Small Site Architecture of Chaco Canyon, New Mexico

Author(s): Peter J. McKenna; Marcia L. Truell

Year: 1986


Chaco Canyon was made a national park to preserve and protect its spectacularly large ruins. There are about a dozen large sites in the central park area--" about a dozen," because there is considerable disagreement about the line separating the named tourist attractions ("towns") from the thousand or more smaller, largely anonymous Anasazi ruins ("small sites") that are also part of Chaco's archaeology. Some sites with names and interpretive trails are actually not that large; some of the smaller, unnamed sites are in fact quite impressive ruins, "small" only in relation to the enormity of Pueblo Bonito or Chetro Ketl.

Between 1973 and 1976, the Chaco Project conducted extensive excavations at ten "small" sites, and more limited testing at many others. This volume contains two separate reports on the architecture of small sites in Chaco Canyon. The two studies presented here complement an earlier volume entitled Great Pueblo, Architecture of Chaco Canyon t published in 1984. Separate volumes, one for "Great Pueblos" and another for small sites, might suggest that the Chaco Project found a formula for distinguishing the Great from the small, but this is not so. Truell discusses this problem and its implications at some length in her study. Almost everyone concerned with the Chaco Project now sees small and large sites as a continuum rather than a dichotomy. Why, then, publish two volumes on Chaco architecture instead of one? The answer to this question has more to do with the historical development of the Chaco Project than with the archaeological evidence. We need to consider that history, briefly, to understand how the present volume came to bet and what the reader should and should not expect from it.

This volume, then, consists of McKenna's summary of the Chaco Project site reports, followed by Truell’s synthesis of small site architecture. They should be seen as two separate, but complementary, studies (though McKenna and Truell differ in minor aspects of site interpretation). The present volume is not intended as a replacement for the numerous unpublished site reports.

Cite this Record

Small Site Architecture of Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. Peter J. McKenna, Marcia L. Truell. Publications in Archeology, Chaco Canyon Studies ,18D. Albuquerque, NM: National Park Service. 1986 ( tDAR id: 178621) ; doi:10.6067/XCV89S1QC2

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -108.215; min lat: 35.608 ; max long: -107.402; max lat: 36.244 ;

Record Identifiers

NADB document id number(s): 2155309

NADB citation id number(s): 000000010185

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