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By: Paul Andersen, Aspen Journalism 

November 3, 2014

CHACO CANYON – The roads radiating out from Chaco Canyon stretch out across mesa tops toward distant mountains. These roads, which average 30 feet wide, were highways of foot travel for people who had neither the wheel nor the horse.

The Chacoans built their roads over a thousand years ago to bring people to their great houses for ceremonial rites and community gatherings. These roads also enabled the Chacoans to haul timbers for construction, bringing enormous logs hefted by human labor from the Chuska Mountains, 50 miles away.

Today, these roads are intersected with access routes to drill rigs as the oil and gas industry penetrates the Southwest and explores energy resources where ancient footprints still mark the ground.

I visited Chaco Canyon for the first time two weeks ago and was awed by the scope and scale of this ancient place of communion, trade and spirituality. The Great Houses are testimonials to the ingenious engineering and labor of stone-age people who stacked rock with artistic flare and structural integrity.

Read more here.

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