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Ancient Civilizations 2019 Calendar


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The lives of ancient Puebloans who lived in the American southwest are largely mysterious to us. Their legacy is a series of architectural sites that reveal their ingenious building skills, elements of their religious practice, and the art they carved into stone. Ancient Civilizations 2019 explores that cultural heritage and celebrates its legacy and preservation.

Puebloan sites, national parks and monuments featured in the 2019 calendar include:

Chaco Canyon, Chaco Culture National Historical Park, New Mexico

Chaco Culture NHP preserves the largest group of Ancestral Puebloan buildings in the American southwest. In designating the area as a World Heritage Site, UNESCO described Chaco as “…remarkable for its monumental public and ceremonial buildings and its distinctive architecture – it has an ancient urban ceremonial center that is unlike anything constructed before or since.”

Moon House, Bears Ears National Monument, Utah

The three sections of the Moon House complex were constructed in Cedar Mesa by Ancestral Puebloans between about AD 950 and 1250. Sections of the building appear to include housing for about five households, storage areas and a section that includes a large kiva which served as a spiritual center for people living in the nearby canyon and on the mesa above it.

Gran Quivira, Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument, New Mexico

Puebloan and Spanish cultures met and first interacted at three sites that are now part of this National Monument. Gran Quivira, the largest, was a populous city of many pueblos when Spanish missionaries arrived in about 1583, and eventually built a series of churches as part of the effort to convert Puebloans. Drought, famine and Apache raids led to the abandonment of Gran Quivira in 1672

River House, San Juan River Valley, Utah

Between about AD 1150 and 1350, Ancestral Puebloans moved in large numbers from family farmsteads to Pueblo communities. Cliff dwellings like River House could shelter a number of families against weather and offer protection against attack, while maximizing the amount of land available for cultivation. Cliff dwellings like this were largely abandoned after 1350 as families moved south in search of better land for farming.

Box Canyon Ruins, Wupatki National Monument, Arizona

Beginning in about AD 500, a series of Ancient Puebloans, the Cohonina, Kayenta, Anasazi, and the Sinagua, lived and constructed pueblos and kivas here. The buildings were often constructed using flat blocks cut from the local Moenkopi sandstone and mortared into place. By about AD 1225 persistent drought caused Wupatki to be abandoned.

Cliff Dwellings, Tonto National Monument, Arizona

These cliff dwellings were built by people of the Salado culture who occupied them between the 13th and 15th centuries. Though located on the edge of the Sonoran Desert, the location is appealing because the nearby Salt River provided a source of water. Notable craftspeople, the Salado created brightly decorated polychrome pottery and intricately woven textiles.

Kiva, Pecos National Historical Park, New Mexico

Beginning in about AD 1100, Ancestral Puebloans occupied this area and built villages here that included religious and ceremonial kivas, or pit houses, of various sizes. Puebloans may have believed that kivas helped to connect them with the spirits of the underworld which could influence the success of their crops.

Tuff, Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico

Ancestral Puebloans occupied this area for some 450 years until about 1600. About 1.14 million years ago, shale and sandstone were covered by volcanic ash after the eruption of the Valles Caldera. Compacted over time, the ash solidified into a relatively soft, porous rock called Bandelier tuff. Puebloans exploited the tuff coating along the cliff side to cut holes for structural roof supports and to excavate additional spaces.

Cliff Dwellings, Navajo National Monument, Arizona

Located in Navajo Nation territory, the Keet Seel, Betatakin and Inscription House cliff dwelling sites seem to have been occupied for only a brief time between about AD 1250 and 1300. Pressure to farm every piece of available ground may have pressed Ancestral Puebloans to create cliff dwellings here, while acute drought may have forced abandonment of the site. The structures are built primarily of sandstone blocks and mud mortar.

Sherwood Ranch Pueblo, Arizona

The pueblo at Sherwood Ranch reveals two periods of development. The first era began in about AD 1000 until about 1300. The second era began in about AD 1300 and ended in 1450. Development of the older section took place around a large kiva, but without any apparent plan. The new site was also developed around a large rectangular kiva, but was organized in a geometric pattern around a central plaza with the kiva on its southern side. The site is owned by The Archaeological Conservancy.

Kiva, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah.

This kiva would have been covered and access would have been through a roof hole via a ladder. The raised sections along the interior bench may have been used to support the roof beams. Ancestral Puebloans occupied sites along the Escalante River here between AD 950 and 1100. The area is so remote it was the last land officially mapped in the continental United States.

Horsecollar Ruin, Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah

In addition to the natural bridges here, the National Monument also includes Horsecollar Ruin found on an overlook a short walk from Bridge View Drive. Abandoned by Ancestral Puebloans in about AD 1300, the site is well preserved. It includes a rectangular kiva with its original roof and interior. There are also two granaries with oval-shaped doors resembling horse collars which suggested the name for the site.



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