
Pate also discovered a form of mortar between the tiles. He believes now that the tile surface served as a common floor for several human shelters over a wide area. Delbert Smith, a geologist and president of the Oklahoma Seismograph Company, summed up the mystery concerning the tile floor in the Tulsa World of June 29, 1969:
"There is no question about it. It had been laid there, but I have no idea by whom." Yet another facet of the mystery involved the question of age. There are some differing opinions as to the geology involved, but the best estimate places the tiles at 200,000 years old.Another Ancient Tiled Floor? With Photo
Sophisticated Metallurgical Skills in Ancients
“Certain achievements of the South American Indian in metallurgy are enigmatic. Ornaments of platinum, were found in Ecuador. This poses a provoking question--how could the American Indian produce the temperature- of over 1,770 degrees Celsius necessary to melt it? It should be borne in mind here that the melting of platinum in Europe was achieved only two centuries ago.
In testing an alloy from a prehistoric artifact the United States Bureau of Standards ascertained that the original dwellers of America had furnaces capable of producing temperatures of 9,000 degrees Celsius 7,000 years ago.
No satisfactory explanation has yet been given of how such a technical feat was possible at all at so remote a date as 5000 B.C.(Science et Vie, No 516).
The tomb of the Chinese general Chow Chu (A.D. 265-316) presents a mystery. When analyzed by the spectroscope, a metal girdle showed 10 percent copper, 5 percent manganese, and 85 percent aluminum. But according to the history of science aluminum was obtained for the first time by Oersted in 1825 by a chemical method.
To satisfy industrial demands, electrolysis was later introduced into the manufacturing process. Needless to say, an ornament made of aluminum, whether chemically or electrolytically, seems out of place in a third-century grave in China.
It is hardly reasonable to think that this aluminum article was the only one manufactured in China.
The Kutb Minar iron pillar in Delhi weighs 6 tons and is about 7.5 meters high. For fifteen centuries it has withstood the tropical sunshine of India plus the heavy downpours during the monsoons. It does not show any signs of rust formation and provides proof of the superior metallurgical skill of ancient India.
Aside from the mystery of the noncorrosive metal of which the column is made, the task of forging so large a pillar could not have been achieved anywhere in the world until recent times.
The production of rustproof iron of this type is possible today because of our high technology but it is surprising to find such, an achievement in AD. 415. The pillar stands as a mute Witness to the scientific tradition preserved by the people of antiquity in all parts of the world.
Men whom time has forgotten held the answers to these riddles of the history of science.”
Source:We Are Not The First, by Andrew Tomas Copywrite 1971