Irreplaceable cultural resources in New Mexico are among those areas targeted for expedited drilling – and conservationists say it’s ‘like losing pages and chapters of that history book’
In Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, it is still possible to wander the maze of rooms of an ancestral Puebloan village erected roughly 1,000 years ago.
Visitors use the same staircases and duck through the same T-shaped doorways as residents did at the time. A jigsaw puzzle of rocks form walls that stand several feet thick and multiple stories tall. Where rooftops are gone, windows now let in glimpses of sky. It’s a simultaneous experience of vast space and marvelous connection.
Hundreds of such dwellings sprawl over the south-west, from New Mexico to Colorado, Utah and Arizona. Each is a testament to the determined faith of their inhabitants, who aligned the walls of structures with the axis of the rising sun on an equinox, and etched petroglyphs the sunlight bisects only on solstices.
Chaco Culture national historical park, created in 1907, contains a concentration of these ancestral Puebloan structures abandoned around 1200 AD. Unesco recognized it as a world heritage site in 1987 for its “monumental public and ceremonial buildings and its distinctive architecture – it has an ancient urban ceremonial centre that is unlike anything constructed before or since”.
Courtesy of The Guardian