Anasazi Great Houses of the Chaco Canyon Region Essay

1755 Words Jun 8th, 2002 8 Pages
Native American architecture varies greatly from region to region throughout North America, and was influenced by factors such as climate, kind of community, and the natural environment. Whereas some buildings were designed and constructed for specified functions, others, such as Anasazi great houses, were massive multi-purpose structures. Because great houses from Chaco Canyon are so well preserved, it is possible to have a decent understanding of the structure of Anasazi architecture for analysis. A close examination of the innovative Anasazi great house architecture of the Chaco Canyon region reveals its utilitarian value. Chaco Canyon, located in northwest New Mexico, is full of plateaus and canyons. Though the area may appear …show more content…
The layering effect of the sandstone and mortar material is a structural stronghold as well. The method of leaving almost no mortar exposed is extremely long-lasting.9 According to Ruth Van Dyke, later structures that used less mortar and more brick on brick style, were stronger because the increased stone-on-stone contact resulted in stronger walls.10 The platform building process of the Anasazi included building a series of parallel long walls on top of a rubble and mortar foundation, followed by cross walls, and roofs of either juniper, pinyon, cottonwood, or pine. (Fig. 3) Douglas fir and ponderosa pine were preferred because of their very long, straight formation, however, pinyon pine and juniper were more resistant to deterioration, and therefore could be used for the shorter beams needed in some aspects of the construction.11 These roofs formed the foundation of the floor for the level above.12 To reach such heights, the builders incorporated post-and-beam methods, acting as a major support, complimenting the use of load-beaming walls, which are for support and to divide space.13 The complex and massive apartment like structure at Pueblo Bonito contains more than 650 rooms, enabled by the innovative architectural techniques of the Chaco Canyon inhabitants. (Fig. 4) Anasazi great houses of the Chaco Canyon region served multiple purposes within one monumental structure. Areas were designated

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