Stephen F. Austin State University

The Travel Blog of the history faculty and students of Stephen F. Austin State University.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Chaco Culture National Park

We spent two nights in Chaco Culture National Park near Nageezi, NM.  The park is home to some of the Southwest's most impressive architecture from Ancestral Puebloan civilizations.  In the park we discussed the questions of the foundation of agriculture in human society, the settlement of the southwest, nomadic vs. settled societies, and how historians and archaeologists ask questions about a place like Chaco where we have no written records.  We toured Pueblo Bonito - the absolute center of what they think is a religious ritual complex - as well as visiting the great Kiva at Casa Rinconada.  We were also able to attend presentations by Dr. Ruth Van Dyke on the purpose of ritual, directionality, and religion at Chaco.  We also attended a presentation on the use of natural fibers in the Southwest (such as yucca and bullrushes) for making clothing, sandals, baskets, and many other daily items.

Photos: Top: Student Joe Monreal enjoys 'smores around the campfire at Chaco.  Middle: Students gathered together at Chaco's Pueblo Bonito.  Below: A view of the great Kiva in the central plaza of Pueblo Bonito.

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