One of the impressive cultural sites in the American Southwest, Chaco Culture National Historical Park at Chaco Canyon reflects the sophistication of the Ancestral Puebloan civilization (also called the Anasazi) that existed here. With its six “great homes” (pueblos containing lots of of rooms), and many lesser sites, the canyon was once the political, religious, and cultural center for this people.
It’s thought that Chaco’s population was small. Regardless of the size of the pueblos, the land couldn’t have supported a bigger community. Archeologists consider that the town was primarily used as a ceremonial gathering place, with a year-round inhabitants of fewer than 3,000 individuals. The inhabitants sustained themselves largely by growing crops and trading.
Usually, a pueblo had plenty of adjoining kivas (pit-homes), as well as one great kiva. Early smaller kivas seem to have been dwellings, however the great kivas were ceremonial places, barred to women and youngsters, not merely community gathering sites. The first Chaco Canyon kivas appeared round AD 700, round or D-shaped. Kivas were entered through a hole in the roof and there was also a hole in the ground called a sipapu, which probably symbolized the individuals’s connection from birth with Mother Earth. Near the center was a fireplace, and air shafts on the sides of the kivas made them more livable.
The Aztec Ruins National Monument was constructed by Puebloans in the 12th century. This important archeological site Iies 69 miles ( 111 km) north of Chaco Canyon. There’s a reconstructed great kiva here, as well as a pueblo consisting of 450 interconnecting rooms buiIt of stone and dirt. Farther to the north is Mesa Verde, Spanish for “green table,” which was inhabited by Puebloans between 550 and 1300. The Navajo National Monument, situated 223 miles (358 km) northwest of Chaco Canyon, was also occupied by the Puebloan individuals in the late 13th century. Three of their greatest-preserved diff dwellings, including the sumptuous Keet Steel, are here.
Round AD 400, the Chaco Canyon people started to settle in well-defined teams with a common culture referred to as “Anasazi,” a Navajo name said to imply “Ancient Enemy Ancestor.” For hundreds of years, their villages stayed small, however a population explosion in the eleventh century led to the development of elaborate cliff dwellings and the constructing of a road system to connect some 400 settlements. Agriculture thrived-damns and irrigation methods were constructed and extra successful strains of corn (maize) were planted to feed the growing population. Nonetheless, by 1130 the cities started to empty, maybe because of drought. People migrated, and by the 13th century the canyon was abandoned.