• 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.

Cultural History

The Pecos Classification System, used to more easily compare archaeological information with other areas of the Southwest, categorizes pre-Columbian sites into time periods based on absolute dates (from tree-rings, etc.) and on cross-dating using architectural remains, artifacts, and other cultural indicators. However, sites in Chaco are particularly complex, in part due to dense and lengthy occupation of the Canyon. In addition, a site as simple as a single component habitation or as complex as a 600 room multi-component structure can have meaning in any or all of the following categories: archaeological site, architectural monument, historic structure, ethnographic resource, sacred site/shrine and/or traditional cultural property, cultural landscape element, and more. Although some have relatively simple histories, their contexts in time and space have value and meaning to descendants, scholars, visitors, and a world-wide public.

Did You Know?

Photo of Richard Wetherill's coal mine

Richard Wetherill came to Chaco Canyon in 1896 and worked with the American Museum of Natural History. He operated a ranch and trading post there until his death in 1910. To keep warm during the frigid Chaco winters, Richard burned low-grade coal from a mine he constructed.