Elevation: 6,236 ft.
Ecological niche: Semi-arid desert stepp
Ownership: National Park Service, National Historic Park, US Department of the Interior
Location: South of Nageezi, NM
Late September, 2002
I left the talk we had about Chaco Canyon thinking about the centralization of civilization versus leading small, dispersed livelihoods. Is it possible to live in a centralized way without hierarchies of power cropping up? The architecture at Chaco represents to me this transition between settling en mass versus sustaining small familial settlements, or nomadic situations. The things we can accomplish in large groups are amazing—or at least ostentatious—but at what costs do these feats of civilization come? Is small-scale subsistence less impressive because its record is ephemeral, not monumental?