Life and Ritual at the Edge of the Lava: The Ancient Chacoan Community at Las Ventanas

Author(s): Paul Reed

Year: 2015


The ancient Chaocan-affiliated community at Las Ventanas, New Mexico, on the El Malpais National Monument, has been known to the southwestern archaeological community since Adolph Bandelier’s time in the late 19th century. Knowledge has accrued over nearly 140 years with visits by various archaeologists. Archaeology Southwest’s recent Las Ventanas Community Landscape Project has continued this work and produced some astounding findings. Seven extensive trails were documented in the lava west of the Las Ventanas Pueblo Community and the Sandstone Bluffs area. Hints of trails were apparent before, in this area and across the entire Monument. But, new research has shown the construction and use of trails to have been much more intensive and extensive than previously suspected. Furthermore, these trails were not built primarily or exclusively as utilitarian transportation corridors. Rather, most were built as ceremonial byways to access a variety of rituals features in and around the lava flow.

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Cite this Record

Life and Ritual at the Edge of the Lava: The Ancient Chacoan Community at Las Ventanas. Paul Reed. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397740)

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Geographic Keywords
North America - Southwest

Spatial Coverage

min long: -115.532; min lat: 30.676 ; max long: -102.349; max lat: 42.033 ;