Fajada Butte

Chaco Culture National Historical Park in Chaco Canyon

Chaco Culture National Historical Park is a United States National Historical Park hosting the densest and most exceptional concentration of pueblos in the American Southwest.  The park is located in northwestern New Mexico, between Albuquerque and Farmington, in a remote canyon cut by Chaco Wash.  The park preserves one of the United States' most important pre-Columbian cultural and historical areas [Wikipedia].  Chaco Canyon is on the Trail of the Ancients, a trail of highways and roads in Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico, dedicated to archaeology and culture, highlighting the archaeological and cultural history of southwestern Native Americans, also known as ancestral Puebloans.  (Anasazi is not a preferred name by some Native Americans)

Chaco Culture National Historical Park has offered a strong astronomy component in its public interpretive programs since 1991.  John Sefick's suggestion of relocating his observatory into the Park was well received by Park officials, and he moved it into the Park in March, 1998.  Chaco Observatory was dedicated on May 30, 1998 and immediately began an outreach program to Park visitors.  The Park became the world's newest International Dark Sky Park on August 19, 2013.  Select menu option Observatory for more information.

The computer reconstruction image of Pueblo Bonito from the Solstice Project at Pagan Space is an interesting view of how the pueblo may have looked anciently.  We have twenty photos of the ruins in Chaco Canyon, and hundreds may be viewed at Mark Hinton's  globe Ah, Wilderness! blog.

View Photos is an auto-show of the Chaco Canyon photos in the Photo Gallery.  The Observatory's night sky threatened by Chaco Oil & Gas?  The Chaco roads map of pre-historic roads has incorrect road numbers.  US160 turns northeast at Teec Nos Pos west of the Arizona border, joining US666 (491) on the way to Cortez, Colorado.  US666 was created in 1926 as spur #6 off US66 - there were only 5 spurs, it should have been created as US560.  US666 was renumbered US491 in 2003 because of the belief by some that 666 is the Mark of the Beast, and because there were an inodinate number of fatal acidents (I have often driven that road - it's driver error, not the beast, that causes those accidents).  The road from Teec Nos Pos through Shiprock, Farmington, and Bloomfield (the junction near Salmon Ruin) and on east that is labelled US550 is US64.  US550 comes from Colorado through Aztec and Bloomfield and replaces Colorado 44 through Cuba.  And, finally, Colorado 57 through Chaco Culture is now Colorado 317.  This Prehistoric-Roads map has better road numbers (still has US666) but does not have all of the prehistoric roads on the other map.

Ancient alien theorists claim that extraterrestrials with superior knowledge of science and engineering landed on Earth thousands of years ago, sharing their expertise with early civilizations.  They cite as evidence the incredible construction here in the southwestern US puebloan area and other places on earth like Easter Island, Stonehenge, and the pyramids, and their alignment with solstices and constellations.