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The Chaco Wood Project: The Chronometric Reappraisal of Pueblo Bonito

  • Thomas C. Windes (a1) and Dabney Ford (a2)

The inventory and analysis of 4,294 pieces of wood remaining in Pueblo Bonito are described. This site, long a keystone for interpreting the Chacoan Phenomenon in the San Juan Basin of northwestern New Mexico, reveals a fascinating history in the procurement, use, and reuse of wood through time. The long use of the site portrays a complex picture of wood procurement for construction from the A.D. 800s through the early A.D. 1100s, and its reuse in both prehistoric and historic times. Major construction periods are tree-ring dated to the mid-A.D. 800s, between A.D. 1047 and 1049, and between A.D. 1077 and 1082. Many of the construction events appear causally related to decade-long wet periods, when food surplus could accumulate. The use of wood at Pueblo Bonito mirrors a larger system of cultural behavior important for our interpretation of the development and demise of the Chacoan system.


Este artículo describe un inventario y análisis de los 4,294 tragmentos de madera todavía existentes en Pueblo Bonito. Este sitio, la clave de la interpretatión del Fenómeno de Chaco en la Cuenca del Río San Juan en el noroeste de Nuevo México, revela una historia fascinante sobre la obtención uso, y reuso de madera. El uso prolongado del sitio proporciona un imagen de la obtención de madera para constructión desde d.C. 800 hasta principios de d.C. 1100, y el reuso de la madera en épocas históricas y prehistóricas. Los períodos de constructión de más importancia son fechados usando el método de dendrocronología desde mediados de d.C. 800, entre d.C. 1047y 1049, y entre d.C. 1077y 1082. Muchos de los eventos de constructión parecen tener una relatión causal con períodos de mucha lluvia que duraron decenios, cuando la gente de Chaco podria acumular alimentos. El uso de madera refleja un sistema más grande de conducta cultural, el cual es importante en la interpretatión del desarrollo y caída del sistema Chaco.

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American Antiquity
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