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In Search of Chaco

New Approaches to an Archaeological Enigma

Edited by David Grant Noble

Startling discoveries and impassioned debates have emerged from the “Chaco Phenomenon” since the publication of New Light on Chaco Canyon twenty years ago. This completely updated edition features seventeen original essays, scores of photographs, maps, and site plans, and the perspectives of archaeologists, historians, and Native American thinkers. Key topics include the rise of early great houses; the structure of agricultural life among the people of Chaco Canyon; their use of sacred geography and astronomy in organizing their spiritual cosmology; indigenous knowledge about Chaco from the perspective of Hopi, Tewa, and Navajo peoples; and the place of Chaco in the wider world of archaeology.

For more than a century archaeologists and others have pursued Chaco Canyon’s many and elusive meanings. In Search of Chaco brings these explorations to a new generation of enthusiasts.

2004. 158 pp., 112 black-and-white and 18 color illustrations, reading list, index, 8.5 x 11

Contributors: Richard Begay, David M. Brugge, Linda S. Cordell, W. James Judge, John W. Kantner, Leigh Kuwanwisiwma, Stephen H. Lekson, Bill Lipe, Florence Lister, Kim Malville, Barbara J. Mills, David Grant Noble, Colin Renfrew, Lynne Sebastian, Rina Swentzell, H. Wolcott Toll, Ruth M. Van Dyke, R. Gwinn Vivian, Thomas C. Windes

Download an excerpt.

“[David] Noble’s book is a treasure of questions and possibilites. These lucid essays are drawn not only from authors, researchers and professors … in archaeology, archaeoastronomy, anthropology and architecture, [and] also from respected American Indian authors and scholars….All brim with energy–not one is simply a didactic exercise.”
—Barbara Riley, Santa Fe New Mexican

“…this book brings understanding of the Chaco world up to the present, with revealing and accessible essays by many of its best-known researchers…and three prominent Native American scholars…. [This book] is a highly recommended pleasure for everyone drawn to the mysteries of the Southwest’s human past.”
—Richard Polese, Southwest BookViews

“This impressive volume gives us many new ideas and directions for solving….[t]he enigma of Chaco Canyon….”
—Mark Michel, American Archaeology

“[In Search of Chaco] is a book that belongs on the shelf of anyone with an interest in the region’s prehistory.”
—David A. Phillips Jr., New Mexico Historical Review Vol. 81, no. 3 (Summer 2006)


  1. Chaco’s Golden Century
    W. James Judge
  2. Puebloan Farmers of the Chacoan World
    R. Gwinn Vivian
  3. The Rise of Early Chacoan Great Houses
    Thomas C. Windes
  4. Architecture: The Central Matter of Chaco Canyon
    Stephen H. Lekson
  5. Artifacts in Chaco: Where They Came From and What They Mean
    H. Wolcott Toll
    Sidebar: Chaco’s Corn: Where Was It Grown?
    Linda S. Cordell
  6. Yupköyvi: The Hopi Story of Chaco Canyon
    Leigh J. Kuwanwisiwma
  7. A Pueblo Woman’s Perspective on Chaco Canyon
    Rina Swentzell
  8. Tsé Bíyah `Anii’áhí: Chaco Canyon and Its Place in Navajo History
    Richard M. Begay
  9. The Chaco Navajos
    David M. Brugge
  10. Great-House Communities and the Chaco World
    John Kantner
  11. Chaco’s Sacred Geography
    Ruth M. Van Dyke
  12. Sacred Time in Chaco Canyon and Beyond
    J. McKim Malville
  13. Understanding Chacoan Society
    Lynne Sebastian
  14. Chaco Canyon : A View from the Outside
    Colin Renfrew
  15. The Mesa Verde Region: Chaco’s Northern Neighbor
    William D. Lipe
  16. A Century of Archaeology in Chaco Canyon
    Florence C. Lister
  17. Key Debates in Chacoan Archaeology
    Barbara J. Mills
There are no working papers for this book at the present time.