Chaco and After in the Northern San Juan
280 pages, 8 1/2 x 11
51 b/w photographs, 82 illustrations, 45 tables, CD-ROM
Mixed media product
Release Date:15 Nov 2008
ISBN:9780816526819
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Chaco and After in the Northern San Juan

The University of Arizona Press

Chaco Canyon, the great Ancestral Pueblo site of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, remains a central problem of Southwestern archaeology. Chaco, with its monumental "great houses," was the center of a vast region marked by "outlier" great houses. The canyon itself has been investigated for over a century, but only a few of the more than 200 outlier great houses--key to understanding Chaco and its times--have been excavated. This volume explores the Chaco and post-Chaco eras in the northern San Juan area through extensive excavations at the Bluff Great House, a major Chaco "outlier" in Utah.

Bluff's massive great house, great kiva, and earthen berms are described and compared to other great houses in the northern Chaco region. Those assessments support intriguing new ideas about the Chaco region and the effect of the collapse of Chaco Canyon on "outlying" great houses.

New insights from the Bluff Great House clarify the construction and use of great houses during the Chaco era and trace the history of great houses in the generations after Chaco's decline. An innovative comparative study of the northern and southern portions of the Chaco world (the northern San Juan area around Bluff and the Cibola area around Zuni) leads to new ideas about population aggregation and regional abandonment in the Southwest. Appendixes on CD-ROM present details and descriptions of artifacts recovered from Bluff: ceramics, projectile points, pollen analyses, faunal remains, bone tools, ornaments, and more.

This book is one of only a handful of reports on Chacoan great houses in the northern San Juan region. It provides an in-depth study of the Chaco era and clarifies the relationship of "outlying" great houses to Chaco Canyon. Research at the Bluff Great House begins to answer key questions about the nature of Chaco and its region, and the history of the northern San Juan in the Chaco and post-Chaco worlds.

RELATED TOPICS: Archaeology
Catherine M. Cameron is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Colorado-Boulder and co-editor with Steve A. Tomka of The Abandonment of Settlements and Regions: Ethnoarchaeological and Archaeological Approaches.
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