The Mesa Verde Region During Chaco Times
Although the communities of the Mesa Verde region were largely self-sufficient economically, they were never isolated from events taking place elsewhere in the Southwest. This was especially true in the Pueblo II period, from 900 to 1150 CE. The Mesa Verde people watched from a distance as complex communities dominated by monumental “great houses” developed in Chaco Canyon to the south. As time went on, they became increasingly involved with Chaco, and a small Chaco-style great house came to be a central feature of many Mesa Verde communities. Then, in the early 1100s a massive great-house complex was built at Aztec, in what is now northwestern New Mexico. It signaled that the seat of Chacoan influence and power had moved north to the Totah area, in the southern part of the Mesa Verde region (see map, p. viii). Despite being drawn into the large-scale Chacoan system, the Mesa Verde people maintained their distinctive culture, inventing new ways of doing things while continuing long-standing traditions.