Carved from cliffs and canyons, buried in desert rock and sand are pieces of the ancient past that beckon thousands of visitors every year to the American Southwest. Whether Montezuma Castle or a chunk of pottery, these traces of prehistory also bring archaeologists from all over the world, and their work gives us fresh insight and information on an almost day-to-day basis. Who hasn't dreamed of boarding a time machine for a trip into the past?
This book invites us to step into a Hohokam village with its sounds of barking dogs, children's laughter, and the ever-present grinding of mano on metate to produce the daily bread. Here, too, readers will marvel at the skills of Clovis elephant hunters and touch the lives of other ancestral people known as Mogollon, Anasazi, Sinagua, and Salado. Descriptions of long-ago people are balanced with tales about the archaeologists who have devoted their lives to learning more about "those who came before." Trekking through the desert with the famed Emil Haury, readers will stumble upon Ventana Cave, his "answer to a prayer." With amateur archaeologist Richard Wetherill, they will sense the peril of crossing the flooded San Juan River on the way to Chaco Canyon. Others profiled in the book are A. V. Kidder, Andrew Ellicott Douglass, Julian Hayden, Harold S. Gladwin, and many more names synonymous with the continuing saga of southwestern archaeology.
This book is an open invitation to general readers to join in solving the great archaeological puzzles of this part of the world. Moreover, it is the only up-to-date summary of a field advancing so rapidly that much of the material is new even to professional archaeologists. Lively and fast paced, the book will appeal to anyone who finds magic in a broken bowl or pueblo wall touched by human hands hundreds of years ago. For all readers, these pages offer a sense of adventure, that "you are there" stir of excitement that comes only with making new discoveries about the distant past.