The Chaco connection: Bonito style architecture in outlier communities
AuthorVan Dyke, Ruth Marguerite
AdvisorVivian, R. Gwinn
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractDuring the A.D. tenth through the twelfth centuries, the Chaco Anasazi constructed at least 12 imposing sandstone masonry great houses in Chaco Canyon, in the San Juan Basin of northwestern New Mexico. Bonito style architecture, as defined in part by the canyon great houses, appears in nearly 100 Chacoan outlier communities throughout the greater San Juan Basin. This study employs architectural evidence in an attempt to clarify the nature and scope of the relationship between Chacoan outliers and the sites in Chaco Canyon and to increase understanding of outlier community sociopolitical organization. Bonito style architecture at outliers may have emanated from a central source at Chaco Canyon; the architecture could have been built by migrants from the canyon, by canyon masons, or by locals who went to the canyon to obtain the necessary information. By contrast, the architecture may have been constructed by local community leaders seeking to emulate or compete with neighboring communities. Internal architectural elements presumably could not be replicated by outsiders who lacked access to the information, so "internal" variables such as banded veneers and kiva/room ratio were compared across the outlier data base. If outlier Bonito style architecture had a central, Chaco Canyon source, internal variables were expected to exhibit similarity; if the architecture was constructed under local direction, internal variables were expected to exhibit diversity. The results of the analyses were mixed and suggest that substantial regional diversity is contained under the rubric of the Chacoan "system." Although some outliers may have interacted intensively with Chaco Canyon, others may have interacted rarely with the canyon or not at all. An examination of intra-community architectural variability was designed to assess whether network or corporate power strategies were more likely in outlier communities. Bonito style architecture would best lend itself to communal ritual endemic to many corporate situations. Stein and Lekson's "ritual landscape" idea is the existing model with the most explanatory power given the existing data and results. Bonito style architecture was likely constructed in outliers to act as a ritual setting that facilitated the creation and legitimation of power on the part of local leaders or factions.
Degree ProgramGraduate College