Architecture and Dendrochronology of Chetro Ketl, Chaco Canyon, New Mexico


Chetro Ketl is one of the largest ruins in Chaco Culture National Historical Park, New Mexico. The visible architecture of Chetro Ketl dates from the early eleventh to the early twelfth centuries A. D. The rear wall of the building is about 480' long. The ruins cover almost 3 acres, with almost half of that area consisting of enclosed plaza. Chetro Ketl, at its largest, had between 200 and 225 ground-floor rooms, and a total of 450 to 550 rooms on all stories. Twelve kivas are currently visible, including

one Great Kiva in the plaza. Chetro Ketl is one of the central group of Chacoan ruins (Figure I: 1), 0.4 miles east of Pueblo Bonito. Low walls may have run between Chetro Ketl and Pueblo Bonito, forming a possible compound. Pueblo Alto is only 0.6 miles north -northwest, and Casa Rinconada (largest of the excavated Great Kivas) 0.4 miles to the southwest.

Numerous smaller sites and features surround Chetro Retl (Figure I: 1). The rear wall of the ruin is less than 100' from the canyon cliffs. For over 1300', from Talus Unit #1 (just west of Chetro Ketl) to the head of the rincon behind the ruin, this south -facing cliff served as the back wall for numerous structures. Just to the west of, and perhaps contiguous with Chetro Ketl, is a smaller square building, similar in plan to the "McElmo Phase" sites (Vivian and Mathews 1965). Southeast of Chetro Ketl, across a recently rechanneled gully, lies a large oval mound. Originally standing 20' above the surrounding valley bottom (Hawley 1934: 31), it has been greatly obscured by repeated trenchings.

Cite this Record

Architecture and Dendrochronology of Chetro Ketl, Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. Jeffery S. Dean, Peter J. McKenna, Richard L. Warren, Florence Hawley Ellis, Stephen H. Lekson. Reports of the Chaco Center ,Number 6. Albuquerque, NM: National Park Service. 1983 ( tDAR id: 178594) ; doi:10.6067/XCV82F7MR6

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: 1000 to 1499

Spatial Coverage

min long: -108.55; min lat: 35.465 ; max long: -107.172; max lat: 36.655 ;

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