Since the beginning of its stewardship of the archaeological sites in Chaco Canyon, the National Park Service has stabilized walls of the ruins to preserve this cultural resource for future generations. This stabilization work consists of various kinds of repair–from re-grouting walls, to completely re-building them when necessary. The NPS carefully documents the stabilization process through recording forms and photographs. The Chaco Research Archive and the Chaco Culture National Historical Park have digitized all documentation from the early stabilization efforts (1938-1980), and a majority of the records from later stabilization efforts.
Starting in 2005, Chaco Research Archive staff and University of Virginia undergraduate students worked with the Chaco Culture National Historical Park to digitize ruin stabilization records. Initial work focused on the early park stabilization efforts recorded in bound volumes with photographs and forms. Since these volumes contain some of the earliest photographs of many ruins, they are of particular value to researchers. Subsequent work digitized later records for stabilization efforts from the 1980s to the present. Just as with the stabilization efforts, the digitization process is still ongoing. Therefore not all of the more recent records are in the database yet.
This database provides an easy way to view features, rooms, and track modifications made to ruin walls through the years. All forms and photographs for each stabilization effort are grouped into “episodes.” You can choose different episodes to view, or page through episodes consecutively.
For every bound volume, CRA staff and students took digital photographs of all original images and forms. Later photographs were all scanned. A corresponding database entry was created with all pertinent information.
The Architectural Stabilization database includes some of the earliest stabilization efforts undertaken by the National Park Service – beginning in 1934.