"THERE IS NO OTHER PLACE LIKE CHACO"
A few go there and find it to be a remote, harsh, oppressive place, and leave quickly. Others feel a subtle yet unmistakable power and force captured within the canyon walls. This was the Center Place, where it all started. Here, an Anasazi civilization once thrived, whose sphere of influence extended a hundred miles and more in all directions. What happened here nine hundred years ago is commonly referred to as the Chaco phenomenon. By 900 A.D., Chaco's population was growing and compact masonry pueblos were being built. Chaco's most active building period began around 1030 A.D. and continued at a frenzied pace for several decades. Pueblo Bonito, Chetro Ketl, Pueblo del Arroyo, Pueblo Alto, and other structures were focal points of an Anasazi power center. By 1115 A.D., this power was manifested at scores of outlying communities, most of them marked by a Chacoan great house, roadway, great kiva and other special features. The great houses were used as trading posts, others as domiciles of powerful overlords, but all once had a religious and ceremonial dimension. Around 1140 A.D., the Chaco empire fell apart. The outliers were abandoned first, then the canyon. The collapse coincided with diminished regional precipitation.
© Scenic Vista Photography