DECEMBER 19, 1980


Chaco Culture NHP, located in the Four Corners region of New Mexico, is in a remote canyon cut by the Chaco Wash.  In 1949, the University of New Mexico (UNM) deeded adjoining lands to form an expanded Chaco Canyon National Monument.  In return, UNM maintained scientific research rights to the area.  The Monument was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966.  It was expanded into the NHP by addition of 13,000 acres to the area.  In 1987, the park was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.  The park preserves one of the most important pre-Columbian cultural and historical areas in the United States.  From AD 900 to 1150, Chaco Canyon was a major center of culture for the Ancient Pueblo people.  The major complexes built there were the largest buildings in North America until the 19th century.  Climate change around AD 1130 may have led to the canyon’s abandonment.  The sites are considered sacred ancestral homelands by the Hopi and Pueblo people.  

Sources:  “A Brief History of Chaco Culture National Historical Park,” Chaco Culture, National Park Service.  Retrieved 7/23/2019, Wikipedia
Photo:  National Park Service. Date unknown.  Public Domain.  Photograph taken by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the US Code

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