Chaco Canyon: Ancient Mysteries and Histories with Marc Callis

Chaco Canyon: Ancient Mysteries and Histories with Marc Callis


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The American Southwest abounds with spectacular canyons, but one, in particular, stands out not just for its natural beauty, but also for its rich cultural and historical significance. Meet Chaco Canyon, one of only 11 culturally-based UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the US. In this conversation, we will examine civilizations of the North American Southwest and Mexico, specifically how important long-distance connections predating the Spanish by centuries shaped the cultures of the ancient Southwest.

Set along the banks of a remote wash in the Southern San Juan River basin of New Mexico, and even today accessible only by dirt road, Chaco Canyon harbors the vestiges of a civilization whose origins date back to the time when the Old Medina of Fez was just getting started, and whose major construction ceased decades before Richard the Lionheart of Robin Hood fame ascended to the throne of England. The people of Chaco Canyon constructed colossal structures known as "Great Houses" -- the largest of which, Pueblo Bonito, rivaled the Roman Colosseum in size and laid a system of roads and outlier sites that spread out over an area the size of Indiana. Then, as the second quarter of the twelfth century dawned, they mysteriously ceased building entirely.

This conversation will explore a place that is arguably the greatest center of civilization in the entire history of the Pre-Columbian North American Southwest. We will delve into their society, architecture, and art. We will discuss what archaeologists have dubbed "The Chaco Interaction Sphere," and explore the issue of whether or not this cultural area might properly be termed an "Empire." We will cover the Chacoans' interactions with the other peoples of the Southwest, as well their connections with the great centers of civilization of Mesoamerica far to the south. And finally, we will attempt to answer perhaps the greatest questions of all -- why, after constructing such monumental architecture, did they leave it all behind? And having done that, where did the descendants of the architects of Chaco go?

Led by a historian and archaeologist, Marc Callis, this interactive seminar will introduce participants to the mysteries of Chaco Canyon. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased knowledge of the history, art, and architecture of this important site.

Trained as a historian and archaeologist, Marc has worked at history museums and community colleges all over the US. His historical interests, which have led him to author numerous historical articles, academic and popular, for publications in the US and Europe, range from architectural history, to the Spanish Empire, to Mesoamerica and the pre-Hispanic North American Southwest. His current historical project is a book about the Presidio (i.e., old Spanish fort) San Agustin del Tucson in Tucson, Arizona. Additionally, Marc likes to shoot photographs, paint, build models, and write cosmicist fantasy in the tradition of HP Lovecraft. In 2017 he published his first collection of stories and novellas entitled "The Esoteric Order of Dagon."

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 7 reviews
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(7)
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Cynthia Donaher (Heber, US)
Chaco Canyon: Ancient Mysteries

I very much enjoyed the lecture on Chaco Canyon with Marc Callis. I have visited Chaco a few times and always come away with many questions, unanswered. Marc clarified many of these questions, and inspired more! It is an incredible achievement that demonstrates the complexities of our ancient pueblo societies. I believe that the more we understand , and respect the history of our indigenous peoples, we will be more inspired to protect our environment and their sacred lands. l look forward to more lectures that give us insight into our ancient past!

N
Nancy (Ashburn, US)
Chaco Canyon Seminar

Marc is clearly passionate about his subject; I enjoy hearing that in his presentation as much as the breadth and depth of the content. Thoroughly engaging!

S
Sandra Mittelsteadt (Bakersfield, US)
Outstanding Course

Loved this presentation and the way Marc integrated this topic with the climate

M
Mary Ann Morley (Chesterfield, US)
Interesting overview of the Chacoan culture.

Marc is a very enthusiastic and knowledgeable speaker very interesting topic with ties to mesoamerican cultures. Thought provoking. Marc is very willing to answer questions.

C
Carl Ballard (Pittsburgh, US)
Recommended

If you have any interest in the ancient ruins and culture of the Southwest US you should check out Marc's webinars. He does an excellent job of combining his extensive knowledge with excellent images. I always enjoy.

Customer Reviews

Based on 7 reviews
100%
(7)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
C
Cynthia Donaher (Heber, US)
Chaco Canyon: Ancient Mysteries

I very much enjoyed the lecture on Chaco Canyon with Marc Callis. I have visited Chaco a few times and always come away with many questions, unanswered. Marc clarified many of these questions, and inspired more! It is an incredible achievement that demonstrates the complexities of our ancient pueblo societies. I believe that the more we understand , and respect the history of our indigenous peoples, we will be more inspired to protect our environment and their sacred lands. l look forward to more lectures that give us insight into our ancient past!

N
Nancy (Ashburn, US)
Chaco Canyon Seminar

Marc is clearly passionate about his subject; I enjoy hearing that in his presentation as much as the breadth and depth of the content. Thoroughly engaging!

S
Sandra Mittelsteadt (Bakersfield, US)
Outstanding Course

Loved this presentation and the way Marc integrated this topic with the climate

M
Mary Ann Morley (Chesterfield, US)
Interesting overview of the Chacoan culture.

Marc is a very enthusiastic and knowledgeable speaker very interesting topic with ties to mesoamerican cultures. Thought provoking. Marc is very willing to answer questions.

C
Carl Ballard (Pittsburgh, US)
Recommended

If you have any interest in the ancient ruins and culture of the Southwest US you should check out Marc's webinars. He does an excellent job of combining his extensive knowledge with excellent images. I always enjoy.