• Overlooking Chetro Ketl

    Chaco Culture

    National Historical Park New Mexico

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  • Kin Bineola and Kin Ya' a Great Houses CLOSED

    There is no public access.

Backfilling or Reburial

Archaeological excavations expose rooms and kivas that have been buried under layers of blown sand and rubble. When this protective mantle is removed, deterioration begins immediately. At most sites, some rooms were excavated to the earliest floor levels, 10 to 15 feet below the ground surface. Adjoining rooms may not have been completely excavated, and many rooms were not excavated at all. With a patchwork of uneven levels, drainage problems are severe, and the weight of fill in unexcavated rooms can cause extreme lateral pressure on the walls of the excavated rooms. By replacing or backfilling some of the excavated fill to create more level surface contours, and designing drainage that directs precipitation runoff away from the walls, rooms can be protected but still be viewed.

Conveyors for Backfilling
Conveyors are used to move fill into open rooms.
NPS Photo

Did You Know?

Photo of Navajo Stabilization crew working in Chaco Canyon

Beginning in 1937 the CCC funded an experimental Mobil Unit to work on ruins stabilization. The crew was mostly Navajo and even had one female member. They passed their knowledge to future generations, and many members of the preservation crew today are related to the original team. More...