S4 E41 — Admiring Ancient Sinaqua and Anasazi Cultures

As we began running out of steam along the cement sidewalk, me with my Trekking poles in anticipation of exploring Sedona in a couple of days, Jay turns to me with a puzzled look that came over his face after staring at Montezuma.  “They really got the shaft, didn’t they?”


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Hi and welcome to Sunday’s 41st Episode in Season 4 of  Our Disruptively Resilient Year” on this 15th day of May in the spring of 2022.

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll

    • @KnowLabs suite of 36 digital magazines, according to my analytics, grew from 12943 this week to 12982 organically grown followers.
    • Orange County Beach Towns 204 viewers stopped by the week before.




Ever searching for connections and patterns, I fell back in time while staring up at Montezuma’s Castle. 

Back to our adventure in Mesa Verde.

The ranger said to visit the museum and the Spruce House since we could visit without tickets or a guide. 

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Not until we hiked down to the Spruce House, did I begin to appreciate the severely shortened stopover. We climbed down into a Kiva and then I forgot about our time constraint.

Like I was transported into a different world, a different time. I could begin to use my imagination. 

Here at Montezuma’s Castle access to a similar experience could no longer be allowed.  And hadn’t for decades because of the growing deterioration.

It would make sense that just like in Colorado, if warring tribes or other threats challenged the ancient Sinaqua’s existence, they moved to the cliffs for protection. 

In Mesa Verde we barely had enough time to take in cliff dwellings that now appeared in the shadows across the canyons from a turnout. 

We stopped and photographed like so many other tourists before and after us — until the rain moved in. 

The centuries of inhabiting this area begins to sink in when you stand here next to our SUV with digital cameras in hand and gaze out across the canyon to the complex of early Anasazi cliff homes — what, some 1400 years before the first European explorers laid eyes on the territory – or even stepped on North American shores!

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Maybe Mesa Verde felt grander because, well, it is and you can climb through it and view it from across the mesa.  

I remember the Anasazi people — Ancestral Pueblo-ans — lived for roughly 700 years in Mesa Verde, having migrated from the Four Corners region. 

That’s three or four times longer than the United States has been in existence.

The heart of the Anasazi region spanned northeastern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico, southeastern Utah and southwestern Colorado —a land of forested mountain ranges, stream-dissected mesas, arid grasslands and occasional river bottoms.

So, here we are in Arizona and I wonder how the Sinaqua are related to the Anasazi, or if they are.

Because in the 12th or 13th century over a period of one or two generations the Anasazi vanished from that mesa. They left no written records, so their story is incomplete. 

Image Credit: Mesa Verde National Park

At Montezuma Castle the Southern Sinagua flourished in the Verde Valley, just as for thousands of years hunters and gatherers had preceding their period of agriculture and architecture.  Apparently they were influenced by the Hohokam and the Northern Sinagua in southern and central Arizona.  Hohokam moved north into the valley between 700 and 900 CE (Common Era) and grew corn, beans squash and cotton in irrigated canals.  

Northern Sinagua culture in Flagstaff featured above ground masonry dwellings something around 1125.  Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot villages reached their maximum size in the 1300s while remaining occupied for another 100 years.

Why did the Southern Sinagua, like the Anasazi, migrate away from this area by early 1400s? Both mysteries remain.  Both may have resulted from overpopulation, depletion of resources and diseases or territorial wars.

But it is the pueblos of Arizona and western New Mexico and those of the upper Rio Grande drainage that greeted the Spanish expeditions into the Southwest in the 16th century.

What began as a small trickle grew into a flood as several million Europeans and their descendants forced their ways upon the indigenous people of the New World over the centuries to come.

For four centuries, from 1492 — 1890, Europeans convinced the “heathens” they found, to adopt their ways.

In 1539, for instance, Franciscan Friar, Marcos de Niza, followed by Francisco Vasquez de Coronado’s Spanish expedition first came looking for trade routes to the orient and Seven Cities of Gold, as well as to colonize the New World.

Disappointment over the lack of physical riches soon was replaced by Spain’s legendary missionary zeal.

And the Spaniards were sorely tempted by the wealth of the American Indian souls ripe for conversion. 

So, by the end of the 16th century Juan de Onate officially had claimed this area for Spain.

It certainly seems clear, that while the Anasazi had abandoned the mesa before the Spaniards came, they had mastered community living — taking advantage of nature by building their homes under the protection of overhanging cliffs. 

Apparently, analysis of the ruins and excavated artifacts point to a civilization using rectangular shaped sandstone blocks held together with cement made from mud and water. 

It says  in the official park brochure that their rooms averaged about 42 square feet and housed two or three people. They stored crops in isolated rooms and in the upper levels.

Ironically, garbage heaps, from years of tossing over food and broken tools — knives, axes, awls, stone and bone scrapers, and pottery — have yielded the most knowledge about the Anasazi. 

I’d hate to think what story a lifetime of garbage would tell future archeologists about me!

But from their’s, we know they farmed beans, corn, and squash crops. They hunted deer, rabbits and squirrels and domesticated turkeys and dogs. 

Before they learned how to make pottery, they had mastered the art of basket making using a spiral twilled technique for hauling water, storing grain and perhaps even for cooking. 

And a thousand years before the Spanish conquistadors and missionaries arrived, around 550 A.D. pottery obsolesced basket weaving. They created pots, bowls, canteens, ladles, jars and mugs. 

They stored and cooked in them. Rituals and ceremonies incorporated them. 

They managed to produce a surplus of goods that gave them an advantage in a trading economy — stretching all the way to the Pacific coast, as evidenced by seashells.

In similar fashion, the Southern Sinagua mined salt deposited a few miles from present-day Camp Verde nearby, and traded salt widely throughout the Arizona region.

They also fashioned stone axes, knives and hammers and “man’s and metates” for grinding corn.  Beyond survival they Made bone awls and needles, cotton-woven clothes with shell ornaments together with turquoise mixed with a local red stone called argillite.

Back in Colorado, about five hundred years after their first pots appeared — by 1100 to 1300 – the Anasazi entered the Mesa’s classic period when about several thousand tribal members concentrated in compact villages with many rooms, kivas, and round towers seen today. 

We know more about their history than we do about the Southern Sinagua.   Most of the Anasazi cliff dwellings were build from 1190 to 1270, ranging in size from one-room house to 200-room villages — Cliff Palace. 

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

With a kiva — a Hopi term for the ceremonial room — underground chambers in which they performed healing rites, prayed for rain, luck in hunting or for good crops in the upcoming seasonal harvest. 


Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

And kivas may have been the community center where weavers and potters gathered to practice their craft. A small hole in the floor, called a sipapu, is the symbolic entrance to the underworld. 

But, they lived in the cliff dwellings for less than 100 years. By 1300 Mesa Verde had become a ghost town. Why?

At Montezuma Castle, the Southern Sinagua reached their maximum size in the 1300s and were occupied for another century, until they too migrated away in the early 1400s.

Probably due to a draught, scientists theorize. Crops may have failed. Or after literally hundreds of years of intensive land use the soils, the forest and their animals may have become depleted resources. 

Or maybe the political and social climate made it intolerable for the tribe to remain. 

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

What remains today at Mesa Verde in Colorado are three major cave dwellings on Chapin Mesa. The Spruce Tree House. Cliff Palace. Balcony House. Driving the loops of Ruins Road from canyon rim vantage points can see other dwellings.

But whatever the reasons, they traveled south into what is now Arizona and New Mexico becoming reacquainted with relatives already settled there, right?

As we already found out in Arizona, some of the Pueblo people and other tribes in the region are direct descendants of the cliff dwelling Anasazi. 

And we already know that those Pueblo tribes chafed under Spanish occupation, especially in New Mexico – culminating in the 1680 Pueblo Rebellion. 

“Are you alright?” The question Emma the Baroness asked snapped me out of my memory of the Anasazi cliff dwellers. 

Oh, yeah I told her and asked if she too remembered our Mesa Verde adventure?

Sure how could I not was her answer.

As we began running out of steam along the cement sidewalk, me with my Trekking poles in anticipation of exploring Sedona in a couple of days, Jay turns to me with a puzzled look that came over his face after staring at Montezuma.

“They really got the shaft, didn’t they?” Jay says rhetorically.

“The Tau of Steves: What You Don’t Know Could Fill a Book”

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“5”  Steve Jobs, (1955 – 2011): “A habit has served you well for a very long time, and yet you can do much better. This you’ll find out as you make the switch to less costly and more fulfilling options. Eventually, the new choice will come easily to you.” Pisces

We concluded the three-year examination of how bits of wisdom changed — during the “normal” pre-pandemic year compared to the pandemic year, and more recently to the paradoxically normal year. 

Season Four continues now within domestic and global chaos.

Previously in Season Four, The Disruptively Resilient Year

S4 E40Don’t Bet Against Montezuma or the Yavapai-Apache Nation; S4 E39Closing in on Uncle Billy’s Lynx Creek Mining Claim; S4 E38Billy and Buckey Blow My Brain in Whiskey Row’s Palace 

Related from Season Three, the Paradoxically Normal Year

S3 E41What’s Up with Telluride or Humboldt County or Bodega Bay?; S3 E40How Stealing Your Sign Led Me to a Nobel Prize; S3 E39Ready for Your Big Leap Forward?; S3 E38Sliding on a Super Slippery Slope to 2nd or 3rd Cousins 

Related from Season Two, the Pandemic Year

S2 E41A Pandemic End to Real Estate and Consulting?; S2 E40The Profound Impact of the Pandemic on Nouns ; S2 E39The Best Tau for the Pandemic Year, Don’t You Agree? ; S2 E38What Should You Do If You Stumble Across Loaded Information?

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E41The Dream Was Over, Long Live the Dream; S1 E40Nothing to See Here, Keep Moving On; S1 E39What’s Up with Facebook?; S1 E38Day 38 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E37Day 37 of My 1-Year Experiment


“4”  Steve Zahn, 51: “The enemy of communication is noise. To increase the clarity of your signal, you need to eliminate everything that is not the message. Being succinct and direct will earn you respect and status.” Scorpio

I get your message and will work on editing down what isn’t relevant about these two ancient people who seemed to flourish around the same time and in the same manner.

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

Today’s Holiday Birthday: 

Love in many forms will fortify and support you. You’ll find yourself on a mission so important, you’ll tune out the rest of the world and anything distracting from your goal. You’ll push past the point when others would have given up. Good fortune rains on you as you reach the mile markers at extraordinary distances.

So mile markers and extraordinary distances, could be twisted to mean our roadtrip only enhances to love that has flourished between Emma the Baroness and me.  I like to think so, even if today’s birthday isn’t one either of us can claim.

“4”  Steve Kerr, 54: “Morning brings a strong inclination toward the things that will make your life better. Evening brings a strong inclination toward ease. So, what can you do to make a desired behavior easier to accomplish, no matter what time it is?” Libra

Hmm.  This is one of those questions that requires a little solitude while pondering the answer.

“5”  Steve Aoki, 41; Steven Spielberg, 74: “It’s a long way to the end of a project, and trying to extend your mind all the way there might produce feelings of overwhelm and anxiety. Instead, think about the next 10 minutes, and then the 10 minutes after that.” Sagittarius

Unless I’m misreading these two, aren’t they in direct contradiction?  This TauBit is one I subscribe to the most.  Just power up this MacBook Air.  Put aside the feelings which come when you consider the crippling magnitude and focus instead on what’s directly in front of you to make incremental progress.

“5”  Steve Jobs, (1955 – 2011): “A habit has served you well for a very long time, and yet you can do much better. This you’ll find out as you make the switch to less costly and more fulfilling options. Eventually, the new choice will come easily to you.” Pisces

I’m associating your TauBit with this very long and by extension very, very long passion project.  I’ve mastered a template which greases the whole process along efficiently, but I’m feeling twinges of pivot opportunities.  Maybe this vacation serves as a catalyst into something else entirely which I’ll find less costly and more fulfilling. I’m looking forward to an easier decision.


    • “Here, Right Matters: An American Story” by Alexander Vindman. “We’d long been confused by the president’s policy of accommodation and appeasement of Russia, the United States’ most pressing major adversary. Russia’s president Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, seizing the Crimean Peninsula, attacking its industrial heartland, the Donbass, from the capital, Kyiv. By 2019, little had changed, Russian military and security forces and their proxy separatists continued to occupy the Donbass. The biggest change was to Ukraine’s importance as a bulwark against Russian aggression weeks earlier, the White House had abruptly put a hold on nearly four hundred million dollars.” 
    • David Enrich begins his book with a suicide in “Deutsche Bank Dark Towers: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and an Epic Trail of Destruction” and then meticulously details the bank’s Russian money laundering operations. Deutsche’s Russian business surged after revenues had fallen 50% due to the 2008 financial crisis. Putin’s Russia, poured in to Deutsche from deals it did with VTB Bank, linked to the Kremlin’s intelligence apparatus. Deutsche positioned itself as a crucial cog in “The Laundromat” by doing what couldn’t be done — processing cross-border transactions for banks that were too small  and didn’t have offices outside their home countries.
    • “Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth, and the Trials of American Democracy” by Jamie Raskin recalls one tragedy no parent should endure — the suicide of his son — and then a second tragedy at almost the same time — the insurrection on January 6th 2021, that terrified he and his congressional peers who were tasked by the Constitution to routinely oversee the orderly transfer of power from one former president to the duly elected new President. 
    • “A Warning” by Anonymous (Miles Taylor) written prior to the January 6th Insurrection as an insider’s account documenting how frequently the former President’s behavior and rage without any “guard rails” showed just how far he would go to win the next election at any cost while spinning lies and misinformation on top of each other.  
    • “Peril” by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa provides anecdotes, stories and inside reporting documenting the controversial last days of Donald Trump’s presidency, as well as the presidential transition and early presidency of Joe Biden. 
    • “Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Nationalist Uprising,” by Joshua Green tracks the money behind the scenes leading up to the 2016 presidential election and the growing influence of Steve Bannon’s network of extreme nationalists.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate