Canyon, the great Ancestral Pueblo site of the eleventh and twelfth
centuries, remains a central problem of Southwestern archaeology.
Chaco, with its monumental “great houses,” was the center
of a vast region marked by “outlier” great houses. The
canyon itself has been investigated for over a century, but only a few
of the more than 200 outlier great houses — key to understanding
Chaco and its times — have been excavated.
This volume explores the Chaco and post-Chaco eras in the northern San
Juan area through extensive excavations at the Bluff Great House, a
major Chaco “outlier” in Utah.
Bluff’s massive great house, great kiva, and earthen berms are
described and compared to other great houses in the northern Chaco
region. Those assessments support intriguing new ideas about the Chaco
region and the effect of the collapse of Chaco Canyon on “outlying”
New insights from the Bluff Great House clarify the construction and
use of great houses during the Chaco era and trace the history of great
houses in the generations after Chaco’s decline.
An innovative comparative study of the northern and southern portions
of the Chaco world (the northern San Juan area around Bluff and the
Cibola area around Zuni) leads to new ideas about population
aggregation and regional abandonment in the Southwest.
Appendixes on CD-ROM present details and descriptions of artifacts
recovered from Bluff: ceramics, projectile points, pollen analyses,
faunal remains, bone tools, ornaments, and more.
The Bluff Great House is one of only a handful of reports on Chacoan
great houses in the northern San Juan region. The book provides an
in-depth study of the Chaco era and clarifies the relationship of
“outlying” great houses to Chaco Canyon. Research at the
Bluff Great House begins to answer key questions about the nature of
Chaco and its region, and the history of the northern San Juan in the
Chaco and post-Chaco worlds.
Chaco and After in
the Northern San Juan
Excavations at the Bluff Great House
by Catherine M. Cameron
University of Arizona Press,