• Overlooking Chetro Ketl

    Chaco Culture

    National Historical Park New Mexico

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  • Kin Bineola and Kin Ya' a Great Houses CLOSED

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Archaic-Early Basketmaker Period

The Archaic-Early Basketmaker Period in Chaco, radiocarbon dated from about 7000 to 1500 years before present, is also characterized by a mobile, hunting-gathering, non-ceramic economy, but there is an increasing emphasis on gathering, cultivation, and food storage through time. This period was identified by campsites with evidence of tool manufacturing, game and plant food processing, storage, and hearths. These camps are located throughout the park, but are most visible on the south sides of the mesas and in exposed arroyo cuts on the canyon floor. Early Basketmaker habitation sites are both open sites and rock shelters, modified by the construction of slab-lined storage cists and hearths, suggesting more long-term occupation. The intensive landscape modifications typical of the later occupations make clear identification of Archaic land use difficult. Fewer than 75 sites have been recorded in the park with evidence of Archaic - Early Basketmaker occupation. Generally, these sites are lithic scatters, characterized by the debris resulting from stone tool making, knives, scrapers, cores, projectile points, and some milling tools. Rockshelter sites like Atlatl Cave also contain well-preserved basketry, cordage, sandals, wooden and bone artifacts, and a wide range of faunal and flora remains.

Did You Know?

Photo of Chaco Wash

Among their many accomplishments, the CCC camp at Chaco planted 80,000 trees and 80,000 shrubs at Chaco between 1939 and 1941. They also cut poles and surveyed 375 miles for telephone line, built 1018 small dikes to control erosion, and constructed 3.2 miles of entrance road. More...