A long planned visit to Chaco Canyon was recently realized. It was everything I had read about, anticipated and more.
Chaco Culture National Historical Park is a United States National Historical Park hosting the densest and most exceptional concentration of pueblos in the American Southwest.
The sites are considered sacred ancestral homelands by the Hopi and Pueblo people, who maintain oral accounts of their historical migration from Chaco and their spiritual relationship to the land.
Link to objects from the Chaco Culture National Historical Park museum collections.
"Chaco Canyon was the center of a thriving culture a thousand years ago. The monumental scale of its architecture, the complexity of its community life, the high level of its community social organization, and its far-reaching commerce created a cultural vision unlike any other seen before or since."
From a 1930 Department of the Interior publication, "Glimpses of Our National Monuments":
"As examples of primitive architectural skill the 18 major ruins of Chaco Canyon National Monument, N. Mex., are without equal in the United States. Together with the cultural material recovered from their abandoned rooms, these ruins represent the very zenith of pueblo civilization in prehistoric times. No other archeological area in the entire Southwest exhibits so high a development. The ancient inhabitants of Chaco Canyon left no written record; no interpretable hieroglyphic system. The first published description of the Chaco Canyon ruins is that of Lieut. J. H. Simpson, in 1850; the second, that of W. H. Jackson, in 1879. Mexican and Indian guides accompanying Simpson gave the ruins the names by which they are now known."