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.
Did You Know?
A 20 km segment of Chaco Wash courses through the park. Its flows are derived from summer thunderstorms and winter snowmelt within a 2,175 km2 watershed. The wash is presently incised into a steep-walled arroyo which has a well-developed floodplain and a small inner channel on the arroyo floor.