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Chaco Wood Project Records

Identifier: Coll 0015

Scope and Contents

Scope and Contents:

Contains wood documentation forms, architecture recording forms, tree ring lab data, reports, field notes, site drawings, maps, correspondence, memos, administrative papers, electronic records on CD-R and/or other media.

*Note for 0015/002.005 suggests Tom Windes' papers were digitized.


  • 1919-2009 (bulk dates: 1985-2007)


Biographical / Historical


The Chaco Wood Project was begun in 1985 to examine the complexities of dating the occupation of Pueblo Bonito brought about by the reuse of construction wood by the Chacoans themselves and by subsequent reuse of construction timbers for site stabilization in historic times. The final research goals were to understand wood procurement strategies and forest depletion. Documentation of changes through time in the choice of certain species and tree sizes was sought as a means of interpreting social behavior at the greathouses. In addition to Pueblo Bonito, The Chaco Wood Project focused on other greathouse ruins in the Chacoan region that are identified by large and numerous rooms, are typically of multistory construction, and exhibit some of the finest masonry in North America. Before the Chaco Wood project, the majority of specimens were collected in the 1920s during Judd's excavations. For the next 40 years only a trickle of samples were retrieved from Pueblo Bonito. The unsystematic collection of these samples biased the interpretation of chronology at the site. The results from Pueblo Bonito allowed a number of new interpretations. The initial construction of the site can be pushed back into the mid-ninth century. The dramatic shifts in wood species mark the spread of procurement activities from local to distant resources, with increasingly greater uniformity of wood selection through time. Most important, the data on wood use in conjunction with climatic reconstructions suggest that all but one of the major construction events were linked to periods of wetter than normal conditions. The exception, which integrates construction at a number of greathouses with prehistoric road use, may signal Chaco Canyon's emergence as a regional center.


7.9 Linear Feet

Language of Materials




Organized into 5 series:

001: Park Records

002: Tom Windes Records

003: Reports and Papers

004: Research

005: Photographs


Provenance: Chaco Culture National Historical Park, NPS

Related Materials

0022/007 - Chetro Ketl Backfill Maps
Finding Aid for Chaco Wood Project Records
Coll 0015
Chaco Culture National Historical Park, National Park Service
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the NPS Chaco Culture National Historical Park Repository

Chaco Culture NHP & Aztec Ruins NM Museum & Archives Program
Hibben Center Rm 307 - MSC01 1050
450 University Blvd NE
Albuquerque NM 87106 USA