"Mind the Gap": Social Networks and Chaco Migration Scenarios


Migration plays an important role in archaeologists’ reconstructions of the origins and development of Chaco society. Scenarios include migration from the northern San Juan to Chaco Canyon and other southern San Juan settlements in the 9th-10th centuries; from Chaco to the central San Juan in the 11th-12th centuries; and from the central San Juan to Chaco Canyon in the 12th century. To evaluate possible migration pathways we compiled a database of 1.8 million ceramics from 340 Chacoan great houses and large-scale religious structures, and chipped stone from a subset of these buildings. We apply social network analysis to evaluate the dynamics of inter-site relations from A.D. 800-1300 using a consistent method for dividing assemblages into 50-year intervals. We further assess the directionality and strength of ties by analyzing ceramic technological attributes—including carbon paint, smudging, slip color, and temper types—supplemented by lithic raw materials tied to subregional sources. Results indicate a prominent social gap between the southern and northern San Juan until the 11th century; stronger and earlier ties of Chaco Canyon great houses to those south and west of the canyon; and the establishment of a prominent network pathway along the Great North Road in the early 1000s.

Cite this Record

"Mind the Gap": Social Networks and Chaco Migration Scenarios. Barbara Mills, Matthew Peeples, Jeffery Clark, Leslie Aragon, Thomas Windes. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429421)


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14588