Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Culture National Historical Park, New Mexico
© Ian Shive/Tandem Stills + Motio
If these walls could talk.... Chaco Culture National Historical Park, New Mexico
These circular walls belong to Pueblo Bonito, one of the biggest great homes in Chaco Culture National Historical Park, New Mexico. Between around 850 CE and 1250 CE, Chaco Canyon became a major cultural center for the Ancestral Puebloans, who lived in what is now known as the Four Corners region.
With long winters, little rain, and short growing seasons, the high desert wasn't the easiest place to live but the Pueblo people found ways to thrive here. Today, the park offers a glimpse into an ancient culture's traditions and way of life. The site is home to remnants of prehistoric ceremonial and massive stone buildings, called great houses. Pueblo Bonito, pictured on our homepage, took decades to build and stood four or five stories tall with more than 600 rooms. It would have been used for ceremonies, commerce, astronomy, hospitality, and more. Eventually, Chaco's influence declined, and the people moved on. These ruins are a window onto its glorious past, at the heart of an ancient civilization.