Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

Community News Network

October 8, 2013

Four Corners desert tells story of the Southwest

(Continued)

"That's a female hogan," Mark says, staring off into the distance like a poker player. "You don't see too many male hogans anymore."

My next question ("Are you pulling my leg?") goes unanswered, because we've finally arrived. We get out of the van and walk to Pueblo Bonito, the most impressive of Chaco Canyon's ruins. D-shaped and five stories tall, with 650 rooms, it was the largest of what archaeologists call great houses, and it was majestic in its time: Until the mid-19th century, it was one of the largest structures in the United States. It stands at the bottom of a cliff wall, part of which has since toppled onto it, and was built over the course of 300 years, using masonry that's three feet thick in places and wooden support beams made from ponderosa pines.

"Welcome to downtown Chaco," Mark announces. Theories abound, but Mark believes that Chaco at one point supported a population of about 4,000.

Because of the punishing road, we have the place to ourselves. As we walk through the rooms, we duck through small square doorways, trying not to bump our heads on 1,200-year-old wooden beams, and listen as Mark and Ricky go into great detail about what was found in each room, what each room was used for and what a typical day in a pueblo was like. Archaeologists (some professional and some not so) have excavated thousands of turquoise pendants and beads here, along with macaw skeletons, copper bells, and seashells from Mexico, hinting at sophisticated and far-reaching trade routes.

Most impressive in Pueblo Bonito are the Great Kivas, giant circular communal chambers/religious amphitheaters that were cut into solid rock at a time when digital levels and computer precision were still centuries away. I'm mesmerized by how perfectly round they are.

Text Only
Community News Network
  • The virtues of lying

    Two computational scientists set out recently to simulate the effects of lying in a virtual human population. Their results, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, show that lying is essential for the growth of a cohesive social network.

    July 31, 2014

  • Sunburn isn't the only sign of summer that can leave you itchy and blistered

    You've got a rash. You quickly rule out the usual suspects: You haven't been gardening or hiking or even picnicking, so it's probably not a plant irritant such as poison ivy or wild parsnip; likewise, it's probably not chiggers or ticks carrying Lyme disease; and you haven't been swimming in a pond, which can harbor the parasite that causes swimmer's itch.

    July 30, 2014

  • Survey results in legislation to battle sexual assault on campus

    Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill joined a bipartisan group of senators Wednesday to announce legislation that aims to reduce the number of sexual assaults on college campuses.

    July 30, 2014

  • An alarming threat to airlines that no one's talking about

    It's been an abysmal year for the flying public. Planes have crashed in bad weather, disappeared over the Indian Ocean and tragically crossed paths with anti-aircraft missiles over Ukraine.

    July 30, 2014

  • Sharknado.jpg Sharknado 2 set to attack viewers tonight

    In the face of another "Sharknado" TV movie (the even-more-inane "Sharknado 2: The Second One," premiering Wednesday night on Syfy), there isn't much for a critic to say except to echo what the characters themselves so frequently scream when confronted by a great white shark spinning toward them in a funnel cloud:
    "LOOK OUT!!"

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140729-AMX-GIVHAN292.jpg Spanx stretches into new territory with jeans, but promised magic is elusive

    The Spanx empire of stomach-flattening, thigh-slimming, jiggle-reducing foundation garments has expanded to include what the brand promises is the mother of all body-shaping miracles: Spanx jeans.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Medical marijuana opponents' most powerful argument is at odds with a mountain of research

    Opponents of marijuana legalization are rapidly losing the battle for hearts and minds. Simply put, the public understands that however you measure the consequences of marijuana use, the drug is significantly less harmful to users and society than tobacco or alcohol.

    July 29, 2014

  • linda-ronstadt.jpg Obama had crush on First Lady of Rock

    Linda Ronstadt remained composed as she walked up to claim her National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony Monday afternoon.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can black women have it all?

    In a powerful new essay for the National Journal, my friend Michel Martin makes a compelling case for why we need to continue the having-it-all conversation.

    July 29, 2014

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 28, 2014