Moonrise over the Chaco World

Field Trip

Friday, September 28–Sunday, September 30, 2012, Trip is Full

Pueblo del Arroyo (3-D)Pueblo del Arroyo (3-D)Pueblo del Arroyo, Chaco Canyon, photograph by and courtesy of Jason S. Ordaz. Request 3-D glasses or build your own (PDF, 315 KB).Pueblo del Arroyo (3-D)Pueblo del Arroyo, Chaco Canyon, photograph by and courtesy of Jason S. Ordaz. Request 3-D glasses or build your own (PDF, 315 KB).

Ancient civilizations were fascinated by the cyclical motion of the heavens. The equinoxes and solstices were important milestones marking the beginning, midpoint, and end of each year, and they were celebrated with important ceremonies across the ancient world. The Ancestral Puebloans of the American Southwest were one of many ancient cultures that followed the movement of the sun, stars, moon, and other heavenly bodies and aligned their dwellings to the sky, built monuments to celestial events, and depicted them artistically in rock art.

Our field trip will take us on a journey through the Chacoan world of northwestern New Mexico. Dating to between the AD 800s and 1100s, the sites in Chaco Canyon grew to become some of the largest in North America, turning the canyon into an important pilgrimage destination for ancient Puebloan people from across the Southwest. Part of its influence derived from its stunning built environment, much of which was designed to predict and commemorate celestial events. We will visit significant archaeoastronomical sites at Chaco Culture National Historical Park and in outlying prehistoric communities at Aztec Ruins and Chimney Rock. Providing a fitting climax to the adventure, we will witness the full moon rise over the Great House Pueblo at Chimney Rock Archaeological Site.

SAR vice president John Kantner will be your guide during this special field trip. Dr. Kantner directs the Lobo Mesa Archaeological Research Project, which seeks to understand the Chaco Canyon phenomenon and its impact on the prehistory of the American Southwest. At Chaco, we will be met by park ranger G.B. Cornucopia, who will share his insight into the ancient observatories in the canyon.

The first evening will be spent at the Casa Blanca Inn in Farmington, NM, which features eight elegant rooms with king-size beds. The second night will be at the Springs Resort & Spa in Pagosa Springs, CO, which offers guests twenty-three outdoor geothermal pools for restorative relaxation along the banks of the San Juan River.

Registration: Payment must be paid in full at time of registration; sixty-day cancellation policy is in effect. Because of accommodation restrictions, this trip will be limited to sixteen participants.

Activity Level: Moderate, the trip incorporates several short walks to archaeological and rock art sites.

Cost (per person): $550 (double occupancy) and $800 (single occupancy), includes two nights lodging, all meals, round-trip transportation, lectures, guides, and entrance fees.

Trip Registration: To ensure that field trip registration is equitable, SAR will be using a lottery system. Please send your field trip requests (PDF, 728 KB) by mail—postmarked no later than March 9, 2012. Do not send any trip payment with your lottery registration. A drawing will then be held for each trip, and members will be notified of the results by March 23, 2012. Please note that memberships at or above the Galisteo level receive advance registration.

For more information, visit the Field Trips section.

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