Rinconada_UnaVida

This page contains images of a number of the complexes in the Chaco Canyon area.

Casa Rinconada is an enormous isolated Great Kiva located atop a ridge on the South
side of the canyon opposite Pueblo Bonito. It is not associated with a Great House, but it
has two antechambers and some connected rooms. Nearby are a cluster of small houses
(BC 50 through BC 59), which were built during the same period as Pueblo Bonito. BC 50
(Tseh So) was begun in the late Basketmaker III period (late 800s to 900 AD) and was built
atop an earlier group of Basketmaker Pit Houses. Images of  BC 50 (Tseh So) and BC 51
(mid-10th c. to 12th c.) small houses are displayed in the section below Casa Rinconada.

Una Vida (One Life) is one of the earliest Great Houses, built between 860 and 1100. It is
mostly in unexcavated condition (although a few rooms were excavated, they were backfilled
to preserve the site), so it looks much as it did when the Washington Expedition first arrived in
the Canyon in 1849. It stands in the Fajada Gap area, and is overlooked by a cliff face which
has well-preserved Anasazi petroglyphs. Hungo Pavi is an unexcavated Great House built
during the late 900s to early 1000s at Mockingbird Canyon near Pueblo Bonito. I have
included a few images of Hungo Pavi below the section on Una Vida Great House.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Indian Lands & Anasazi Sites Collection where a Gallery can be selected.

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There are 14 Sections in the Photoshelter Indian Lands & Anasazi Sites Collection

Direct Links:

The Chaco Culture Anasazi Complex Collection
(8 Galleries):

Chetro Ketl                           Hungo Pavi
Miscellaneous                     Petroglyphs
Pueblo del Arroyo           Pueblo Bonito
Rinconada                               Una Vida

Indian Lands Select
(150 Selected images)

Anasazi and Fremont Petroglyphs

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Casa_Rinconada_Great_Kiva_5230


Casa Rinconada Great Kiva 5230
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Casa Rinconada Great Kiva: North T-shaped Door and Summer Solstice Window.

Sunk into a ridge on the South side of Chaco Canyon opposite Pueblo Bonito is an
enormous Great Kiva called Casa Rinconada. The name is based on its position near
a rincon (Spanish for inside corner, in this usage: a bend in a mountain or a box canyon).

Casa Rinconada is the largest excavated Great Kiva in Chaco Canyon, with a diameter of
63 feet. It is aligned almost perfectly North-South through the two T-shaped doorways and
it is an nearly perfect circle. The north-south axis, extended, connects to the Great Houses
of Tzin Kletzin and Pueblo Alto. Alignments like this one were common in Chaco Canyon.

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Casa Rinconada Great Kiva Detail 5229c
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The North T-shaped Entrance and Summer Solstice Window. Around the lower section of the wall are 28 regularly spaced niches and 6 crypts. On the Summer Solstice, the sun casts a beam from the Window onto one of these crypts. As the Kiva has had some reconstruction, the alignment is questionable.

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Casa Rinconada Great Kiva Detail 5236c
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View through the South T-shaped Door of the North T-shaped Door and Summer Solstice Window. Center left is the 39 foot underground passage. This was possibly used to allow ritual specialists to enter the Great Kiva unseen from the Northern Antechamber. In the foreground is the Firebox and a Vault.

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Casa Rinconada Great Kiva 5234
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Snow in the foreground under the South T-shaped Entrance covers part of the two large
masonry vaults (possibly used as foot-drums) and the central firebox. The subterranean
entrance leads to the six room Northern Antechamber (this shot was taken from the one
room Southern Antechamber). Above the bench, 14 of the 28 niches and two crypts are
seen. Above these are latilla holes, which were used to seat small ceiling crossbeams.

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Casa Rinconada Great Kiva 5222
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The South T-shaped Entrance to Casa Rinconada, with two of the larger crypts and three of the
one-foot cubic niches above the snow-covered bench, with the vaults and firebox in the foreground.

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Casa Rinconada Great Kiva X9658
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The view North across Casa Rinconada to Pueblo Bonito in the background.

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Casa Rinconada Type III Masonry 5227
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Type III masonry on a core-and-veneer sandstone wall of the Northern Antechamber, shot with 50% polarization to increase contrast and color saturation. The image at right (5228) was taken with minimum polarization.

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Casa Rinconada Type III Masonry 5228
(898 KB)

Type III masonry is a rubble core, faced with a dressed tabular sandstone laid in courses of larger stones and thinner tablets. Core-and-veneer masonry is a signature characteristic of the stonework at Chaco (Type II, III, IV and McElmo styles).

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Casa Rinconada North Antechamber 5224
(503 KB)

Detail of the opposite side of the North Antechamber, showing an exposed wall core
on the right and the technique used when facing the walls with the dressed stones.

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While Chaco is best known for its Great Houses such as Pueblo Bonito,
Pueblo del Arroyo and Chetro Ketl, there are far more small house sites in
the canyon. Small houses were the primary living sites for Chaco inhabitants.
Many of the small house sites were built atop earlier structures, or the earlier
buildings were renovated and incorporated into the new structures. These
small houses were contemporaneous with the Great Houses, but many
of the sites had been occupied as early as the Basketmaker III era
(500-750 AD) and were occupied until Chaco was abandoned
at the end of the Pueblo III era (1150-1350 AD). Below are
two excavated small house sites near Casa Rinconada.

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Rinconada BC50 Tseh So 5237
(785 KB)

In 1936-1947, the University of New Mexico conducted archaeological field schools in
Chaco Canyon. Several small house sites were excavated, including BC50 and BC51.
B is the archaeological designation for New Mexico, C is the designation specific to
Chaco Canyon, and 50 designates this site, the 50th mound which was surveyed.

The Navajo name for BC50 is Tseh So, translated as “windows” or “openings”,
named by the Navajo workers for the many openings found during excavations.
Tseh means “rock”, and So means “star” (rock crystal), an analogy for window.

Rinconada_BC50_Tseh_So_5238


Rinconada BC50 Tseh So 5238
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Tseh So had 26 ground floor masonry rooms and four Kivas. It was built atop a Basketmaker III pithouse community, and as can be seen from the cross-sections of the walls, it was built with stone slabs alternating single wall-width and two-slab wide stones in a version of Type I masonry (large, undressed or partially-dressed stones mounted with mud mortar).

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Rinconada BC50 Tseh So 5239
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Two of the four Kivas were of the keyhole-shaped type most commonly seen in northern areas such as Mesa Verde. From ceramic evidence the primary period of occupation was Pueblo II (900-1150), but it was occupied until the canyon was abandoned. Most evidence indicates that small houses were the primary residences of the inhabitants of Chaco Canyon.

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Rinconada BC50 Tseh So 5243
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During the excavations, some substructure components were identified which indicated multi-story architecture.

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Rinconada BC50 Tseh So 5244
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Slabs like the one leaning against the wall showed use as metates for grinding corn. These were used along with a bin.

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Rinconada BC51 5246
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BC51 lies just east of BC50. These became the “type-sites” defining the Chacoan small-house residences. BC51 was excavated in 1937 (BC50 in 1936), and both were found to have been built atop earlier Basketmaker pithouses. A series of walls were also found which did not correspond to any of the previously-defined Chacoan masonry types, indicating that this site may have been a location where experimentation was done during transition from pithouses to masonry dwellings.

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Rinconada BC51 5252
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BC51 had 45 ground-floor rooms and seven Kivas, and was a very large structure of this building type. The site was dated by tree ring analysis of wood from one of the rooms to the period between 947 and 1043, and it was occupied until the early 1100s. Kivas were of both the keyhole-shaped and circular, indicating influence from northern sites such as Mesa Verde, where keyhole-shaped Kivas are common. Wall murals were found in Kiva 5 and several in Kiva 6 (Keyhole-shaped Kiva).

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Rinconada BC51 5256
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A view across the walls of BC51 small house towards the ridge and Casa Rinconada Great Kiva.

One of the more interesting features of BC50 (Tseh So) and BC51 was the large number of burials
which were found in the rooms. There were burials in some rooms of Pueblo Bonito and Chetro Ketl,
but there were relatively few, and many of them were accompanied by a great number of grave goods
that indicated that they were individuals of great importance. The number of burials in BC 50 and BC51
was far higher than in any other sites in Chaco Canyon, and it is possible that abandoned rooms in the
small houses were used as burial sites. A large number of ceramics, stone hammers and mauls, axes,
metates and manos (corn-grinding tools), mortars and pestles, arrow-shaft smoothing stones and
straightening tools (stones with grooves, coarse for smoothing, fine-grained for polishing and
straightening), knives, projectile points, drills, and perishable artifacts such as baskets and
fabrics, mats, wooden and leather items were discovered in BC50 and BC51 which
greatly contributed to the understanding of the lives of the inhabitants of Chaco
and how they compared to many other ancient sites across the Southwest.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Indian Lands & Anasazi Sites Collection where a Gallery can be selected.

PhotoshelterGallerySection


There are 14 Sections in the Photoshelter Indian Lands & Anasazi Sites Collection

Direct Links:

The Chaco Culture Anasazi Complex Collection
(8 Galleries):

Chetro Ketl                           Hungo Pavi
Miscellaneous                     Petroglyphs
Pueblo del Arroyo           Pueblo Bonito
Rinconada                               Una Vida

Indian Lands Select
(150 Selected images)

Anasazi and Fremont Petroglyphs

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Una_Vida_X9577


Una Vida X9577
(579 KB)

One of the earliest Great Houses in Chaco Canyon is in the Fajada Gap. Una Vida
(One Life, named by Carbajal, a local guide for the Washington Expedition in 1849)
is the fifth largest Great House with about 160 rooms. It was built beginning in 860
(about the same time as Pueblo Bonito), and construction continued until c. 1095.

Una_Vida_5036


Una Vida 5036
(683 KB)

The site was partially excavated in the 1950s, and it was left exposed to allow further examination by the Chaco Project staff until 1979, when it was backfilled to preserve the site.

Una_Vida_5037


Una Vida 5037
(634 KB)

The stones on the left are remains of dry-laid stone hogans of the Navajo who occupied the area after 1868. In the center and at right are remains of Una Vida masonry structures.

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Una Vida X9579
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Part of Una Vida built upon a natural ridge in 860-900 using Type I early masonry techniques.
This technique predated the core-and-veneer styles and is characterized by large undressed
stones laid in overlapping layers with large amounts of mud mortar. Detail of this is below.

Una_Vida_Fajada_Butte_X9582


Una Vida Fajada Butte X9582
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Fajada Butte is in the distance at left and detail of a Type I wall is shown at right. Note the irregular size and placement of the stones in the wall and the large amounts of mortar used.

Una_Vida_Fajada_Butte_X9584


Una Vida Fajada Butte X9584
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The standing wall on the right of this image with the doorway and windows is of Type IV core-and-veneer masonry. A later addition, this wall is shown in detail further below.

Una_Vida_Fajada_Butte_X9581


Una Vida Fajada Butte X9581
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Another scene showing Fajada Butte and early remains of Type I architecture at Una Vida.
The section on the right was shored up later using McElmo masonry (early 1100s), which uses
large blocks of the softer sandstone from the lower cliff walls. This masonry style was brought
to Chaco Canyon from the area near Mesa Verde and is one of the later styles of stonework.

Una_Vida_Type_IV_Wall_5039


Una Vida Type IV Wall 5039
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Detail of the Type IV standing wall with its well-preserved doorway and windows.
Type IV masonry is characterized by the use of relatively uniformly sized tabular stones
from the upper cliffs veneered onto a rubble core with very little mortar, and represents the
pinnacle of the Chacoan Great House stonework for which this culture is best known.

Una_Vida_Walls_and_Tower_5042


Una Vida Walls and Tower 5042
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Another part of the East Wing, also constructed later with Type IV masonry. Note
the relatively uniform size of the stones and the precision with which they were laid.
In the distance is the Una Vida Tower and the earliest walls, made of Type I masonry.

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Una Vida Type IV Wall and Tower X9585
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A detail shot of the Type IV East Wing wall shown above and  facing stones of the doorway, with the Tower in the distance.

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Una Vida Tower X9586
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The Una Vida Tower, part of the earliest construction using Type I masonry with stacked tabular stone and lots of mortar.

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Una Vida Early Walls and Tower 5045
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View of the early walls and Tower in the context of its position on the edge of Chaco Canyon. A detail shot is shown at right.

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Una Vida Early Walls and Tower 5048
(681 KB)

Type I Tower walls shored up with later McElmo masonry, also seen around and above the Type I wall core seen on the right.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Indian Lands & Anasazi Sites Collection where a Gallery can be selected.

PhotoshelterGallerySection


There are 14 Sections in the Photoshelter Indian Lands & Anasazi Sites Collection

Direct Links:

The Chaco Culture Anasazi Complex Collection
(8 Galleries):

Chetro Ketl                           Hungo Pavi
Miscellaneous                     Petroglyphs
Pueblo del Arroyo           Pueblo Bonito
Rinconada                               Una Vida

Indian Lands Select
(150 Selected images)

Anasazi and Fremont Petroglyphs

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Una_Vida_Walls_5074


Una Vida Walls 5074
(675 KB)

This shot shows the East Wing Type IV structure (the wall at right is the one shown earlier).
The edge of the wall shows detail of the core rubble and the veneer of dressed facing stones.

For a detailed look at Chaco masonry, see the pages on Pueblo Bonito, Pueblo del Arroyo, and Chetro Ketl.

Una_Vida_Early_Walls_5051


Una Vida Early Walls 5051
(651 KB)

Detail of the earliest Type I wall shored up with  McElmo masonry. This is the wall next to the Tower, shown earlier.

Una_Vida_Petroglyph_Cliffs_5075


Una Vida Petroglyph Cliffs 5075
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The cliff above Una Vida, which contains the most exceptional Anasazi petroglyphs at Chaco Canyon (detail below).

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Una Vida from Cliffs 5069
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Two views of Una Vida from the Petroglyph Cliffs above.

Una_Vida_from_Cliffs_X9594


Una Vida from Cliffs X9594
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These views give a sense of the size and shape of the site.

Una_Vida_Petroglyphs_X9591


Una Vida Petroglyphs X9591
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Detail of the Petroglyphs on the cliffs above Una Vida. A variety of Zoomorphs
(bird, lizard, dog, sheep, and some abstract zoomorphs) and an anthropomorph
identified by a Hopi expert as a member of the Two-Horn Society holds a spiral.

More images of the petroglyphs are on the Chaco Canyon Petroglyphs page.

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Chaco Canyon from Una Vida 5055
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A view of Chaco Canyon from the Petroglyph Cliffs above Una Vida.

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Hungo Pavi 5082
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Hungo Pavi (Crooked Nose) is an unexcavated Great House at the mouth of Mockingbird Canyon South of Pueblo Bonito.

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Hungo Pavi 5087
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Built in the late 900s to mid-1000s, 140 rooms stood at least three stories at the rear. Single-story rooms faced the plaza.

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Hungo Pavi 5089
(757 KB)

Hungo Pavi stands at the base of a stone stairway leading to the top of the cliff and the Chacoan Road system. This image was taken with minimum polarization.

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Hungo Pavi 5090
(796 KB)

The Hungo Pavi site has remained largely unexcavated to preserve the ruins for later work. This image was taken with 60% polarization to increase contrast and color saturation.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Indian Lands & Anasazi Sites Collection where a Gallery can be selected.

PhotoshelterGallerySection


There are 14 Sections in the Photoshelter Indian Lands & Anasazi Sites Collection

Direct Links:

The Chaco Culture Anasazi Complex Collection
(8 Galleries):

Chetro Ketl                           Hungo Pavi
Miscellaneous                     Petroglyphs
Pueblo del Arroyo           Pueblo Bonito
Rinconada                               Una Vida

Indian Lands Select
(150 Selected images)

Anasazi and Fremont Petroglyphs

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ChetroKetl


Click the Display Composite above to visit the Chetro Ketl page.

Petroglyphs


Click the Display Composite above to visit the Petroglyphs and Chaco Scenics page.

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