How Connected Was the Chaco World? A Social Network Perspective

Chaco Canyon was at the center of what archaeologists refer to as the ‘Chaco World,’ which includes hundreds of great houses and great kivas across a vast landscape. Based on ceramic data collected as part of the Chaco Social Networks Project and using a social network approach, it is now possible to look at how the Chaco World was connected over its 300-year history in 50-year intervals. We will look at when Pueblo Bonito became central, the extent to which outlying great houses and great kivas were connected to each other and to Chaco Canyon, and the impact of the Aztec Complex’s ascendancy on the network. The results allow us to evaluate several scenarios for migration into and out of Chaco Canyon as well as how different ‘hubs’ of connectivity developed in surrounding areas. This relational approach provides a macro-scale picture of the historical trajectory of one of the most iconic areas of the Southwest.