Pueblo del Arroyo

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Site Description

Pueblo del Arroyo, whose name means “town by the arroyo” in Spanish, is a classic D-shaped great house located next to Chaco Wash about 900 feet (275 m.) west of Pueblo Bonito. It differs from other great houses in the canyon because it was not built near the northern cliff face and is oriented to the east rather than to the south. Due to its location, the site has been threatened in the past by erosion caused by floodwaters in the wash.

The great house originally stood up to four stories, and contained roughly 125 ground floor rooms. With approximately 300 total rooms and 17 kivas, it is the fourth largest of the Chacoan great houses. Construction occurred in discrete episodes, with initial activity occurring during the A.D. 1060s and additions into the first decades of the 12th century. After completion of the main roomblock, a tri-wall structure was added to the great house in the 1100s. While tri-walls occur at other sites in the Southwest (notably Aztec Ruins), Arroyo is the only structure in Chaco Canyon to have one.

Two excavations have been carried out at Pueblo del Arroyo. Neil M. Judd excavated about half of the great house and the associated tri-wall structure between 1923-1927 as part of the National Geographic Expedition. Leland Abel and Gordon Vivian of the National Park Service conducted the second excavation in 1950. The NPS project was initiated in part to salvage information about the tri-wall structure.

Alternate site designations include 29SJ1947 and LA 41947.

Excavation History

  • 1923-1927: Excavated by Neil M. Judd of the National Geographic Expedition
  • 1950: Leland Abel and Gordon Vivian of the National Park Service.

Size and Dates

  • Approximately 300 rooms and 17 kivas
  • Tree-ring dates indicate construction between A.D. 1060 and the early 1100s.