The Mesa Verde Region: Chaco's Northern Neighbor
Lipe, William D.
MetadataShow full item record
In public perceptions of Southwestern archaeology, two images compete for attention-Pueblo Bonito, its massive masonry walls rising above the floor. of Chaco Canyon in New Mexico, and Cliff Palace, its many rooms clustered under the canyon rim at Mesa Verde in Colorado. Both of these iconic sites are in the drainage basin of the San Juan River, an area of more than thirty thousand square miles that nurtured the growth and florescence of early Puebloan culture between about 500 and 1300 CE. Chaco Canyon is located on one of the southern tributaries of the San Juan, whereas the Mesa Verde culture area occupies the northern part of the drainage basin, extending across parts of southwestern Colorado, northeastern New Mexico, and southeastern Utah. This area has large tracts of wind-deposited soil that can be productively dry farmed (that is, watered by direct rainfall alone). The Pueblo communities of the Mesa Verde region knew about, interacted with, and were affected by the growth and decline of the major Chacoan centers at Chaco Canyon and, later, Aztec.