CHACOAN CHRONOLOGY

Tom Windes


  Numerous chronologies for the Chacoan Period in the San Juan Basin exist, which poses confusing and vexing problems for students of Chacoan archaeology. The table presented here gives structure to the latest thinking of time, phases, and major cultural historical events. Earlier phases assigned to Chacoan archaeology by Gladwin, Gordon Vivian, and others, which were based on architectural traits overlapping in time, have been discarded. While the present chart is not tight and concise, it does provide a framework that should be useable to the participants in this roundhouse on Chaco. Note that the framework is segmented more than normal to try to encorporate changes seen in the archaeological record with a temporal framework that does not quite fit into the Pecos Classification. This framework should be considered a working model to improve communication and discussion of the Chacoan Phenomenon.

Pecos ClassChaco Project PhasesPeriod A.D.Ceramic Assemblage
(dominant types)
Major Architectural eventsOther events
Late PIIIMesa Verde1200-1300Mesa Verde B/w, indented corrugated (rock & sherd)   Major re-population
PIIIMcElmo1140-1200McElmo, indented corrugated (rock/sherd/sand)   Major depopulation/severe drought
Early PIIILate Bonito1090-1140Chaco-McElmo/Gallup B/w, indented corrugated (sand)Major greathouse constr. north of San Juan RiverMajor population increase, then decrease
Late PIIClassic Bonito1040-1100Gallup B/w, indented corrugated (sand & trachyte)Major greathouse constr.Major depopulation. Varied climate:drought, major surplus
PIIEarly/Classic Bonito1000-1100   Kivas appear.  
Early PIIEarly Bonito900-1040Red Mesa B/w, narrow neckbanded (sand).Small-house aggregation & sharp number increase. Greathouses appear in numbers in San Juan Basin Major population rise, rise of turquoise industry/crafts, corn ubiquitous in sites. Water control systems appear.
Late PI-Early PIIEarly Bonito875-925Kiatuthlanna & Red Mesa B/w, Lino Gray & Kana'a NeckbandedAbove ground slab house sites; small to moderate size?Shift from dry to wet period.
PIWhite Mound800-875Whitemound B/w, Lino GrayClassic above ground slab row house sites; small to moderate size.1st greathouses appear.Major increase in storage facilities
Early PIWhite Mound700-800Whitemound B/w, Lino GrayDeep pithouses, dispersed.Sparse storage facilities?
Late BMIIILa Plata600-700La Plata B/w, Lino & Obelisk GraysShallow pithouses, dispersed.Moderate storage facilities (surface cists)
BMIIILa Plata500-600La Plata B/w, Lino & Obelisk GraysShallow pithouses. Two aggregated great communities with great kivas appear.Moderate storage facilities (surface cists)
Late BMIIbrownware400-500Obelisk Gray & brownwareUnknown.Unknown.
Archaic--pre 1ADnoneUnknown.Unknown.



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