Tree-Ring Dating of Archaeological Sites in the Chaco Canyon Region, New Mexico

TitleTree-Ring Dating of Archaeological Sites in the Chaco Canyon Region, New Mexico
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication1960
AuthorsBannister, B
AdvisorHaury, E
Academic DepartmentAnthropology
UniversityUniversity of Arizona

A total of 828 tree-ring dates, representing 46 different sites in the Chaco Canyon region of northwestern new Mexico, has been compiled from published references, records of the Laboratory of Tree-Rig Research at the University of Arizona, and recent dating work carried out by the writer. When ever possible, these dates have been presented individually along with the species, type of sample, and site provenience of every dated specimen, and an accounting has been given of the collection and present location of the pieces, the people responsible for the dating, and any previous publication of the dates. Each dated site has been discussed with respect to name, location, description, excavation, and the temporal relationship between the site and the associated tree-ring dates. It has been shown that the correct archaeological interpretation of dates depends upon the satisfactory solution of two basic problems: (1) the time relationship that exists between the date of the specimen and the archaeological manifestation being dated, and (2) the complicating factor introduced by the possibility of exterior rings lost from a dated tree-ring sample. A third requisite for correct interpretation, and understanding of the symbols used in the listing of dates, has necessitated a detailed explanation of the various forms of presentation used with Chaco Canon region dates. An analysis of all the dates has revealed five broad occupational periods for the region, four of them delineated by the temporal clustering of dated sites, and a fifth period (typified by Mesa Verde sites) distinguishable mainly through archaeological considerations. The five periods cover a span of 13 centuries from the late 800’s to the present day are characterized by (1) pithouse sites (2) classic Chaco sites, (3) Mesa Verde sites, (4) Navajo-Refugee Pueblo sites, and (5) Navajo sites.