This week’s picture comes to you from Chaco Canyon, in northwestern New Mexico:
This is another scanned slide from about 1980, here showing an overview of Pueblo Bonito and a chart of its construction timeline. Since the inhabitants of Chaco didn’t leave any writing behind, it’s left the interpretation of their architectural remains open to all sorts of supposition. One thing is certain, though — they liked monolithic architecture. Pueblo Bonito (“pretty town”) is the biggest and best-known of the Chaco “great houses,” as well as having been the first to be built — it was occupied from about 828 to 1126 AD. The odd thing about Pueblo Bonito is that in spite of its size, it shows little evidence of habitation — not much in the way of trash, or cooking / heating fires, or the like. As a result, it may have been used either as a ceremonial center, or possibly as some sort of palace / civic building. Or maybe both.
If you’re in an archaeological mood, you might also want to check out this earlier post on a different spot in the canyon.