I made a pair of jigsaw puzzles, for those looking for a challenge and maybe for those suffering from some archaeological wanderlust. They're both photos I took at the Chimney Rock great house, a Chacoan site in southwest Colorado. Click on the photos below to get to the puzzles. You can adjust the puzzles to make them more challenging by adding more pieces!
Chimney Rock is the name of the double-spired natural feature in the photo below, and the great house was built in the 11th century AD on a high mesa top overlooking it. The beautiful stone masonry architecture marks it as a clear part of the Chaco Canyon regional system, even though it is over 90 miles north of Chaco. The high mesa top has no groundwater, and the high elevation makes it pretty inhospitable. Nonetheless, archaeologists think it was an important ceremonial site.
The Ancestral Puebloan people who built it were astronomers, keeping close track of the sun and the moon, and they discovered an astronomical phenomenon we now know as the lunar maximum. This is the end of the moon's complicated 18.6 year cycle. If you were standing at the great house on the night of the lunar maximum, you would see the moon rise between the two spires. Tree ring dating has shown that people cut the wood to build the great house just before the lunar maximum of 1076, and they renovated it right before the lunar maximum of 1093.
To learn more about Chimney Rock:
Lekson, Stephen H. 2015. The Chaco Meridian: One Thousand Years of Political and Religious Power in the Ancient Southwest. 2nd ed. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
Lister, Florence C. 2011. In the Shadow of the Rocks: Archaeology of the Chimney Rock District in Southwest Colorado.2nd ed. Durango, CO: Durango Herald Small Press.
Malville, J. McKim. 2008. A Guide to Prehistoric Astronomy in the Southwest. Boulder: Johnson Books.
Todd, Brenda K. “Chimney Rock, an Eleventh Century Chacoan Great House: Export, Emulation, Or Something Else?” Ph.D. diss., University of Colorado, 2012.