Chimney Rock National Monument

There are a lot of rocks out there that look like different things. For Chimney Rock it is just the same. It is a bunch of rocks stacked together that look like a Chimney. This is located in the San Juan Mountains in southeastern Colorado. “Chimney Rock covers seven square miles and preserves 200 ancient homes and ceremonial buildings, some of which have been excavated for viewing and exploration: a Great Kiva, a Pit House, a Multi-Family Dwelling, and a Chacoan-style Great House Pueblo. Chimney Rock is the highest in elevation of all the Chacoan sites, at about 7,000 feet above sea level. From the base, the hike to the top is just a half mile and it’s rewarded with dramatic 360-degree views of Colorado and New Mexico.” (https://www.chimneyrockco.org/)

There is a distinctive group of people that inhabited the area between 500 and 750 AD. Pit houses were the common way of living. They have stone and ceramic artifacts. What is interesting is that this area was a place that exceeded 1000 people which isn’t quite normal yet. Around the end of this group of people there were changes to be more like the pueblo 1 era of people. Lithic tools don’t change but ceramics change a lot. “The Hohokam (in Arizona) and the Mogollon (New Mexico, Arizona, and Chihuahua) were cultures contemporaneous to Chaco/Anasazi and were developing distinctive material cultures, village life, and adopting large-scale agriculture.”(https://www.chimneyrockco.org/puebloan-resources/chimney-rock-history/)

There are theories about why the population started to grow, “Chimney Rock Great House It was once believed that a large population began to appear around Chimney Rock during the Late Pueblo I period and gradually moved up from villages in the drainages, eventually settling on Chimney Rock Mesa.” There is evidence to support that this theory may have happened but it is weak. It is more likely that the area was more just occupied and people didn’t travel to much.

“The late part of the period, known as the Chimney Rock phase (A.D. 1025 to A.D. 1075) is notable for the widespread occurrence of small habitations and the appearance of Chaco-related great house sites. Most communities continue to consist of widely dispersed homesteads and hamlets, although these develop a nucleus.” Agriculture started to become more popular. Long distance trade also started to pick up. The Chaco culture was the larger cultures during this time period. “This culture (well known for sites like Cahokia) featured agriculture, large earthworks, ceremonial centers, an extensive trade network, and showed evidence of social inequality characteristic of a chiefdom.”

“One of the most compelling questions about the occupation of Chimney Rock is who was here. The varying architectural styles of the structures at Chimney Rock indicate the people had diverse origins and family structures and were heavily influenced by Chacoan Culture.”

Places like these and so many other need to be more researched so we can get a more accurate knowledge about the people of the past and the present. And how we can help more in the future too.

Chimney Rock National Monument | Colorado.com
Chimney Rock National Monument - Official Site
Chimney Rock National Historic Site and Visitors Center ...

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