Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, contains some of the earliest surviving dwellings in North America. Over 1,000 years ago these Native Americans built sophisticated systems of housing in the canyon. The most elaborate of the nineteen towns, known as Great Houses, was Pueblo Bonito. Founded with a cluster of twenty rooms around the year 1000 A.D., Pueblo Bonito grew into a four-story complex by 1150 A.D. Because most of the 800 rooms in the complex are of roughly equal size, archaeologists surmise that the inhabitants lived in an egalitarian society that lacked social hierarchy. Each Great House contained at least one partially underground ceremonial room known as "kiva" - Pueblo Bonita contained 37 of them. What was the function of these "kivas"? They may have been gathering places for men who lived in a highly matriarchal society. Because of their position under the ground, it is believed that "kivas" may also have been used in ancient rituals whose purpose was to tap energy from the earth. When drought began to strike the Four Corners country many "kivas" were built outside the city to appease the rain spirit. Some scientists believe that the lack of rain forced these Native Americans to leave their homes and join neighboring tribes. In this episode we will try to find out what really happened to the inhabitants of Chaco Canyon.

Film Duration: 45 min