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Thread: The Tower Builders

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    Default The Tower Builders

    The native Americans are well known as early cliff dwellers. They are less well known as tower or castle builders. This series of images come from several locations where the early natives were building towers or sometimes multiple towers that were interconnected and could be loosely considered the functional equivalent of castles. The area has not been archaeologically examined in detail so no firm conclusions have been reached about the functionality of the structures, but casual observations reveal the following; many of the structures have openings that, during solstices and equinoxes, admit shafts of sunlight. Tracking the light, the people could have used the towers as “calendars” to indicate planting and harvest times. There are almost no ground level doors in the structures and the portholes and elevated vantage points give credibility to the theory that the towers were built for defense or refuge. Many of the structures are located at the heads of canyons where valuable springs may have needed protection. Jars of corn were found in many of the towers when they were first discovered so they obviously served as food storage facilities. The carbon dating of the wooden support beams in all of the structures I've pictured in this series indicate they were built in the period 1230-1275 AD



    Camera: E-3
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    Good shooting,
    English Bob

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    Default Re: The Tower Builders

    Good Shot, naturally, and the explanation is interesting/helpful. Thanks much! --Ken

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    Default Re: The Tower Builders

    From the structure and time frame, I assume this is from the Anasazi and taken around the Four Corners area. Great shot and explanation. I would love to go on a shooting safari around Mesa Verde, Chaco Canyon and Canyon de Chelly. I was there 25 years ago before I was really interested in photography.

    halfwright

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    Default Re: The Tower Builders

    Thank you.
    Good shooting,
    English Bob

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    Default Re: The Tower Builders

    This is in the Four Corners area. Specifically, it is Hovenweep National Monument that stradles the southern Colorado/Utah borders. Hovenweep includes a cluster of five major separate archeological sites, each one a separate village site in different canyons spanning a distance of 16 miles. The primary one can be reached by paved road. The other sites can only be reached by backpack trails or unpaved roads and I would recommend a high clearance vehicle if you choose to visit them. If the area has experienced rain recently, an AWD vehicle would be prudent when visiting the sites without paved roads. For reasons that completely escape me, the term "Anasazi" is now politically incorrect. It has been replaced by the term "ancestral Pueblo people." However named, that is the group responsible for building these structures.

    Given your close proximity to both this site and Mesa Verde, I'd think these sites would provide great opportunities for you to visit often for weekend photography and camping.
    Good shooting,
    English Bob

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    Default Re: The Tower Builders

    Very interesting, EB. A little hard to judge size here, how large would you say these structures are?
    Nate

    "There's only one rule in photography - never develop colour film in chicken noodle soup." - Freeman Patterson

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    Default Re: The Tower Builders

    I believe that "Anasazi" is Navajo for "Ancient Enemy" and the Hopi, who claim to be their decendants, resented the name.

    Political correctness has never been my strong suit.

    It is about 8 hours driving time to Mesa Verde. Maybe doable on a 3 day weekend.

    halfwright

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    Default Re: The Tower Builders

    Thank you for the information. Glad that you may be able to visit the area. If you're planning a family outing, Mesa Verde has plenty of water and free showers and nominally priced washer/dryer available. Hovenweep only has enough water for drinking. Campsites at both locations are excellent.
    Good shooting,
    English Bob

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    Default Re: The Tower Builders

    Both of the structures are substantial and were shaped to take advantage of the natural bedrock on which they are built. One is oval, the other is horseshoe shaped. The basic construction material is locally obtained sandstone blocks. Together, they had 16 rooms. The original wooden lintels are still in place in one tower. I didn't make an estimate of their physical dimensions while on site, but I would estimate now that their current height is about 30 feet though my estimates done from memory are often somewhat askew.
    Good shooting,
    English Bob

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