Squash, Pumpkins, Beans, Corn

The Anasazi lived off the “package” of Corn, Beans, Squash, supplemented with wild game and foraged foods.

In “downtown” Chaco Canyon, two large, intriguing mounds in front of Pueblo Bonito were expected to yield archaeological gold in the form of chronologically layered household rubbish. But these mounds (middens), typically found at Anasazi ruins, surprised the excavators when they yielded little but construction debris. If this was a Great House, then where was the household trash dump?

But was Pueblo Bonito intended to be inhabited, and if so, by whom, and how many? And regardless of its purpose, why was it built under a dangerous cliff with a large portion ominously poised to come crashing down? If the consensus is that Pueblo Bonito was not primarily a residential building, then what was its purpose and function? Perhaps it was a ceremonial center, reserved for rituals and ceremonies. Possibly, Pueblo Bonito was a center for trade and commerce. Fragments of tantalizing evidence hint at possibilities, without delivering any conclusive proof.

“We have a lot of facts, but we can’t agree on what Chaco was…there are a staggering range of interpretations [of the Chaco mystery]…But something of an embarrassment: we’ve been digging around Chaco for over a century, and we have plenty of data, so we should be able to solve that mystery. As archaeologists, that’s what we are paid to do.”.

Construction was neither consistent nor linear at Pueblo Bonito; it progressed in fits and starts spanning nearly two centuries, representing many generations of architects and workers. Were these builders part of the same genetic lineage, or were there fluctuating populations moving in and out of the canyon?