Chaco Culture

New Mexico

Inscribed 1987

For over 2,000 years, Pueblo peoples occupied a vast region of the south-western United States. Chaco Canyon, a major centre of ancestral Pueblo culture between 850 and 1250, was a focus for ceremonials, trade and political activity. Chaco is remarkable for its monumental public and ceremonial buildings and its distinctive architecture that testify to organizational and engineering abilities not seen anywhere else in the American Southwest. In addition to the Chaco Culture National Historical Park, the World Heritage property includes the Aztec Ruins National Monument and several smaller Chaco sites managed by the Bureau of Land Management.


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By 1050, Chaco had become the ceremonial, administrative, and economic center of the San Juan Basin.

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Its sphere of influence was extensive. Dozens of great houses in Chaco Canyon were connected by roads to more than 150 great houses throughout the region.

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The great kiva in the plaza of Chetro Ketl.

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The ruins rise up into the sky.

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Map of Chaco Culture National Park.