The Architecture of Chaco Canyon, New Mexico

The structures of Chaco Canyon, built by native peoples between AD 850 and 1130, are among the most compelling ancient monuments on earth. Recognized as a World Heritage Site, these magnificent ruins are consistently featured in scholarly books and popular media. Yet, like Chaco itself, these buildings are anomalous in Southwestern archaeology and much debated.

In a century of study, our understanding and means of approaching these ruins have grown considerably. Important tree-ring dating, GIS research, and computer imaging point to the need for a new volume on Chaco architecture that unifies older information with the new.

The chapters in this volume focus on Chaco Great Houses and consider three overlapping themes: studies of technology and building types, analyses of architectural change, and readings of the built environment. To aid reconsideration there are over 150 maps, floor plans, elevations, and photos, including a number of color illustrations.

Stephen H. Lekson is associate professor of anthropology and curator of anthropology, Museum of Natural History, University of Colorado, Boulder.

Table of Contents:

Table of Contents:
List of Illustrations
List of Tables

1. Introduction - Stephen H. Lekson
2. Great House Form - Stephen H. Lekson
3. Gearing Up and Piling On: Early Great Houses in the Interior San Juan Basin - Thomas C. Windes
4. Great Kivas in Time, Space, and Society - Ruth M. Van Dyke
5. Architecture Studies of Pueblo Bonito: The Past, the Present, and the Future - Jill E. Neitzel
6. The Changing Faces of Chetro Ketl - Stephen H. Lekson, Thomas C. Windes, and Patricia Fournier
7. Building Social History at Pueblo Bonito: Footnotes to a Biography of Place - Wendy Ashmore
8. Revisiting Downtown Chaco - John Stein, Richard Friedman, Taft Blackhorse, and Richard Loose
9. The Primary Architecture of the Chacoan Culture: A Cosmological Expression - Anna Sofaer


Praise and Reviews:

"The Architecture of Chaco Canyon, New Mexico is a work of superb scholarship and a highly recommended contribution to any academic library's Native American Studies and pre-Columbian archaeology studies reference collections."--Midwest Book Review

"This volume gives new insights and perspectives that bring us much closer to the answers than ever before."—American Archaeology

"Introduces readers to the formal attributes of Chacoan great houses, great kivas, rectangular and round rooms, room suites, walls, and plazas. A valuable resource for architects and landscape architects interested in Native American built environments. At the same time, it provides significant new information for Chaco scholars and for Native Americans who claim Chaco Canyon as an ancestral place."—Traditional Buildings and Settlements Review