Conch Trumpet Used to Gather the People

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Indigenous Americans apparently used sound to organize local communities similar to the way that the Israelites used the shofar.

Conch-shell trumpets have been found in burial contexts at Chaco Canyon, despite the nearest source of the shells being some 1,000km away. Today, these shells are used in contemporary Pueblo ritual practices, suggesting that they were also significant in ancient Chacoan society.

Previous studies indicate that sound was integral to ritual pageantry in Chaco Canyon. However, it was unknown whether communities beyond the canyon also placed significance on auditory experience.

Researchers found that “if somebody blew a conch-shell trumpet from the great house at the center of all five Chacoan communities, the sound would have reached almost all of the surrounding settlements.”

Chaco Canyon was a major center of ancestral Pueblo culture between 850 and 1250 B.C. It was a place of ceremonies, trade, and political activity for the prehistoric Four Corners area. Chaco is remarkable for its monumental public and ceremonial buildings and its distinctive architecture. It has an ancient urban ceremonial center.

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