The Mystery of Chaco Canyon Premieres on Wednesday, July 29 at 9 p.m. on CPTV

Release Date: 07/09/2009

The massive prehistoric architectural remains found in Chaco Canyon, in northwest New Mexico, present many deep mysteries. Between 850 and 1150 AD, the Chacoan people designed and constructed massive ceremonial buildings in a complex celestial pattern throughout a vast desert region, a feat that has puzzled archeologists for centuries.

The Mystery of Chaco Canyon, airing on Wednesday, July 29 at 9 p.m. on CPTV, examines the many questions surrounding the site. How did an ancient civilization, with no known written language, arrange its buildings into a virtual celestial calendar, spanning an area roughly the size of Ireland? Why did this society, ancestors of today’s Pueblo Indians, choose to establish the center of their world in the middle of such an arid, barren land? And why, after constructing buildings the size of the Roman Coliseum, did these same people deliberately seal them and abruptly leave?

Aerial and time-lapse footage, computer modeling and interviews with scholars illustrate how the Chacoan people designed, oriented and located their major buildings in relationship to the sun and moon. Pueblo leaders who are featured in the film discuss the significance of Chaco to the Pueblo world today.

Throughout the one-hour program, The Mystery of Chaco Canyon presents substantial evidence that demonstrates the Chacoan people expressed a complex solar and lunar cosmology in their magnificent architecture. The discoveries documented in the film have transformed scientific understanding of this site — one of the most elaborate and mysterious of ancient Native-American ruins — and revolutionizing perceptions of the Chacoan civilization.

CPTV is a media service of the Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network (CPBN, www.cpbn.org). It is a locally and nationally recognized producer and presenter of quality public television programming, including UConn Women’s Basketball, original documentaries and educational programming. CPTV has built a reputation as a leader in children’s programming, including playing a historical role in bringing Barney & Friends™, Bob the Builder™ and Thomas & Friends™ to public television. The station offers 11 hours of positive, nurturing children’s programming each weekday, reaching 50,000 to 70,000 households daily.

The Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network also includes WNPR, an affiliate of National Public Radio, Public Radio International and American Public Media. WNPR serves over 200,000 listeners in Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island with news and information. Its award-winning local programming includes The Faith Middleton Show and Where We Live. Overall, the network brings a broad spectrum of public affairs, entertainment, sports and educational programming to viewers, listeners and readers. For more information, visit www.cptv.org and/or www.wnpr.org.

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