In this week’s episode Sacred Sites investigates the Chaco Canyon in New Mexico.
The structures on the floor of this canyon were built around 1000 years ago by the Pueblo people and the area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It contains some of the most important pre-Colombian archeology in North America
Their brief civilisation flourished for more than 300 years but then something happened that led to a rapid collapse in social order and ultimately the entire civilisation itself.
During the tumultuous end there are rumors of widespread bloodshed, human sacrifice and even cannibalism.
The Sacred Sites team looks at the evidence and tries to piece together what happened to this people and whether the grisly claims have any truth in them.
Was it drought that led to desperate attempts to appease their gods or perhaps invaders weakened them.
Whatever it was took a heavy toll and there appears to have been around 50 years of decline before the area was totally deserted.
Watch Sacred Sites – Chaco Canyon tonight at 8PM on Smithsonian Channel.