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Location: TUCSON, Arizona, United States

Sunday, June 14, 2015


While in Sedona AZ last month celebrating our anniversary, we visited these "Palatki Ruins:" the remnant of a two-story cliffside 6-room dwelling built by people who inhabited the Verde Valley in what is now north-central Arizona from the 9th to the 12th century. Note that fallen rock in the lower left section was simply incorporated in the foundation-layer. Nothing was done to clear or level any part of the site, either. What struck me was that, in this era, the people of what is now western and central France were building Mont St Michel monastery and Chartres cathedral. I am still thinking about what might account for this vast, even stark, contrast in skills from tools to architecture. What do you imagine?


Blogger Roger Peskett said...

John, Is your question about why Europe had developed so far beyond the hunter-gatherer phase at that point? (E.g. because of domestication of plants and animals.) Clearly a large surplus beyond mere subsistence goods is necessary to have built the early European cathedrals. Something that strikes me is that one could find similar stark contrasts between the tools and skills employed in building different contemporary modern structures, where there is not the same isolation as there was between 12th century communities in Arizona and France. Roger Peskett.

12:34 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Domesticated aninmals to increase food production; even though the indigenous people in the SW were farmers, their cultivation was all by hand. Another difference is their relationship to the mystery of life and awareness of self and how it is reflected in their behavior and exploration of nature. Air, earth, and water are held as sacred in a deeply practical and functional way the fabric of life and the manner of living is woven into that context, whereas the cathedral depicts nature as separate; something to be built on top of rather than integrated with. There is no way to investigate how the ancient people felt about their conditions of living in the SW but incorporating their dwellings into the landscape does give some insight into their relationship to it. This seems to be their place in history, not as explorers, but as stewards - humanity needs both.

9:02 AM  

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