November 10

Stage 10 // San Juan de Ortega – Burgos [25,8 Km]

With almost 26 Km ahead, today is going to be a long and interesting walk. Before we get to Burgos, we will be passing through a military camp, and Atapuerca, one of the most exciting archaeological sites in Europe, with remains from over 1 million years old and all the species that lived in these times. Not very CHATty, but still… the National Museum of Human Evolution is quite cool.

Burgos is also a place to enjoy. A beautiful city with one of the most amazing cathedrals of Spain that you must visit. If your legs allow it, go for a wine and some food. They have great tapas in the center.

Ruth M. Van Dyke

The Indigenous inhabitants of the North American Southwest live within a rugged landscape of stone and sky.  Here, sacred mountain peaks, canyons, and rivers are bound up with religious practices, cosmologies, and histories.  Indigenous peoples mark sacred places with shrines, rock art, votive deposits, trails, linear alignments, and archaeological sites.  Holy people, elders, and initiates regularly undertake pilgrimages to natural and archaeological places.  One such place is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Chaco Canyon in northwest New Mexico, United States. 

Roughly a thousand years ago (850-1150 CE), Chaco Canyon was a center place that drew Indigenous peoples from across the surrounding region for religious gatherings that may have corresponded to solar and lunar events.  As pilgrims journeyed towards Chaco Canyon, they followed highly visible peaks.  Over time, they marked the route and many high places with shrines and rock art.  Chacoans modified the landscape to further express the idea of Chaco Canyon as the center place, constructing massive roads leading north and south from the canyon.  The sensory and experiential dimensions of these practices, and of the greater Chaco landscape, are underexplored and form part of the focus of my current work.  One source of inspiration for my pilgrimage studies at Chaco is my own bodily experience walking four Caminos de Santiago between 2011 and 2021.

Before the live presentation, you can watch this video with a previous talk on the matter, or explore the website of “The Greater Chaco Landscape: Ancestors, Scholarship and Advocacy“, even accessing the book for free.

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