October 2011 was the first time that I stopped at Pueblo del Arroyo. I had only done the sites on the Chaco loop road on my previous visit. There is a short, spur road off the far northwest end of the 9-mile loop road. At the end there is a parking lot with trailheads to the Wetherill Cemetery, Pueblo del Arroyo, and the Penasco Blanco / Pueblo...more
Casa Rinconada is an isolated great kiva located on top of a ridge on the southern side of the canyon directly across from Pueblo Bonito. It is located within a cluster of small house sites. Two of the closest are Bc 58, 290 feet (85 m) to the northeast, and Bc 50, 290 feet (85 m) to the east. Although the great kiva is not associated with a great...more
Talus Unit is a small structure composed of east and west room blocks located against the cliff behind the back wall of Chetro Ketl. Two rooms connect the east and west room blocks, which rise three-stories at the cliff base and terrace towards the front. Tree-ring dates indicate construction mainly occurred between A.D. 1060-70, although lintels...more
Hungo Pavi is the first stop on the Chaco loop road. It is an unexcavated great house located about 1.8 miles (2.9 km.) southeast of Pueblo Bonito at the mouth of Mockingbird Canyon. According to the Chaco Research Archives, the site contains approximately 140 rooms. The north roomblock includes three rows of rooms and stood at least three-stories...more
Chacoans were definitely skywatchers. Fajada Butte has six petroglyphs including the Sun Dagger, a carving of a "rattlesnake", other spirals, and a rectangle that are conspicuously lit by contrasts between sunbeams and shadows during equinoxes or solstices. Public access to the butte was stopped in 1989 when erosion from modern foot traffic was...more
There is quite an extensive history of Chaco Culture. I cannot list it all here, but from the National Park Service website, I obtained the following information:AD 850 to 1250 Chaco Canyon served as a major urban center of ancestral Puebloan culture. Remarkable for its monumental public and ceremonial buildings, engineering projects, astronomy,...more
Chaco Canyon is accessible by a paved 9-mile loop road which is one-way except on the south end. It straddles Chaco Wash along the length of the canyon northwest of the Visitors' Center. There is a short (0.4 mile), two-way extension at the northwest end that goes to the parking lot for Pueblo del Arroyo, the Wetherill Cemetery, and the Penasco Blanco / Pueblo Alto Trailhead. The loop road closes at sunset.
On 22 January 1941, a section of the canyon wall by Pueblo Bonito known as Threatening Rock collapsed, destroying some of the pueblo's rear wall and a number of rooms. The rock stood 97 feet (30 m) high and weighed approximately 30,000 tons. The resulting enormous pile of debris now forms the high point on the trail through Pueblo Bonito. However, just east of the old Threatening Rock site (on the Petroglyph Trail) stands another threatening rock. Although it is huge, the existing threatening rock is only about one-fourth as large as the 1941 Threatening Rock. Who knows when it will come crashing down!
Chaco backcountry hiking opportunities include the Pueblo Alto Trail, Penasco Blanco Trail, South Mesa Trail, and Wijiji Trail. There is an online summary of the backcountry hiking trails. The Chaco Culture Backcountry Trail Guide ($2.00 at the Visitors' Center) has detailed information on these trails. Hiking permits are required for these trails....more
Bc 50 is a small residential structure located just east of the Casa Rinconada Great Kiva and about one-half mile south of Pueblo Bonito. This rectangular building, also known as “Tseh So” (rock crystal in Navajo), had twenty-six ground-floor masonry rooms with four kivas along the east side. Normally these villages were single-story construction...more
Bc 51, along with Bc 50, are “type sites” for Chacoan small house residences or villages. With about 45 ground-floor rooms and seven kivas, Bc 51 is very large for this building type. When Bc 51 was first excavated in 1936-37 by Clyde Kluckholn, an earlier structure was found beneath the site that included pit houses. Pit houses predate masonry...more
These are the estimated construction and occupation dates for the sites in the Chaco Culture National Historical Park. The source was the Casa Rinconada trail guide but the same chart is found in other trail guides. The dates were estimated from tree-ring dating and artifact analysis. The site that is covered by the VT title is Kin Kletso.more
In Oct 2011 a new Visitors' Center was under construction at Chaco Culture National Historical Park; however, services and literature were still available in a temporary building. You must check in at the Visitors' Center when you arrive to get an entrance permit. It is hard to tell but there are two separate organizations in the Visitors' Center....more
When I was walking through Chetro Ketl, I saw this interestingly shaped rock that looked like a hook. I am wondering if it is possibly an undiscovered artifact. I did not bother it since you are not supposed to touch or collect any artifacts, but I think I could find it again.more
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