Did the Anasazi Have a Signaling Sytem?

An article in the Farmington Times reports on experiments done to test the idea that the Anasazi used a signaling system to communicate over a distance:

About 1,000 years ago, the Chacoan Anasazi inhabitants may have communicated the same way — minus the cell phone and dressing mirror.
Park rangers and archeologists at 23 Anasazi ruins scattered over 86 miles tested the theory that the ancient people passed messages between population centers. Instead of mirrors, the people would likely have used flat, shiny abalone shells or signal fires.


The experiment repeats and expands a National Science Fair project completed in 1995. It confirmed the theory that Anasazis in Pueblo Alto, Huerfano Mountain and Chimney Rock could have communicated by way of some kind of remote system, Baker said. Tuesday’s experiment expanded that idea, testing the possibilities for communication with Aztec Ruins, Salmon Ruins and other smaller population centers.
The reflections started at 10 a.m. with Pueblo Alto and Penasco Blanco and ended with Huerfano Mountain and Salmon Ruins at 2 p.m.
Results appear mixed. At Salmon Ruins, the staff couldn’t see reflections from Huerfano, Pueblo Alto or Chimney Rock.
“We could see the radio towers, but no mirror reflection,” Baker said.

Which sounds to me like they demonstrated that the concept was possible – not that Anasazi actually communicated in this fashion…

4 Responses

  1. I agree… here’s an interesting excerpt from the article:
    “If the experiments work, it would show, ‘you had communication within the Chacoan system not just based on runners,’ Baker said.”
    It shows nothing of the sort. It leaves open the possibility of line-of-sight communications, but without finding artifacts such as abalone shells that seem to have been modified for reflective use, they have nothing to go on. It is not evidence of anything.
    I’ve been to a few of these ruins, and it sure seems that line-of-sight signaling is feasible. I would believe it… if some evidence were found.

  2. Also, check out the first photo and caption. They’re using binoculars and a mirror the size of a poster! Chances are the original residents of the Pueblo at Aztec possessed nothing close to these items.
    Experimental archaeology needs to be performed using the technology available at the time being studied.
    It made for a good newspaper story, though.

  3. Yes, exactly.

  4. I have also been to most all of these ruins many times. The idea is right the method is wrong. Line-of-sight could only be reasonably accomplished at night using signal fires.All of the materials for this method were around at that time. This method is also scientifically sound.

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