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Chacoan Heights at Aztec Ruins

Author(s): Michelle Turner

Year: 2016

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At the Chacoan outlier of Aztec Ruins in northern New Mexico, the unexcavated Aztec North great house is located on top of a river terrace overlooking the broad Animas River valley. Down below, but out of sight from Aztec North, are two other great houses. The builders of these three great houses enmeshed them in a planned cultural landscape that reflects their cosmology and that intentionally reproduces a portion of the landscape at Chaco Canyon. Aztec North differs from its fellow great houses in a number of ways, most significantly in its unusual adobe construction, but also in its terrace siting and broad viewsheds. Research suggests that Aztec North, built around 1100 AD, was the earliest great house at Aztec, but how did its construction and occupation reflect the ambitions of new arrivals on this landscape, as well as their political and social relations with Chaco? Exploring the use of high places in greater Chaco and drawing on my ongoing research on surface ceramics from this unexcavated site, my paper considers the significance of Aztec North as a high place within the greater cultural and political landscape of Aztec Ruins and the Chacoan region.

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Chacoan Heights at Aztec Ruins. Michelle Turner. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403954)


Chaco Landscape

Geographic Keywords
North America - Southwest

Spatial Coverage

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

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America