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Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Canyon National Park, New Mexico

The Ancestral Pueblo built some of the most recognizable dwellings in North America which eventually became the hallmark of the American Southwest landscape and cultural heritage. One of the ancient ruins that dot the barren landscape of New Mexico is the Pueblo Bonito complex located in the Chaco Canyon National Park. Pueblo Bonito (or beautiful village in Spanish) was constructed around 825 AD by the Ancestral Pueblo people (Anasazi). These free-standing structures evolved from the pit-houses that were once popular during the Basketmaker Eras. The complex was rediscovered during the 19th century, and excavations on the 2-acre site started in 1896 and ended only in 1927. The Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Canyon National Park, New Mexico is recorded on the Biblical Timeline Chart with World History between 915 – 1130 AD.

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Pueblo_Bonito
“Pueblo Bonito is the largest great house in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico.”

The settlement of the Pueblo Bonito area started around 825-850 AD, and the first of the Great Houses was also constructed during this period. The largest Great House contained around eight-hundred rooms plus a number of kivas (rooms used for religious ceremonies), while a typical house in Pueblo Bonito only had as much as six rooms and a kiva. These houses were constructed in different geometric shapes, but some of the most predominant house were circular, rectangular, or oval in shape.

The Pueblo Bonito construction was divided into two stages: Old Bonito and Late Bonito. Old Bonito started around 825 AD and featured crude masonry, while the D-shaped plan of the Pueblo (with as much as 499 rooms) was completed around the Late Bonito period (1011 to 1126). The D-shaped Pueblo Bonito complex could support around 500 people at one time. Some of the rooms were used as administrative halls by the village leaders, storage rooms, and monuments. Construction of the Great Houses reached its peak during the eleventh century, but the number of Great Houses declined around 1130.

References:
Picture By James Q. JacobsOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30405192
Cremin, Aedeen., ed. The World Encyclopedia of Archaeology. Buffalo, NY: Firefly Books, 2007.
Lekson, Stephen H., ed. The Architecture of Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2007.
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