April 10, 2008

"Anasazi" move = religious revolt?

Vanished:  A Pueblo MysteryBy studying changes in ceremonial architecture and pottery styles, Donna Glowacki, an archaeologist at the University of Notre Dame, is charting the rise of what may have been a new puebloan religion. For more than a century, the established faith was distinguished by multistory “great houses,” with small interior kivas, and by much larger “great kivas”—round, mostly subterranean and covered with a sturdy roof. Originating at Chaco Canyon in northwest New Mexico, the formidable temples seem designed to limit access to all but a priestly few.

Though Chaco declined as a regional religious center during the early 1100s, the same architecture spread to the Mesa Verde area. But by the mid 1200s, a different style was also taking hold, with plazas and kivas that were uncovered like amphitheaters—hints, perhaps, of a new openness. At some sites, serving bowls became larger and were frequently decorated with designs, as though intended for a ritual communion. If the pueblo people had left a written history perhaps we would read of the Anasazi equivalent of the Protestant reformation.
For those who don't know what the experts know, here's more information about the "Anasazi":Like people today, the Anasazi (or Ancient Puebloans, as they are increasingly called) were presumably complex beings with the ability to make decisions, good and bad, about how to react to a changing environment. They were not pawns but players in the game.

Some inhabitants left the relatively lush climes of what is now southern Colorado for the bone dry Hopi mesas.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Anasazi = Ancestral Puebloans?

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