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  • Writer's pictureAndrei Stoica

Land of the Ancients - Chaco Canyon

Chaco Canyon Overview Map

Chaco Canyon is one of the largest and best preserved Paleo sites in North America, located in northern New Mexico.

Today an UNESCO World Heritage Center and a National Historical Park, the Chaco Canyon civilization has seen its best of times between 850 and 1250 AD, being home to a large number of people, but also a major trade hub. Grand ceremonial sites can be found throughout the canyon and they speak about the inhabitants and their life.

Pueblo Bonito is the largest ruin to be found in Chaco Canyon, being studied and restored to a great extent during the 1920's by National Geographic teams of archaeologists.

Pueblo Bonito

There are many great "kivas" (circular places built for ceremonial gatherings) around the canyon, some near the great houses, but some far out in the field.

Pueblo Bonito - Kiva

The original roofs and floors of two story building are all gone now, but you can still see where the ceiling beams once stood...

Pueblo Bonito - Ceiling beams

One of the most photographed features in Pueblo Bonito is a series of aligned doorways connecting rooms in some of the larger houses. Having spent a few hours here, it was interesting to notice how lighting and colors change throughout the day.

Pueblo Bonito Doorways

Also remarkable is how, later in the day, each room's wall colors alternate from warm gold to blueish grays...

Pueblo Bonito Doorways

Good to know: the Ancients were quite small compared to today's average height. Oh well, I'm not average, but still...

Pueblo Bonito - The Ancients were short :)

Windows are few and pretty small, but this one makes up for size in great views...

Pueblo Bonito - Room with a view

A full moon rises over the canyon walls, time to say good night

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