Awesome Science

Explore Mesa Verde/Chaco Ruins Pt1

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript



Series Code: ASB

Program Code: ASB000114A

00:04 And comes from the DVD series, "Awesome Science"
00:09 [music playing]
00:10 NOAH JUSTICE: In the southwest part
00:12 of the United States in an area known as Four Corners,
00:15 there lies three different regions where
00:17 ancient dwellings can be found.
00:20 Known as Mesa Verde National Park, Chaco ruins,
00:24 and the Aztec ruins, these amazing archaeological
00:27 locations can be toured and explored by your whole family.
00:31 But as you view these locations, questions arise.
00:35 Who made them?
00:36 Where did these people come from?
00:38 And where did they go?
00:40 Biological evolution maintains that humans evolved over
00:44 several hundred thousand years descending from apes.
00:47 And only about 5,000 to 10,000 years ago
00:50 did civilizations arise where cities like these were built.
00:55 But there are big challenges with this view.
00:59 According to the genealogies in the Bible,
01:01 man was created by God about 6,000 years ago.
01:05 Then, a global flood wiped out everyone
01:08 except for Noah and his family.
01:11 The earth was repopulated over the last 4,350 years.
01:16 As the population grew, it diversified
01:18 into different people groups that we observe today.
01:22 Evolutionists like Darwin and Haeckel
01:24 often claimed that some races evolved at different speeds
01:28 from others, and some are more favored than others.
01:31 This view has caused genocide of millions in this century alone.
01:37 Plus, evolutionists have a very difficult time
01:39 explaining how the 7,000 different languages developed
01:43 all over the world.
01:46 Originally, there was one language.
01:48 But we also learned that distinct languages came by God
01:52 at the Tower of Babel through a supernatural act
01:55 of God's judgment.
01:57 Which one is true, and which one do we trust?
02:01 All this and more next on "Awesome Science."
02:05 [music playing]
02:10 "Awesome Science" takes you on a field trip
02:13 to some of the most amazing geologic and historic sites
02:16 around the world, where we use the Bible as our history
02:20 guidebook to interpret what we see,
02:22 that the Bible can be trusted and empirical science falls
02:26 in line with the biblical account of creation,
02:28 the fall, and the flood.
02:31 Science, it's awesome.
02:38 [music playing]
02:44 In the southwest part of the United
02:46 States is an incredible landscape
02:48 of canyons, mountain chains, and high plateaus.
02:53 Among these astounding geologic locations,
02:56 remnants of past civilizations can be discovered.
03:00 One of these regions is Mesa Verde National Park.
03:04 Mesa Verde is located in southwestern Colorado, midway
03:08 between Cortez and Mancos, off of us I-60.
03:13 It occupies 52,485 acres near the Four Corners region
03:19 of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah.
03:24 It contains more than 4,000 sites and 600 cliff dwellings.
03:28 It is the largest archaeological preserve in the United States.
03:33 Mesa Verde is Spanish for green table.
03:37 And looking around, it's easy to see how the area got its name.
03:41 Through much of the year, the mesas
03:43 are full of green trees, brush, and flowers.
03:48 The park is best known for structures
03:50 such as Cliff Palace, thought to be the largest cliff
03:53 dwelling in North America.
03:56 In addition to the cliff dwellings,
03:58 there are many structures on the plateau to explore.
04:02 These habitations are thought to have
04:04 been occupied by ancient natives called the Anasazi about
04:08 1,000 years ago.
04:09 But for some mysterious reason, the people living
04:12 here left, never to return.
04:15 Perhaps they discovered a nice beach
04:17 on the coast of California and started a coffee shop.
04:21 Well, probably not, but you never know.
04:24 It wasn't until the late 1800s that they
04:26 were rediscovered by trappers.
04:29 Then, in 1906, the National Park was established
04:32 by President Theodore Roosevelt. The road through the park
04:36 is very scenic, but it also has sharp curves and steep grades.
04:41 The guided tours are a fantastic way
04:43 to explore the cliff dwellings.
04:45 But keep in mind, they may not be the best terrain
04:48 for little kids.
04:50 Still, there are plenty of sights on the mesas to explore.
04:54 The park is open all year.
04:56 But the best times are in the spring and fall
04:59 when the weather is cooler.
05:01 Mesa Verde was originally set up as an archaeological preserve.
05:05 So hiking within the park is restricted to the six marked
05:08 and paved trails.
05:10 All the trails vary in length and level of ability.
05:13 Some are seven miles long, some are steep,
05:16 and some require climbing ladders
05:18 to get into the dwellings.
05:20 Most of all, this park offers some great insight
05:23 about early man's expansion across the landscape
05:27 after the global flood.
05:33 There are about 600 cliff dwellings preserved
05:36 at Mesa Verde National Park.
05:38 Structures range in size from one room storage units
05:42 to villages of more than 150 rooms.
05:46 They're built near springs, so the people
05:48 living there had access to water.
05:51 The naturally-enclosed sites also
05:53 offered protection against both the elements and intruders.
05:57 Even though there are 600 cliff dwellings,
06:00 only four are accessible to the public.
06:03 On the southeast side of the park is the Balcony House.
06:08 With 40 rooms, it is considered a medium-sized cliff dwelling.
06:12 Only 10 sites in the park have more.
06:16 The Balcony House is a good example
06:18 of how room and passageway construction in the alcove
06:21 evolved through time as residents worked to improve
06:25 their living quarters.
06:27 Today, the tunnel, passageways, and modern 32-foot entrance
06:31 ladder are what makes it the most adventurous cliff dwelling
06:34 tour in the park.
06:36 Another cliff dwelling you can tour is the Long House.
06:40 It is considered the second largest dwelling in the park.
06:43 It can be reached by the steep, winding road following
06:47 the historic fire trail for 12 miles.
06:50 The Spruce Tree House is the third largest cliff dwelling
06:53 in the park.
06:54 It was constructed around AD 1211 and 1278.
06:59 The dwelling contains about 130 rooms and eight kivas,
07:03 or ceremonial chambers, built into a natural alcove measuring
07:08 216 feet at its greatest width and 89 feet at its greatest
07:12 depth.
07:14 It is thought to have been home for about 60 to 80 people.
07:18 This cliff dwelling was discovered in 1888
07:21 when two local ranchers chanced upon it while searching
07:24 for stray cattle.
07:26 A large tree, which they identified as a Douglas spruce,
07:29 later called Douglas fir, was found
07:31 growing from the front of the dwelling to the mesa top.
07:34 The Step House is unique because there
07:36 may be evidence of two separate occupations in the same site.
07:41 A modified basket maker site, dating to AD 626,
07:46 if this is to be trusted, is situated between the old stone
07:50 steps on the south and the large boulders on the north.
07:53 The rest of the alcove contains a masonry
07:56 Pueblo, dating to the classic Pueblo times,
07:59 dated at about AD 1226.
08:03 At over 6,000 feet, Cliff Palace is
08:05 one of the major icons of Mesa Verde.
08:10 This is the largest cliff dwelling in the park.
08:13 Recent studies show Cliff Palace contained
08:15 150 rooms and 23 kivas and had a population
08:20 of approximately 100 people.
08:23 Out of the nearly 600 cliff dwellings
08:25 concentrated between the boundaries of the park,
08:28 75% contain only one to five rooms each,
08:31 and many are single-room storage units.
08:34 If you visit Cliff Palace, you will
08:36 enter an especially large cliff dwelling
08:39 that may have had special importance to its occupants.
08:42 It is thought that Cliff Palace was
08:44 a social administrative site with high ceremonial usage.
08:48 Sandstone, mortar, and wooden beams
08:51 were the three primary construction materials
08:54 for the cliff dwellings.
08:55 The Anasazis shaped each sandstone block
08:58 using harder stones collected from the nearby river beds.
09:01 The mortar between the blocks is a mixture
09:03 of local soil, water, and ash.
09:07 Fitted in the mortar are tiny pieces
09:09 of stone called chinking.
09:11 Chinking stones filled the gaps within the mortar
09:13 and added structural stability to the walls.
09:17 Even though the cliff dwellings were their main living
09:19 quarters, the people still continued
09:21 to farm on top of the mesa and keep their above dwellings
09:24 in order for nearly a century.
09:31 As we study these amazing cliff dwellings,
09:33 it's only natural to wonder, who built them?
09:37 Archaeological research has shown
09:39 they were made by ancestral Puebloans, also called
09:42 the Anasazi.
09:43 Anasazi comes from the Navajo language
09:46 and means the ancient ones or enemy ancestors.
09:50 They have also been called the Clovis People,
09:52 theorized to be some of the first people to live in
09:55 North America.
09:56 Some archaeologists have proposed
09:58 that these ancient people migrated from Asia
10:01 during the time of Genghis Khan.
10:03 This may be the reason why many of their cities
10:06 are walled, in fear of these conquerors.
10:09 They inhabited Mesa Verde for more than 700 years,
10:12 from 550 AD to 1300 AD.
10:16 It is thought they primarily lived on the mesa tops
10:19 for a good portion of that time before building the cliff
10:22 dwellings.
10:23 It was not until the final 75 to 100 years
10:27 that they constructed and lived in the cliff dwellings
10:30 for which Mesa Verde is known.
10:32 It was a tough place to make a living.
10:34 Cold, snowy winters gave way to hot, dry summers
10:38 with periods of relatively abundant moisture.
10:41 But there appears to be sporadic and sometimes long
10:45 periods of drought.
10:47 The occupants lived in simple pit houses
10:49 with a hearth, fire hole, and room for storage.
10:53 They usually entered through the roof by the way of a ladder.
10:57 The fact that the house was partially underground helped
11:00 keep it cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
11:03 These people came together in what
11:05 we call great kivas, which are also
11:08 located partially underground.
11:10 These very round structures seem to have
11:13 been used for public gatherings, during which members
11:16 of the community socialized, performed
11:18 ceremonies, or discussed issues important to the group.
11:22 So what happened to the ancient peoples living here?
11:25 Research shows that the population peaked in 850 AD.
11:30 An event occurred which evacuated the people in droves.
11:34 This appears to have happened across the Mesa Verde region,
11:38 with the population moving south to places
11:41 like Chaco Canyon in New Mexico.
11:43 Recent research suggests that a change in climate
11:47 played a role in this immigration.
11:49 Pollen remains indicate that the weather,
11:51 in at least part of the Mesa Verde region,
11:53 had become colder.
11:55 And dry winters compounded this problem.
11:58 Then, the climate changed again, and this area warmed up.
12:02 In about 930, people moved back, but now with connection
12:06 to a vast trade network and commerce.
12:10 We know this from pottery found at these sites.
12:13 Finally, in the late 1270s the population
12:16 started decreasing again.
12:19 The reasons are still a mystery to anthropologists.
12:22 It is thought that a combination of reasons, including
12:25 climate change, competition for resources, population
12:28 growth, and conflict were the reason for this exodus.
12:33 They migrated south into present day New Mexico and Arizona.
12:38 By 1300, the Anasazi occupation of Mesa Verde ended.
12:43 With the population shrinking, the site fell into ruin.
12:47 It wasn't until 600 years later that it was
12:50 rediscovered by a prospector.
12:52 Then just a few decades later, it was made a national park.
12:57 But the ruins at Mesa Verde are not unique.
13:01 There are several other large and more complex
13:03 sites where ancient people once dominated the landscape,
13:07 but disappeared into obscurity.
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13:23 science-focused television content
13:25 all from a Biblical worldview.
13:27 Awesome Science is our kids series hosted by Noah Justice
13:31 In every episode, Noah visits the national parks
13:34 and historical sites to help you understand
13:37 earth's history using a Biblical worldview.
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14:06 Deep in the remote deserts of northwestern New Mexico
14:09 lies the extensive ruins of the greatest
14:12 architectural achievement of the North American Indians.
14:16 We're here at Chaco National Historic Park
14:19 where, thousands of years ago, the Chaco people
14:22 built their own culture.
14:24 Known as the Chaco Canyon Complex,
14:27 the site was the main social and ceremonial center
14:30 of the Anasazi culture.
14:32 The early Anasazi moved into this area about 100 years
14:36 before the time of Christ.
14:37 They were nomadic hunter-gatherers,
14:39 ranging over great expanses of territory.
14:42 But by AD 700, they had begun to live
14:46 in settled communities, of which Chaco Canyon is the finest
14:49 example.
14:51 Intensive construction occurred throughout Chaco Canyon
14:54 from AD 900 to 1100, resulting in the development
14:59 of several sophisticated dwelling complexes.
15:02 Pueblo Bonito, which means pretty village in Spanish,
15:06 had more than 600 rooms, numerous two and three story
15:10 buildings, and several ceremonial structures
15:13 called kivas.
15:15 It is believed that the population
15:17 was between 800 and 1,200.
15:20 To our knowledge, the Anasazi didn't leave any clues
15:23 about the language they spoke.
15:25 So we don't have any of the original names of the towns
15:28 or villages.
15:29 To this day, they remain a mystery.
15:31 What remains are the Spanish names used by the Mexicans
15:34 when they ruled this area.
15:36 Some suggest that a drought may have been the reason they
15:40 abandoned the site.
15:42 If so, a great drought could have easily
15:44 depleted most of the natural resources,
15:47 causing the abandonment of the site about 900 years ago.
15:52 The Chaco complex was rediscovered in 1849
15:55 by US army soldiers.
15:57 The site was severely vandalized for 70 years
16:01 until it was made a national monument in 1907.
16:04 Then, in 1920, the National Geographic Society
16:08 began a thorough reconstruction of the site.
16:11 The main road winds through the canyon,
16:13 with several stopping points close to each other.
16:16 You can hike several trails close to the road, giving you
16:19 and your family a firsthand look at these ruins.
16:23 Many of the buildings built here are aligned with the sun, moon,
16:26 or stars, meaning that these people who built them
16:29 were not primitive, but highly advanced.
16:32 Whether through drought, famine, or war, in time,
16:36 the people moved away from the area,
16:38 enmeshed into other cultures to reinvent themselves.
16:42 God has promised that if a people, nation,
16:45 or culture reject him and follow other gods,
16:49 he will destroy them.
16:50 This appears to be the case in the Chaco culture.
16:53 A once great people died out, dispersed,
16:56 or assimilated into other cultures
16:58 in less than a millennia.
17:01 Today, the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico
17:03 claim to be the descendants of the ancient Anasazi.
17:11 I'm here at the Aztec Ruins in Aztec, New Mexico.
17:14 But the funny thing is, these ruins aren't Aztec,
17:17 they're Pueblo.
17:18 Let's go check it out.
17:21 Just south of the Colorado border is New Mexico.
17:24 It's here that an amazing sight rises
17:27 from the desert floor of an ancient city
17:29 in an area of about 320 acres.
17:33 The Aztec Ruins sit between Mesa Verde and the Chaco ruins.
17:38 Almost 900 years ago, work gangs excavated, filled,
17:42 and leveled more than 2 and 1/2 acres of land.
17:46 Masons laid out sandstone blocks in intricate patterns
17:50 to form massive stone walls.
17:52 Wood workers cut and carried heavy log beams from mountain
17:56 forests tens of miles away.
17:59 One of the cool things is these are the actual roofs
18:02 from 900 years ago.
18:05 In less than three decades, they had built a monumental Great
18:09 House, three stories high and longer than a football field.
18:13 The complex had over 500 rooms, including a ceremonial Great
18:18 Kiva over 41 feet in diameter, the oldest
18:22 and largest reconstructed kiva in North America.
18:26 Archaeologists believe the village, what
18:28 we call Aztec Ruins, was established at around 1100 AD
18:33 and was a satellite community of Chaco Canyon to the south.
18:37 Aztecs and Anasazi inhabitants were
18:39 attracted to the valley because of its good location
18:42 and fertile soil.
18:44 Archaeologists believe that population pressure,
18:47 climate changes, new enemies, disease,
18:50 and shrinking natural resources forced the Anasazi to abandon
18:54 Aztec, just as they abandoned other villages
18:57 throughout the southwest.
18:59 In the 1700s, these ruins were discovered by Spanish explorers
19:03 who thought they were Aztec, a nation mostly located
19:07 to the south in Mexico.
19:09 A self-guided interpretive trail around a quarter mile
19:12 long winds through the West Ruin,
19:14 a pueblo of 450 interconnected rooms built of stone and mud.
19:20 The structures are mostly multi-level communal dwellings
19:24 constructed of sandstone, mud, and stones.
19:27 Pueblos, or homes, consisted of numerous rooms,
19:31 housing hundreds of people.
19:33 The Aztec Ruins are a great place for your family
19:36 to experience ancient dwellings firsthand and get
19:40 a small piece of the ancient Anasazi culture that once lived
19:43 here, over 1,000 years ago.
19:50 As we study this ancient culture,
19:52 we begin to wonder, how did man get to North America?
19:56 There are two main worldviews about the origins
19:59 of man, evolution, and creation by God, according to the Bible.
20:04 According to evolution, the Big Bang
20:07 happened about 14 billion years ago,
20:09 causing the universe to expand and come
20:12 into existence from nothing.
20:13 The Big Bang supposedly gave off hydrogen, helium, and lithium.
20:18 And over billions of years, these elements
20:21 were able to be converted to heavier elements that are here
20:24 today.
20:25 Those elements eventually came together
20:27 and formed rocky planets.
20:29 On one of those planets, planet Earth,
20:32 came the first form of life caused by accident.
20:35 And somehow, that first life survived and evolved over
20:39 billions of years into the complex life
20:42 we see today on Earth.
20:45 Eventually, this life got more complex and formed apes.
20:49 Eventually, those apes started walking upright.
20:52 In this evolutionary view, brain size supposedly
20:55 increased rapidly, and social skills became more complex.
21:00 Modern humans are believed to have originated in Africa
21:03 around 200,000 years ago, if you believe the secular story.
21:07 For tens of thousands of years supposedly,
21:10 early man lived a nomadic lifestyle as hunter-gatherers.
21:13 And while the population didn't grow, it remained stable.
21:17 Language grew and became more and more complex
21:21 and a diversity of language developed.
21:24 Between 8500 and 7000 BC, humans supposedly
21:28 learned the husbandry of plants and animals.
21:31 Then, they learned agriculture.
21:34 The earth's first major civilization
21:36 at Sumer in the Middle East was supposedly
21:39 between 4000 and 3000 BC.
21:42 From there, ancient Egyptians, Indus Valley, Chinese,
21:46 and other societies developed.
21:49 Eventually, cities and temples were
21:51 built by these civilizations.
21:53 And some still exist today.
21:56 As each civilization grew, they spread across Europe, Asia,
22:00 and America, and developed into the countries we have today.
22:05 Of course, this story changes as new discoveries are found.
22:09 Evolutionary naturalists consistently
22:11 need to change their storyline, and other small storylines,
22:14 to keep up with the evidence.
22:16 But overall, the big picture evolutionary story
22:19 is not subject to change.
22:21 But how is this story different from the biblical worldview?
22:29 According to the Bible, about 6,000 years ago,
22:32 God created man in his own image on the sixth day.
22:36 Adam and Eve were given a beautiful garden to live in
22:39 and were told to multiply and subdue the Earth.
22:42 But Satan rebelled from God and used a serpent
22:45 to deceive Eve, and subsequently Adam, into sin.
22:50 In response, God sentenced man to die for their sin,
22:53 and then cast Adam and Eve from the garden.
22:57 1,600 years after creation, God had decided that the sin of man
23:01 had gotten so bad that he was going
23:04 to destroy the Earth with a worldwide flood.
23:07 Only one man and his family held special favor with God.
23:12 God told Noah to build an ark and be saved
23:15 from the worldwide destruction.
23:17 About a year later, Noah's family came off the ark
23:21 and began to repopulate the Earth.
23:23 God promised that he would never flood the Earth again,
23:26 and instituted the rainbow as a sign of his promise.
23:30 Noah's sons were Shem, Ham, and Japheth,
23:34 all were born around the time that Noah was 500 years old.
23:38 Once everyone came off the ark, God
23:41 told them to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.
23:45 Within 100 years, Noah's descendants
23:48 multiplied but had settled to the east of Noah's farm.
23:52 They found the plain of Shinar and settled
23:54 there, which is in modern day Iraq,
23:57 named for the old city of Uruk near Baghdad.
24:02 There was only one language at that time.
24:05 The people wanted to build a city and a high tower
24:08 to make a name for themselves and not be
24:10 scattered over the whole Earth.
24:12 This was in direct opposition of God's command to spread out.
24:17 Some have suggested the high tower was a place of sacrifice
24:21 to the sun gods.
24:23 We see evidence of this all around the world,
24:25 with ancient tall ziggurats and pyramids being
24:28 used for human sacrifices.
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25:35 Thank you for watching this episode of Awesome Science.
25:38 And remember, science, it's awesome.
25:40 [music playing]


Revised 2018-03-22