Category Archives: What was Chaco?

Chaco as Altepetl: Secondary States

Instead of Puebloan frames of reference, I suggest that we look at what was happening in ancient North America in those times – the Southwest’s actual context. For example: Chaco. Leading interpretations view Chaco through the lens of Pueblo ethnology. I argue that Pueblo societies developed, historically, in reaction to and rejection of Chaco, after 1300. If that is true (and it is), then we need other, independent, non-Puebloan “triangulation points” to define, delimit, and understand Chaco’s (and the Southwest’s) ancient past. Chaco, I think, should be contextualized by its contemporaries, specifically Mesoamerica in the 9th through 13th centuries (Early and Middle Postclassic periods). Continue reading

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