of the largest single prehistoric buildings constructed by the Anasazi
still stands today, reminding us of the First American’s amazing engineering
skills. This structure is called Pueblo Bonito and is now protected
in the Chaco Cultural National Historic Park in New Mexico, standing
as a lasting example of Anasazi engineering, religious, and trade practices.
huge D-shaped building stands in Chaco Canyon, a sandstone-lined wash
with a small creek that seems so dry and remote today that it would
be impossible to support the large population suggested by the size
of this ruin. Built and rebuilt in several phases over three generations,
Pueblo Bonito covers three acres, has 600 rooms and once rose five stories
in height. Inside the arcing back wall of the pueblo, a cluster of stepped
levels from one story in the front to five stories in the back, held
the 600 rooms. Also inside the D-shaped pueblo were three great kivas,
and 30 small kivas. This was not an easy structure to build. Sources
for the wood may have come from over 60 miles away, and the labor to
cut, carry, and place the millions of tons of local rock still amazes
lived here? Why did they build this amazing city?
it really a city – or was it something else?
did they build it? And where did they go?
Lived Here and How Did They Build It?
once thought that up to 6,000 people might have lived here, but recent
discoveries are changing our understanding of this beautiful and mysterious
place. Inside Pueblo Bonito, several generations of stonemasons built,
tore down, and rebuilt the thick stone and mortar walls.
engineers understood how to build a double walled foundation, how to
fill the two three-foot-apart walls with stone rubble and mortar, and
that such a solid lower wall was the only way to be able to build vertically
up to five stories in height. From these thick lower walls, the building
rose up with tapering walls they grew narrower towards the top, to help
lessen the weight of the upper stories on the lower story.
built the 600 rooms and 33 kivas from stone using different masonry
styles in different generations, learning and improving each generation.
They doorways between rooms, the rafters of Douglas fir and pinewood
brought from up to 60 miles away, are still visible today.
by the Anasazi, who were the Ancestral Puebloans, Pueblo Bonito reminds
is of the great knowledge and abilities of the First Americans.
was Pueblo Bonito Built?
#1 – The Great Kiva Mystery
a Kiva Ceremony
#2 – The Chacoan Road System
#3 – Fajada Butte
and Chaco Canyon