According to archaeologist Stephen H. Lekson, much of what we think we know about the Southwest has been compressed into conventions and classifications and orthodoxies. This book challenges and reconfigures these accepted notions by telling two parallel stories, one about the development, personalities, and institutions of Southwestern archaeology and the other about interpretations of what actually happened in the ancient past.
The site of a great Ancestral Pueblo center in the 11th and 12th centuries AD, the ruins in Chaco Canyon look like a city to some archaeologists, a ceremonial center to others. Chaco and the people who created its monumental great houses, extensive roads, and network of outlying settlements remain an enigma in American archaeology.
Canyon Spirits includes eighty-five black-and-white photos and accompanying essays that share the beauty of the canyons and mesas of the Colorado Plateau and the history of the resourceful inhabitants.