Why Did Anasazi Create Chimney Rock?


If you’ve never seen a 3-D view like this, you’ll love Google Earth 5.  You’re in a plane 10,000’ above Pagosa Springs, Colorado.  It’s night… you can barely see Chimney Rock and the ancient Anasazi great house and kiva built 1000 years ago (lower left).  Once every 18 years, the rising moon shines between these rock spires and onto the great kiva for several days over a two-year period.  What an amazing event…!

Oops, I forgot – I put our moon in…


1000 Years Ago…

The ancient Anasazi decided to construct Chimney Rock as a sacred worship place.  The celebration: if they could catch the moon where it rose on its farthest northern trajectory in 1076 AD, they would witness a ceremonial event unlike any available in nearby regions.  Moonrise between these spires was cause for immense and everlasting celebration.

So, they built the great house in 1076 on this lonely ridge near what would become Pagosa Springs, Colorado.  One can imagine elders and builders according their beloved gods dignity and reverence from such an exciting event. 

With time, excitement did not wane… calendrical methods predicted another event in 1094 AD.  So, they continued to build in preparation – completing the kiva in 1093 for the 1094 standstill.


We don’t know why Anasazi left Chimney Rock after 3rd standstill in 1111; by 1125 AD, they were gone…


Chaco – Chimney Rock Tour in Google Earth

We added this brief explanation of Chimney Rock as a refinement on our Chaco-Chimney Rock GE Tour.  You have already seen our tour to celebrate lunar standstills; tell us what you think with an email (address below) …

A recent multi room greathouse excavation in June, 2009, provided exciting new evidence to Dr. Steve Lekson, Curator, University of Colorado Museum of Natural History, and crew. 


Anasazi Adventure Tours

Dr. Joe Bridwell is an award-winning fine art photographer whose interest centers on photography, natural landscapes, and awesome beauty of the Four Corners region.  As he wanders this great land taking photos, it’s inevitable he would begin to ‘think like an Anasazi…’ Many of their ancient, highly-photogenic rituals and buildings are often in places hidden from today’s average tourist. 

He has begun to think of their exploits almost as a magic potion.  Where was the water? How did they get food? When and where did they migrate between 500-1285 AD?  What did they really leave as clues so we could understand their culture and heritage?

Can he peacefully access and show their environment, little changed since their sudden departure, to create dramatic fine art photography?


Google Earth Tours, our Chaco-Chimney Rock GE Tour in particular, are a truly exciting way to show interested photographers, viewers, and potential clients:

1.       Where we take digital adventure tours?

2.     What our amazing photo ops are?

3.     How to return and create fine art photos?

4.     How to create their own exciting GE tours?


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