Pueblo Bonito

Pueblo Bonito, or "pretty village" in Spanish, is the largest and most famous ruin in Chaco Canyon. Its Navajo name, tse biyaa anii'ahi , means "leaning rock gap" and refers to a sheet of rock that separated from the cliff wall behind it. In 1941 the rock, known as Threatening Rock in English, fell and crushed the northeast portion of the pueblo.

Pueblo Bonito reached five stories in height along its back wall and may have contained as many as 800 rooms. The pueblo was built in stages beginning around 919 AD. During later constuction some of the lower level rooms were filled with trash to better support the upper levels. At its peak in the late 1000's as many as 600 rooms may have been in use.

The interior living rooms were quite large by Anasazi standards and connected by a series of interior doorways, some of them in the characteristic T-shape. There was generally no outside access to the room blocks other than from the central courtyard, which contained two great kivas and was lined by some 37 smaller kivas.

Behind Pueblo Bonito is a series of petroglyphs depicting six-toed feet made in the late 900s or early 1000s. Although the meaning is unknown, extra digit appendages can be found on other Anasazi rock art as well. The lower petroglyph has since been covered with earth and can no longer be viewed by park visitors.

View QuickTime VR Panorama of Pueblo Bonito

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