The Tumpline Hypothesis

The great houses of Chaco Canyon (New Mexico) were built around 1000 years ago, using the wood of over 200,000 trees. However, the trees were about 70 miles away from the houses. So how did the Chacoans get the wood to the construction site? There's no archaeological evidence the wood was dragged, and the Chacoans had no draft animals or wheels.

According to the Tumpline Hypothesis, the Chacoans used tumplines, which are straps that go over the head and can be used to carry heavy weights. From Ars Technica:

To test that hypothesis, co-authors Rodger Kram and James Wilson spent the summer of 2020 training until they could haul a heavy log some 15 miles using tumplines. "Some people baked sourdough bread during COVID," said Kram, an emeritus professor of integrative physiology at the University of Colorado at Boulder. "Instead, we carried sand and heavy logs around using our heads."

     Posted By: Alex - Tue Apr 25, 2023
     Category: Science | Anthropology | Experiments

I take it they weren't big on building additions.

My new vehicle can't hold even a half-sheet of plywood or a board longer than eight feet, and having it delivered is an expensive crapshoot. That's put a big crimp in my remodeling plans. If I had to haul lumber seventy miles, I'd quickly start learning to be a stone mason.
Posted by Phideaux on 04/25/23 at 10:33 AM
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.