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S. Durand, an archeologist from Eastern New Mexico University, Portales, has developed a technique for identifying the sources of logs. He tries to match trace elements in the Chaco Canyon logs with those in living trees in today's forests. The different bedrocks underlying the various forests supply different quantities of such trace elements as barium and manganese.
Preliminary results suggest that the early building period in Chaco Canyon, circa 900 AD, employed trees from many different sites. During the peak building period a century later, all logs used carried the same concentrations of trace elements and, therefore, probably came from the same forest. Durand's next step is to locate this forest and figure out how the builders of Chaco Canyon, the Anasazi, managed to tote the logs, some weighing 600 pounds, 50 miles or more.
(Mestel, Rosie; "Where Did Desert Builders Get
Their Wood?" New Scientist, p. 10, August 6, 1994.)