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No. 46: Jul-Aug 1986

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Tree-toting extraordinaire

We quote first an abstract from an article appearing in American Antiquity.

"Identification of spruce (Picea) and fir (Abies) construction timbers at Chetro Ketl in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, implies that between A.D. 1031 and 1120 the Anasazi transported thousands of logs more than 75 km. These timbers came from high elevations, probably in mountains to the south (Mt. Taylor) and west (Chuska Mountains) where Chacoan interaction was well established. Survey in these mountains might disclose material evidence of these prehistoric logging activities."

The article proper contains even more startling statistics. The ten major pueblos in Chaco Canyon alone consumed an estimated 200,000 trees. The average primary beam was 22 cm in diameter, 5 m in length, and weighed about 275 kg (600 pounds). Since these logs show no transportation scars, they were probably carried rather than dragged or rolled. Such labor required a large, complex sociocultural system.

(Betancourt, Julio L., et al; "Prehistoric Long-Distance Transport of Construction Beams, Chaco Canyon, New Mexico," American Antiquity, 51:370, 1986.)

From Science Frontiers #46, JUL-AUG 1986. 1986-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987