Shadows of Chaco Canyon

Chaco Canyon

Chaco Canyon has a subtle, patient beauty, a spiritual quietness that welcomes those willing to adapt.  It is a special place where the earth and sky touch, where the natural order of the heavens is honored on the earth below.  Between 800 A.D. and 1130 A.D., the people of Chaco built grand roadways:

Great North Road: The Great North Road runs within one/half of one degree of true north for 31 miles, incorporating massive land cuts, stairways, and ramps.  There are often two and sometimes four parallel roads.  Much of the Great North Road is a precise 9 meters across, approximately 29.5 feet, and wider than modern two lane roads.  Parallel road segments may have ceremonial significance, as one segment will often exhibit signs of more use.  The artifacts found along the North road tend to be ceremonial in nature—such as highly decorated jars—while artifacts found along the South road tend to be of a more utilitarian design.  These parallel segments are found along both the North and South roads.

The roads are widest when approaching the Great Houses, perhaps partly to increase the dramatic effect of approaching such grand buildings.  Other roads farther away from the main canyon are often half the width, narrowing to 2 meters in remote areas where difficult terrain merits conservancy.  Excavated areas, raised roadways, ramps, and stairways exhibit the same pattern, seldom appearing in roads further away from the Great Houses.  Why were such massive construction projects undertaken by a society that didn’t have the wheel?  Perhaps the lanes were ceremonial in nature.


The Storyteller,  The Shaman, The Senior Astronomer, The Trickster, Kee The Watcher, The Women, The Witch

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