Anthropology •  Archaeology •  Photography •  Southwest and American Indians

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Canyon Spirits: Beauty and Power in the Ancestral Puebloan World

Stephen H. Lekson
John Malville
Photographs by John Ninnemann

The beauty of the canyons and mesas of the Colorado Plateau and the lives of the resourceful people that once occupied these now nearly empty places are the subject of the eighty-five black-and-white photographs and accompanying essays in Canyon Spirits. John Ninnemann's photographs of Chaco, Mesa Verde, Hovenweep, Cedar Mesa, Grand Gulch, and the San Juan River provide the visual context for Stephen Lekson's descriptions of the early Puebloan cultures of the Southwest and J. McKim Malville's consideration of the power of celestial events in the lives of these people. Together they provide a non-traditional, provocative, and visually exciting approach to Southwest archaeology.


John L. Ninnemann is former dean of the School of Natural and Behavioral Sciences, Fort Lewis College, Durango, Colorado.

Stephen H. Lekson is associate professor of anthropology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and his most recent books are Salado Archaeology and Chaco Meridian.

J. McKim Malville is professor emeritus of astrophysics and planet sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, and is the author of Ancient Cities, Sacred Skies.


"The book is a bonne bouche, a mouthful to whet your appetite to know more about canyon country and the beautiful mysterious ruins that lie strewn across it. The book sets out to explore the spirit of the country and the prople that lived there more than a millennium ago. It's underpinned with clear archaeological information and a few delicious theories."


Durango Herald, CO

"Taken together the photographs and essays in Canyon Spirits provide a non-taditional, provacative, and visually exciting approach to Southwest archaeology."


"If you're jonesing for a dose of deserts and ancient Indian history, Canyon Spirits is a great way to do some armchair traveling and learning."


Boulder Daily Camera

". . . inviting new book. . . Canyon Spirits is a fine collection not to be missed by even those with only a passing interest in Soutwestern archaeology."


"An artistic volume that not only informs the public about prehistoric pueblo sites and the ancient peoples of the greater Southwest but also generally succeeds in conveying a feeling of the beauty and power of their presence in those places."


Missouri Archaeological Society

"Both the haunting black-and-white photographs and the informed essays in this volume bring an immediacy to the world of ancient Puebloans."


Reference & Research Book News

" Canyon Spirits contains a large number of beautiful photographs taken by award-winning photographer John C. Ninnemann. The images show the beauty of Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Canyon and other historic sites."


Utah Historical Quarterly

11 x 8.5 in. 128 pages 100 duotones