Archaeologists lament that "no models from ethnography or ethnohistory works for Chaco," and conclude that Chaco remains a "mystery." Declaring Chaco a mystery in effect admits a major failure of Southwestern archaeology -- whose job it is to figure out things like Chaco. Chaco is not a mystery: one model from ethnohistory fits Chaco like a glove, if we broaden our horizons to encompass both ancient Mesoamerica and modern Native American insights. This presentation will discuss how Southwestern archaeology painted itself into a corner on Chaco; and how the evidence strongly indicates that Chaco was something not found in Southwestern ethnography; and offers a suggestion of what Chaco was, really.
Image of Pueblo Bonito in program advertising courtesy of Robert Adams.