Saturday, November 14, 2009

Canyon de Chelly

This photo was taken by E.S. Curtis in 1904. This was De Chelly canyon before any of the Tamarisk, Russian olive, and Cottonwoods were in the canyon. The residents of the canyon typically had two homes, one in the canyon and one of the mesa top. There are really old trails that go to the top of the mesa. Some of the trails still have the original hand and toe holds from the Anasazi (Ancient Puebloans) people. The Hopi and Navajo came in after the Ancient Puebloans and inhabited some of their dwellings. I am not an Archeologist but I have heard from my co-workers that most of the Navajos will not enter cliff dwellings or burial sites. It's kind of weird working with our crew and Archeoligists. In most cases, myself and crew will discover artifacts that have been covered for years. Most in the form of rock art, ancient hand and toe holds, and surface sites. My co-worker Anderson just discovered an ancient rock art panel just after we had cleared the trees away from the walls. The panel had horses, antelope, and other figures that were in perfect condition. An etching on a wall for nearly 1000 years still blows me away. The Archeologists had not ever seen it, which didn't surprise me. Most of the sites on the Colorado Plateau are covered with vegetation now. They believe that the Indians used a lot of wood for building and heating, making the mesa tops very spare. Tess