As its name implies, Chaco Culture National Historical Park includes more than just Chaco Canyon. While Chacoan Culture was centered within the canyon with its spectacular great houses and dense concentration of monumental architecture, Chacoan influence extended much further, throughout the San Juan Basin and even a bit beyond. The whole region contains outlying great houses, which show many of the same features as the great houses in Chaco Canyon (core-and-veneer masonry, large-scale planning, exaggerated size relative to other buildings in the immediate area), though generally on a smaller scale. These outlying great houses, and the great kivas and communities of small-house sites, with which they are usually associated, show clear evidence of the spread of the Chacoan system throughout a remarkably wide area.
Four of the outlying great houses are contained within the park itself. Though not part of the main unit of the park, they are open to the public and information about getting to them is available at the park visitor center. You can download a map (81/2 X 11 153kb pdf) to the outliers here. (To get the Free Adobe Reader, which is required to read the pdf files, click here.)
The four are:
In addition to the outliers included within the park, there are several other outlying great houses that are open to the public. Some of these are at other National Park Service units, while others are owned and protected by other entities. They include:
For information on visiting any of these sites, please contact the agency listed in parentheses.
Did You Know?
The climate of Chaco Canyon 1,000 years ago was very similar to the climate in the park today, with annual precipitation of only eight to nine inches. The Puebloans constructed water control features like dams, canals, and headgates for farming in such a dry environment.