After years of intensive research, Chaco Canyon, located in a desolate region of northwestern New Mexico, leaves us with more questions than answers. A unique feature in the construction of many of the pueblos is that they were aligned not only with the movements of the sun, but also the 18 1/2 year lunar cycle.
No other civilization is known to have accomplished this. Some 200 miles of straight roads 24- to 36-feet wide were built with raised beds, bridges, stairways and ramps. For the most part, these roads led to nowhere. For many years the theory prevailed that the “Chaco Phenomenon” existed as the distribution center for a large trading network. Colorful parrot feathers, copper bells and seashells from up to 3,000 miles away have been found in the ruins.
Huge pueblos, known as “Great Houses” are the distinguishing feature of a culture that flourished in this area starting around 850 AD and continued until 1250 AD. Ten massive structures, some four stories high, had approximately 3,000 rooms. Pueblo Bonito was the size of the Roman Coliseum