Decline and Dissolution of the Chacoan World

Lecture by David Stuart, SAR Interim President and Senior Scholar

Event, James A. Little Theater

Wednesday, October 9, 2013, 7:00–8:00 pm, Free


1125 to 1325 CE saw the shattering of the growth-oriented Chaco phenomenon, a huge cultural cataclysm for prehistoric Southwestern farmers. Chacoan society was replaced by far smaller and more efficient successor societies. The energy that flowed through these societies was homeostatic in contrast to the impressive growth of the Chacoan era, and parallels, almost precisely, the process that has created “rust belts and failed Detroits” in modern America. It is not that history repeats itself, but that evolutionary dynamics and the immutable law of energy flow repeat themselves when large societies are deprived of cheap, growing sources of energy. The result of this process led to the rise of the historic Puebloan society, which operated rather like Amish enclaves—independent and self-sustaining.

Decline and Dissolution of the Chacoan World is part of a series of public lectures that David Stuart will present on The Archaeology of New Mexico: Lessons on Land Use, Resources, and Cultural Institutions for Our Modern World.

David Stuart is an internationally recognized anthropologist and well-known author. His most cited books are Prehistoric New Mexico, Anasazi America, The Guaymas Chronicles, and the recently released Ancient People of the Pajarito Plateau.

Pueblo del ArroyoPueblo del ArroyoPueblo del Arroyo, Chaco Canyon, photograph by and courtesy of Jason S. Ordaz. Originally part of a stereoview.David E. StuartDavid E. StuartPhotograph by Jason S. Ordaz
Pueblo del ArroyoDavid E. Stuart
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