Mesa Verde and Environs

CLIFF DWELLINGS BUILT by the ancient Pueblo culture over a thousand years ago
in what is now the southwestern United States abound in that region. Perhaps the best
know, and best preserved are Chaco Canyon in northern New Mexico, and Mesa Verde in
southwest Colorado.
At its zenith, Chaco Canyon is thought to have supported a population of 50,000
people. It’s apartments extended to three stories, and the layout of the city appears to be
aligned with astronomical directions.
Mesa Verde, set hundreds of feet above the valley floor in a cave-like indentation in
the cliff face, likely supported several hundred people.
If a fiction writer supposed, as I did, that a hidden enclave of Anasazi (called Huastecs,
descendants of the Maya) remained in the 1870s, how could they survive in the violent
and changing world as the west was settled? They would have no knowledge of political
boundaries, of maps, of wars beyond their horizon, of firearms, or even of languages in
lands they would be forced to enter. As they were forced out, their journey back to their
ancient homeland in the Yucatan would be fraught with danger and an almost impossible
quest. These are the challenges that Shanni and her people faced as they struggled forth in
the Anasazi Quest series.


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