Posts Tagged: Cliff Dwellers

The mysterious Anasazi and historical fiction

27 January 2012 Comments (0)

Around the eleventh century, the modern-day Southwest canyons were alive with architectural wonders, cliff cities and sprawling fields belonging to the Ancient Cliff Dwellers, more known to us as Anasazi.

Those ancients built their multi-storey great houses of hundreds of spacious, well-conditioned rooms with such skill, the ruins of those complexes survive to the present day.

They irrigated their fields with an intricate system of canals and reservoirs, collecting the sparse rainwater carefully and effectively, succeeding in supporting extremely large communities. They connected all of their cultural centers and the rest of the farming settlements with a network of well-planned and well-kept roads, so the trade with the south and the northwest flourished, with all manner of goods available to these sophisticated desert dwellers.

But there was one thing the fascinating ancients had not managed to achieve. They hadn’t been featured in historical fiction. There were some great mystery thrillers dealing with Anasazi, but never a downright HF.

So, I decided to rectify this matter. Months of research resulted in At Road’s End. Packed with action, love, lust, fighting and cultural misunderstandings, as all the happenings in one of the glorious cities of Anasazi presented from the foreigner’s point of view, this novel deals with the Cliff Dwellers and their impact on our modern Southwest.

A group of traders from the distant Central American lands crosses into Arizona’s desert, accompanied by the arrogant warrior who doesn’t want to spend his time on such a dismal expedition. Well, little did he know about troubles and adventures that were laying in wait for him among the Cliff Dwellers, definite to change his life.

The Southwest Ancient Observatories

1 August 2011 Comments (2)

The Ancient Pueblo People would not let the events as summer or winter solstice go unnoticed; or uncelebrated.

Atop the most famous, imposing Fajada Butte in Chaco Canyon three giant slabs of rocks are leaning against the cliff surface, as if trying to hide the spiral petroglyphs carved upon it.
But on the longest day of the year the carvings cannot hide from the power of the sun, when a vertical shaft of light pierces the larger spiral, cutting it in two. Then, half a year later, on the shortest day of the year – the winter solstice – two different shaft of light would embrace the same spiral, reflecting each other perfectly.

The recognition of the both solstices was very important. But to predict their arrival was as crucial, so more sites, such as another great, multi-roomed and multistoried house on Wijiji, would be used to observe the upcoming event, weeks before it would occur. This way, the time was gained to prepare the elaborated ceremonies and the sun would continue caring for the world, moving upon its usual course willingly, appreciating the efforts of grateful humans.

Back atop Fajada Butte, on the spring and fall equinoxes, another dagger of light would reach the center of the smaller spiral, while the large light shaft would shift to the right of the first spiral. And, it’s argued, the same system was used to track the lunar cycle as well.

The Chacoan People would scan the sky carefully, while building their multi-storey, great houses of hundreds, well conditioned rooms. By the 11th century they represented the ceremonial and economic center of the whole region, and their influence spread far and wide. A network of well-planned and well-kept roads connected those hundreds of great ceremonial centers, and probably, the rest of the farming communities. The trade with the south and the northeast had flourished, so event the high-pitched cries of the colorful macaws can be heard in the New Mexican desert.
Nothing seemed to be able to undermine the Great Cliff Dwellers’ ambitious undertakings.

Then the climate began to change…