Queen of the Walkabout
Joined: 15 Jan 2004
| Posted: 4/16/2005, 2:59 pm
|This is a tough book to read, yet it is fascinating, sort of like looking at a rattlesnake. You want to look closer but get away.
The author compares the rise and the fall of the Anasazi civilization based on the rise and fall of Chaco society.
He studies weather and crop patterns as the key to who went where, when and why. He draws some interesting parallels to our own times of the 1800's to present, societal and constructional patterns.
Tough to take in a way as he details the bad times, times of brutal and horrible warfare, on a small scale compared to today, no less savage. High infant mortality, starvation, the apparent caste system in place at Chaco, those who inhabited the Great Houses, versus those in the smaller enclaves and or even pit houses. The osteoporitic bones, the poorly healed fractures, the severe arthritis in what is considered today young adults. It's chilling to read.
Formally trained as an anthropologist; Mr Stuart gave an address at one of the Pecos conferences ( a major event for southwestern archaeologists) that was held one year at Chaco canyon. He paralleled the old with the new, and thus the idea for this book was born.
He tries to plug some holes in the timeline as to what happened after the exodus from Chaco, where people went and the different lifestyles driven by lack of food and game, short growing season, drought. The evolution of the four corners world, and how Chaco never rose again.
At the end he points out the environmental and societal failures of the time and then points to our own pathway in our modern society. Gives you something to think about.
University of New Mexico Press 2000