May 23, 2017
A New Generation of Reseach at Chaco Canyon
A new generation of Chaco Culture studies is underway. The impetus for this is a study of a burial at Pueblo Bonito, which included turquoise, shell, and the skeleton of a man buried there between 800-850 CE. Boxes of human bones from Chaco were packed away and carted to various museums decades ago. A researcher is now re-uniting the bones into whole bodies again. As the skeletons were re-assembled, signs of disease like syphilis and TB have been uncovered. Bodies were manipulated with bones placed in very unusual ways.
Recent research concludes that a dynasty based on a maternal line ruled at Chcaco for 330 years, and recent research also points to the idea that the local inhabitants built the large Chaco structures, and not more experienced outsiders. Individuals with six toes were apparently very important as evidenced in the Chaco art work. There is clear evidence of Chaco trading 2000 miles to the south and 50 miles to the west and south.
Room 33 at Pueblo Bonito shows individuals, probably rulers, were buried in layers over 300 years in time. The dates for the emergence of complex society at Chaco have now been pushed back to 900 CE, 200 years earlier than thought. Dental analysis from 61 individuals at Pueblo Bonito shows that folks there were eating plants, animals and water from local sources. This strengthens the idea that the local Chacoans built their own complex society. Wood for the structures came largely from the Zuni Mountains, 75 kilometers to the south, and the Chuska Mountains, about the same distance to the west of Chaco Canyon, provided 70 percent of the more than 240,000 trees that were used for roof beams, doorframes and other features of Chaco great houses. Residue on Pueblo Bonito jars and pitchers comes from a chocolate beverage made from cacao that grew in Mesoamerica. Scarlet macaws from Mesoamerica appear at Chcao at 800 CE.
Once Chaco collapsed in 1300 CE, the people lived in small communities around clans based on maternal descent.
Earlier reports on all of these findings can be found at my web sites;
Mike Ruggeri’s Aztlan World
Mike Ruggeri’s Casas Grandes World Magazine
Science News has the report here;