Chimney Rock Archaeological Site: Image credit US National Forest Service

Writing in The Examiner on Friday, 21 September, Stacey Witting reports that –

Today, President Obama exercised his authority under the Antiquities Act to designate a new national monument at Chimney Rock Archaeological Area in Colorado. The president’s decision provides this irreplaceable site — sometimes called “America’s Stonehenge” — with permanent protection and a designation equal to its historic and cultural importance. The 4,726-acre Chimney Rock Archaeological area located in San Juan National Forest which is a mecca for hikers.

President Obama’s decision—only the third time he has exercised his authority [in this way] — comes in response to a grassroots campaign conceived and led by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which engaged a diverse coalition including a bipartisan group of local and statewide elected officials, Puebloan and tribal leaders and private citizens. In May, the National Trust named Chimney Rock a National Treasure, one of the irreplaceable places that epitomize the American story but face distinct threats.

The history and cultural significance of Chimney Rock predate the exploration and settlement of North America. Between A.D. 925 and 1125, the Chacoans built a residential and ceremonial village and inhabited the Chimney Rock mesa, establishing the most northeastern and highest known Chacoan site.

The ancient Chacoans were great engineers, architects and astronomers. Among their ceremonial and residential structures on the mesa is the Great House Pueblo which was likely used as an observatory for the rare Northern Lunar Standstill. During the standstill the moon aligns between Chimney Rock’s double spires. This extraordinary lunar alignment has earned Chimney Rock the nickname “America’s Stonehenge.”

Full article here.