The Roads of Chaco Canyon

What Connected Chaco Canyon To Surrounding Pueblos

The people at Chaco Canyon built hundreds of miles of roads which were possibly used for spiritual reasons. The roads are 30 feet wide, distinctly straight, and pass directly through the obstacles in the surrounding landscape instead of going around them. These trails were not simply formed by foot traffic that leads to the outlying villages.

There are some roads that run parallel wherein two or even four are going alongside the other. While some of them connect the buildings, a majority seem to have a different purpose apart from guiding people during travel.

Studies show that the roads are built in such a way that they form directional corridors which have a significant value to the people’s cosmography practice. One example is the Great North Road, the longest among all the known routes, which stretches out of the central canyon at the rear of Chetro Ketl and Pueblo Bonito. It is seen as heading directly north by 35 miles and then concludes at the Kutz Canyon. Based on these observations, it can be assumed that the road’s purpose is to connect the north to the south as well as build a connection between the central Chacoan complex and the deep canyon that’s located in the north.

San Juan Basin

By 1050, Chaco Canyon became the administrative, ceremonial and economic center of the San Juan Basin and gained a rather extensive sphere of influence. Roads connected a wide array of the Chacoan great houses to over 150 great houses that are sprawled all over the region. It was believed that these great houses were impressive representations of “public architecture” which were periodically used by the population as the center of commerce, trading, and ceremony.

The Chaco World

Chaco Canyon became the center of the so-called “Chaco world” at the beginning of 1080 A.D. Archaeologists have noted the area as possessing a distinctive form of architecture and made particular reference to the area’s new building type known as “great house.” These great masonry structures are huge, multiroom and multistory with rooms that are unusually large and kivas that are built inside as opposed to being built in the outdoor plaza area. The great houses were also involved with the trading of exotic goods that are sourced from as far away as Mexico. Some of these goods include copper bells, seashells and macaw remains.

Chacoan Outliers

Archaeologists have learned that there are over 225 great houses that are scattered over thousands of square miles covering the northern Southwest which includes the Mesa Verde area. They noted how the sites also contained pottery that is inspired by the Chaco style. There were also artifacts that were made Chaco Roads book chaco canyon using imported materials. Archaeologists have referred to these great houses that were discovered outside Chaco Canyon as “Chacoan outliers.” They noted how these houses were used as community centers for the farmsteads in the surrounding Mesa Verde region. These outliers were connected to one another as well as to the Chaco Canyon great houses with a large network of ancient roads.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Comments on “The Roads of Chaco Canyon”

Leave a Reply