SIA2600: Chacoan Stairway

Photographer:Calvin J. Hamilton
Copyright:Copyright 2007 Calvin J. Hamilton
Date:25 July 2007
Location:Chaco Culture Historical Park, New Mexico

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The stairway at the top of the cliff is part of the Chacoan "road" system. The roads linked the great houses in the core of Chaco Canyon to far-off communities. This road segment connected Tsin Kletzin on South Mesa with Chetro Ketl in the canyon, Pueblo Alto to the north, and many distant communities.

The roads were planned, surveyed, and engineered 30 feet wide. Whenever Chacoan road builders encoutered a cliff, stairways or ramps were constructed to continue to straight road alignments. Stairways rise near many great houses and connect the buildings to roads leading north, east, south, and west.

The roads may have been used to direct travelers to Chaco for ceremonies and trading. Roads may have symbolically connected distant communities to Chaco – the center of their world.

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