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Where did they go and why did they leave These are two of the many questions that boggle the minds of archaeologists researchers tourists and many others concerning one of the largest mysteries still existing today The Anasazi a culture now extinct for reasons unknown We take a journey through the past to the four corners of our country Colorado Utah Arizona and New Mexico the desert of the southwest A series of long snaking canyons cut hundreds of feet into the ancient sandstone Extraterrestrial landscape of towering cliffs and sculpted stone winds through these deserted plateaus Here a thousand years ago among these looming formations of rock and along the intermittent stream beds the Anasazi Navaho for ancient ones lived In the dry heat of the desert canyons evidence of their civilization is all around Their stone and mortar buildings granaries and ceremonial kivas sit abandoned largely untouched and decayed Pottery arrowheads grinding stones and many other century old artifacts lie in the stillness as if the inhabitants of these walls had picked up and left only weeks ago Petroglyphs and rock art drawn a millennium before and sheltered beneath rock overhangs give mute expression to a culture once rich in symbolism and spirituality The archaeological record shows little evidence of disease or war so what caused these people to abandon the place where they had lived and built a civilization over centuries A number of alternatives are possible death migration or aggregation into larger sites Cannibalism and climatic change give way to the most common explanations developed as well as witch craft and the raiding of their pueblos by Toltecs A few pictographs some slab-lined storage cists plus some ambiguous evidence turned up in an archaeological excavation of a cliff shelter suggest that a small community of Pre-Puebloan Basketmakers succeeded the hunter-gatherers in the canyon These people the earliest Anasazi presumably cultivated the uplands and canyon floors on a small scale As the
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