This image shows some of the the amazing stone work at Chetro Ketl in Chaco Canyon. Seen against the backdrop of the canyon walls, it is not hard to imagine a bustling city with people going about their daily lives. It is also easy to see how the Anasazi took some of their building techniques from the world around them. These stone walls, some up to two feet thick, and interwoven, created an impregnable barrier to weather and enemy alike. They also provided a solid base for the two upper stories. In all, Chtro Ketl is thought to have contained 550 rooms in a complex that covered almost three acres.
This an image of one of the kivas in Pueblo Bonito at Chaco Canyon. The literal translation of the word kiva is “world below”. It is thought that they served as gathering places. Some of the smaller kivas may have served as living areas, and the larger ones as sacred places for religious ceremonies. There are thirty-seven kivas in Pueblo Bonito alone, and well over a hundred in Chaco Canyon. The largest at Casa Rinconada is 19 meters in diameter, and has a window which is aligned with the rising sun on the summer solstice. The light from the window shines on a recessed niche in the opposite wall. This is just one of the amazingly accurate architectural/archeological features found in Chaco Canyon.
This is an image of the Greathouse at Pueblo Pintado. When it was occupied, and the Chacoan culture thrived, it was three stories high, and contained 135 rooms. The entire structure was composed of two wings which were at right angles to one another, each one being about 200 feet long, and joined by a semi-circular row of rooms which enclosed a courtyard. There was also a large kiva southeast of the main building, and another structure to the west of that.
Pueblo Pintado, as I stated in my previous entry, was part of the larger Chacoan complex which flourished in the center of New Mexico’s San Juan Basin from around 900–1250CE. The people who built it were the Anasazi, the ancestors of the present day pueblo people of the desert southwest.