“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Pagosa Springs in Archuleta County, Colorado — The American Mountains (Southwest)

People and Place

The Wondrous Culture and Landscape of Chimney Rock National Monument

People and Place Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, July 9, 2020
1. People and Place Marker
Inscription.  Questions Unanswered
A thousand years ago, a civilization flourished here. What pulled people here — and why did they leave after 200 years?

Why did they build so high above the fields in the valley, the water, and other resources? Did they leave due to drought or resource depletion? Was there a collapse of the cultural belief system or social hierarchy? Or, according to Pueblo traditions of migration, was it simply time to go?

The Chaco Connection
One of the most intriguing theories about Chimney Rock is that it was part of a larger and remarkable regional network of communities centered at Chaco Canyon (nearly 90 miles southwest in New Mexico) that blossomed across the southwest-a theory supported by architectural and artifact similarities. It has been called the "ultimate outlier” in recognition that it embodies many of the Chacoan design, construction, and setting ideals.

Sky Wisdom
Chimney Rock is a recognized archaeoastronomy resource in North America that illustrates the ancestral Puebloans' knowledge and use of astronomy in their lives. Evidence suggests they
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may have adopted rituals based on celestial events such as solstices and equinoxes. An especially important astronomical event, the Northern Major Lunar Standstill, happens every 18.6 years when the moon rises between the two pinnacles as seen from the Great House.

At Chimney Rock, geology, astronomy, archaeology, and living cultures intersect, bringing people together across time in a sense of wonder.

Left: Descendants of the ancestral Puebloans return to this place of cultural continuity for celebrations and traditional purposes. (Photo courtesy of Chimney Rock Interpretive Association.)
Center: The Chacoan-style Great House is the most significant ancestral Puebloan structure on the mesa, as well as an extraordinary engineering feat. It is one of 200 structures and 167 sites within Chimney Rock National Monument. Peregrine falcons — once an endangered species — now nest on the pinnacles.
Right: Archaeoastronomy is the study of the knowledge and practices of ancient cultures regarding sky phenomena. (Photo courtesy of Howard Rowe.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Native Americans.
Location. 37° 10.504′ N, 107° 17.678′ W. Marker is near Pagosa Springs, Colorado
People and Place Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, July 9, 2020
2. People and Place Marker
Marker is on the left.
, in Archuleta County. Marker is on Chimney Rock Road (Forest Road 617) near State Highway 151, on the right when traveling west. Marker is at the entrance to Chimney Rock National Monument. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Pagosa Springs CO 81147, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 4 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Welcome to Chimney Rock National Monument (here, next to this marker); Chimney Rock Artifacts (approx. half a mile away); The Great Kiva (approx. half a mile away); Pit House Site (approx. half a mile away).
Credits. This page was last revised on July 23, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 21, 2020, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 108 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on July 21, 2020, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.

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Apr. 17, 2024