Chaco Culture National Historical Park

According to the National Park Service, “Chaco Canyon was a major center of ancestral Puebloan culture between AD 850 and 1250. It was a hub of ceremony, trade, and administration for the prehistoric Four Corners area – unlike anything before or since.”

“Chaco is remarkable,” the Park Service continues, “for its monumental public and ceremonial buildings, and its distinctive architecture. To construct the buildings, along with the associated Chacoan roads, ramps, dams, and mounds, required a great deal of well organized and skillful planning, designing, resource gathering, and construction. The Chacoan people combined pre-planned architectural designs, astronomical alignments, geometry, landscaping, and engineering to create an ancient urban center of spectacular public architecture – one that still amazes and inspires us a thousand years later.”

NewMexiKen visited Chaco Culture National Historical Park for the first time Sunday and Monday. More than anything Chaco resembles — in concept, not appearance — an assemblage of European monastaries. Relatively few people lived there, yet the dozens of “Great Houses” were extensive with hundreds of rooms, scores of kivas and large plazas.