Saturday, September 6, 2008

Hungo Pavi Trail at Chaco Canyon

The Hungo Pavi Trail is a short 0.25 mile trail to a Chaco Canyon Ruins site located about 1.5 miles west of the visitor center at the Chaco Historical Park in a remote part of northwest New Mexico. This site is between The Una Vida site by the visitor center and the Chetro Ketl and Pueblo Bonito complex another 2.5 miles west.

Kivas are thought to have had important ceremonial and public gathering uses. There is a Great Kiva in the middle of the plaza but you can only see a depression.

At the back east corner of the trail there is a carved stairway into the sandstone cliff. On the mesa above are other building sites and roads connecting Chaco to outlying sites as much as 100 miles or more away.

Many of the structures in Chaco show signs of planning, such as walls thick at the bottom and tapering thinner as they rise. I thought this section looked the opposite, getting thicker as it got higher.

In these two story sections the holes where large logs that formed the ceilings and floors sometimes still have remains of the logs, which would have to have been carried here by hand from 40-60 miles away.

A row of smaller logs was placed on top of the large logs to form a mesh, which was filled in with more plant material then plastered over.

Hungo Pavi is one of the few Chaco Canyon structures to remain unexcavated and undisturbed. This site is thought to have been constructed staring around 1000 AD and continued for 150 years. The site is D shaped with the back towards the sandstone cliffs.

The trail passes through the plaza in front of the main room blocks. In the middle of the blocks, sticking out into the plaza a little is an above ground kiva, a square enclosure with a round interior.

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