Notes from the North
As I understand it, my role in the Chaco capstone effort is to serve as a "synthetic scholar" (presumably as opposed to the authentic ones who really know something about Chaco) who can comment on the Chaco phenomenon from the vantage point of an adjacent area, in this case, the Northern San Juan or Mesa Verde region (figure 8.1). I address four topics here. First, I discuss ow the developments centered at Chaco Canyon employed architectural symbolism derived from some basic cultural patterns widely resent in both the northern and southern portions of the San Juan drainage. Wilshusen and Van Dyke (chapter 7 of this volume) develop aspects of this theme in greater detail. Second, I provide some archaeological context for the expansion of the Chacoan Great Houses stem north of the San Juan, including what succeeded it there. Third, because I have been given an opening, I add my two cents worth on how the Chaco system might have worked during its florescent period, from about A.D. 1040 to 1135. This is the period in which Great House building projects grew in scale, Great House architecture became much ore formalized and elaborate, Chacoans imported large quantities of construction timbers and other materials into Chaco Canyon and Aztec, and numerous communities occurring over a very large area of the upland Southwest built Chaco-style Great Houses. Fourth, I comment on whether the Chacoan sociocultural system or something like it continued to be important in the Northern San Juan after the early A.D. 11OOs.