Chaco Canyon AD 850 - AD 1250

This photos were taken at Chaco Canyon in central New Mexico. The circular rings are kivas, the sacred below ground chambers that were used for ceremonal rituals. The lower left photo shows the Great Kiva, the largest of the kivas in Chaco Canyon. This would be used when all clans leaders came together while the smaller kivas as found in the top right photo were for individual clan rituals. Each clan acted like an individual family with its clan leader meeting with other clan leaders in the Great Kiva for instructions and training. These photos were taken at Pueblo Bonito, the largest pueblo in Chaco Canyon. It was considered the spiritual hub of the Anasazi culture. The petroglyphs date back to about AD 850.

We drove out to Chaco Canyon, which included driving fifty miles on marginal dirt roads, some of which were simply filled with ruts, all on the Navajo Reservation.

Traveling sometimes at ten miles per hour over the road and remembering the sign at the beginning of the dirt path, I mean road, the sign said, “Travel at your own risk!” I have never seen so many miles of miles, except for traveling through West Texas. We were fortunate as there was a new Pick-up truck ahead of us, but in twenty minutes he was long gone, vanished in this arid desert.

One happy moment on this journey was the two antelopes sited by Sharon. Antelopes by nature are very skittish of humans, but these two were grazing by the road and didn't even raise their heads as we drove by. Driving on the dirt road to Chaco Canyon can be characterized by relating it to sitting on a vibrator for an hour.

When we finally arrived at the Visitor Center, the first place I headed was the Comfort Station, as in relief was in sight. Bumpy roads seem to bring out the best in me. We toured the bookstore inside the Visitor Center and added to our collection of book weights for the RV to haul around for another season. We always stamp the books we add to our ever expanding inventory with the Official Stamp of the Park. It seems that it is getting harder to remember what year we purchased the books we carry around. The ink stamp inside the book is a gentle reminder of where and when it was purchased. One less thing my gray cells have to remember.

The last time we were in Chaco Canyon was when it was over 110 degrees and that was hot and dry for us hiking around the ancient ruins. This time it was in the high 70s and I ended up with some very red arms and a red neck, first time someone has called me a red neck!

The Chaco culture encompassed over 115,000 square miles and included about 100,000 people. The Anasazi built five-story buildings with over eight hundred rooms in them; they charted the solstices and the equinoxes, the cycles of starts, even the 18.6-year cycle of the moon. They established trade routes and engineered a road system that would be unequaled in North America for seven hundred years. Chaco Canyon has Pueblo, Hopi, and Navajo names.

Pueblo Bonito is an important part of their ancestral homeland, a special place where clans stopped and lived during their sacred migrations. Their descendants continue to return to pray and honor the spirits of their ancestors.

In traditional Navajo stories, Chaco Canyon is the home of the Great Gambler, who came from the south, enslaved the Pueblo people, and forced them to create the great buildings before he was outwitted and driven away.

As I stood on the banks of the Chaco Wash, I could visualize this bone dry wash flowing with life giving water twelve hundred years ago, sufficient to provide water for agricultural usage as well as for the drinking and cooking water for the many communities or pueblos that called Chaco Canyon their home. It seems many indigenous people called Chaco Canyon their home, perhaps starting with the paleoindians dating back to the early echoes of time.

Archeologists now suggest that early man (First Americans) arrived over 55,000 years ago into New Mexico arriving no doubt through the Siberia-Alaska land bridge that existed until the Ice Age ended and the great glaciers melted resulting in rising the sea level and flooding the plains that connected Siberia and Alaska. I would have to think that these early First Americans also made use of Chaco Canyon, with its forest and water resources.

Today the canyon is arid and without a source of water, but thousands of years ago according to scientists who study tree rings and the dating of them, suggest that the land was fertile with plentiful rain. It was while I was shooting scenes for our DVD Video that my digital recorder captured several ghost voices that may date back to the Anasazi period when the Pueblo Bonito (AD 850 – AD1250) was active with village life.

In one particular segment I could hear what sounded like the beating of a drum or the pounding on stone and then a female voice spoke. The pounding on stone disappeared as soon as she was done speaking. This strange sound was not recorded prior or after this ghostly EVP was captured. We captured a total of seven EVP ghostly voices at Pueblo Bonito. As I said earlier in this article, the Pueblo, Hopi, and Navajo consider Chaco Canyon sacred and that the spirits of their ancestors still dwell within these pueblos.

My EVP seems to confirm that the ancestral spirits are still active in Chaco Canyon. This is Historic EVP at its best, exploring ancient ruins that date back over eleven hundred years and recording a ghost voice in perhaps the Anasazi language, not sitting around a table listening to static on the radio and claiming to record ghost voice in the static.

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