Chaco Canyon: Site Analysis

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Chaco Canyon is one archaeological site in a network of sites in northwestern New Mexico. Chaco Canyon is a remote canyon cut by the Chaco Wash located between Farmington and Albuquerque, New Mexico (1). The site dates back to 850 to 1250 AD and reached its peak between 1020 and 1110 AD (2). The site was abandoned in 1130 AD due to the beginning of a fifty-year drought (1). Chaco Canyon was home to the Chacoans and demonstrates their advanced construction. In the canyon there are "Great Houses" constructed of stone and made up of multiple stories with hundreds of rooms. All of them had similar architectural features, but they are all unique (2). The structures were oriented based on cardinal, lunar, and solar directions with lines of sight to allow for communication (2). The "Great Houses" of Chaco Canyon were connected by roads to more than 100 houses located throughout the region (2). Evidence of archaeoastronomy is shown by a petroglyph of a "Sun Dagger" (1). The construction of the site being aligned with the lunar and solar cycles suggests that the structures took generations of observation and anywhere from decades to centuries to construct (1). Agricultural practices included using methods that relied heavily on labor and heavily on the land to produce crops like corn (3). The Chacoans traded turquoise for items like macaw, shells, and copper bells suggesting that the site played an important role in economics (2).…show more content…
The site was used for religious ceremonies which may have been significant in their lives, showed the complex social structure, and had a central role in economics due to trade

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