Chacoan Outliers

Great house communities–also known as outliers–are one of the most important sources of information helping to answer questions about the Chaco Anasazi. These communities exhibit a series of features that archaeologists believe associate them with the Chaco phenomenon, including monumental masonry great houses, subterranean great kivas, and a distinctive array of ceramics and exchange goods. Although undervalued in early research on the Anasazi, over the past two decades scholars have increasingly turned their attention to the great house communities.

Subsequently, more and more suspected great house communities are being identified every year, so many, in fact, that keeping track of them and verifying their identification as “Chaco Anasazi” has been difficult.  We hope that by making these data publicly available we will help promote the study of the Chaco Anasazi at a broader scale.

About the Outlier Database

The Chaco Canyon Outlier Database was built by Dr. John Kantner, Vice President for Academic & Institutional Advancement at the School for Advanced Research and generously donated to the Chaco Research Archive in 2011.  Please be aware that this database is not guaranteed to have the most up-to-date, reliable information on each Chacoan great house community. Rather, it serves as a starting point that should be supplemented with additional research. Descriptions of all of the variables are available in the User Guide and should be consulted. Also, in order to make the origins of the information as explicit as possible, each entry in the outlier database has an extensive notes section. If you see any errors, or if you have any problems accessing the database, please contact us or John Kantner.

Building the Database

In 1999, 10 archaeologists (John Kantner, Dennis Gilpin, Sarah Herr, Winston Hurst, Jim Kendrick, Keith Kintigh, Nancy Mahoney, Kathy Roler, Ruth Van Dyke, Mark Varien) whose research is on the broader Chacoan World worked together to assemble a comprehensive database reflecting what was known about great houses and the communities in which they were built. Each archaeologist focused his or her attention on the region of the Southwest that they knew best, reviewing records for every great house in that area. A standardized set of variables was collected, and each participant also added annotated information and references for each great house. The resulting database served as a focus for discussions when 22 archaeologists met at Arizona State University to consider issues related to Chacoan patterns outside of Chaco Canyon.

Organizers: John Kantner, Keith Kintigh, Nancy Mahoney

Participants: David Anderson, Roger Anyon, David Doyel, Dennis Gilpin, Sarah Herr, Winston Hurst, James Kendrick, Timothy Pauketat, Kathy Roler, Sarah Schlanger, Ruth Van Dyke
National Park Service: Dabney Ford, Frances Joan Mathien, Robert P. Powers, Charles Wilson, Thomas C. Windes
Other Attendees: Karin Burd, Michael Larkin, Stephen H. Lekson

This meeting, called “The Chaco World Conference”, was sponsored by the National Park Service, University of Colorado, and Arizona State University. It was one of several such seminars that took place around the Southwest as part of the final stage of The Chaco Center research project, which investigated Chaco Canyon during the 1970s and 1980s.

In 2001, the National Center for Preservation Training and Technology awarded a grant to build a complete online spatial database using the results of the 1999 Chaco World Conference. This spatial database, titled “The Chaco World Database,” was built and maintained by John Kantner from 2001-2007 and hosted at Georgia State University.  In 2012, the Chaco World data were supplemented with contributions from Paul Reed (Preservation Archaeologist and Chaco Scholar, Archaeology Southwest) to include comparable information about the Salmon great house.  R.G. Matson and Bill Lipe have provided updated information for the Owen and Et Al. sites.  Members of the research staff at the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center (Mark Varien, Scott Ortman and Susan Ryan) are also updating the data available for Albert Porter Pueblo and Yellow Jacket Pueblo.

Chacoan outliers data options:

Click on one of the options below to list, download, map or query for specific Chacoan outlier sites. For more information on data fields, please see the User Guide.

QUERY the Chacoan outlier data

MAP Chacoan outliers

LIST all Chacoan outlier data

DOWNLOAD all Chacoan Outlier Attribute Data