save project and re-open?

Just downloaded Audacity (macOS 10.13.6). Very basic learner! Imported files to join several together (radio series). Saved “as project” to desktop. Files appear to have been saved in 6-second chunks?? and are not found when I try to re-open. Must have something very simple wrong somewhere but just can’t see it, sorry!

That’s normal. The Audacity project format is not a single file. There is a “project file” and a “data directory” (data folder). Both parts are essential.
See here for more detail:

Thank you, makes sense now.

This will change with the upcoming next release of Audacity 3.0.0 - where the entire project will be contained in a single consolidated file.