April 24, 27, 28, & May 1, 2019.
Last spring we visited Mesa Verde National Park, and Bandelier and Navajo National Monuments. These sites contain prehistoric dwellings of the ancestral Pueblo peoples. I’m combining the three sites into one post.
The desert area surrounding Four Corners, where Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona meet, is one of my favorite places to visit. Here in the high Colorado Plateau, history and pre-history are exposed in stark beauty. You don’t have to be an expert to appreciate the area. The tales told by each of these sites can be enjoyed even by casual observers.
The first people to arrive here came 12K years ago. The last ice age was ending and the environment was more lush then. They hunted large mammals and left behind spearheads and atlatl throwing sticks as evidence they had been here.
The population grew. Big ideas, the same ideas occurring to people all over the world, helped these folks survive. Atlatls were replaced by bows and arrows. Weaving was used to make sandals, textiles, and baskets. Pottery was developed and refined. Animals were domesticated. And crops were planted and irrigated.
And, just as other people around the globe, these folks personified and deified the forces they could not explain or harness. They didn’t even suspect that their own big ideas were the neatest things happening. Why didn’t any of those ancient cultures have a god of cool ideas?