Dendrochronological Sourcing of Timbers from the Great Houses of Chaco Canyon, New Mexico

Category: Time:
Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - 12:00 to 13:00
Room: Speaker:
Chris Guiterman
LTRR, University of Arizona
Valerie Trouet
Calendar Status:

The cultural history of Chaco Canyon is characterized by connections with distant landscapes. From utilitarian ceramics to prestige items, goods arrived in Chaco from all directions, and from great distances. Wood beams, necessary for the construction of the Great Houses, are no exception. Strontium isotopes have revealed that spruce and fir timbers were likely carried to Chaco from forested mountains ranges over 50 km away. Ponderosa pine is the predominant architectural timber species at Chaco, and presently grows at many upland areas and mountain ranges surrounding Chaco Canyon. An attempt to use strontium ratios to decipher the areas from which these trees were cut gave only ambiguous results due to a lack geochemical variation among ponderosa pine habitats in the area. I will present new research on using tree rings to source ponderosa pine construction timbers from Chacoan Great Houses.