About 240,000 trees were used to build massive structures, some five stories high and with hundreds of rooms, in New Mexico’s arid, rocky Chaco Canyon during the time period 850 to 1140. The buildings include some of the largest pre-Columbian buildings in North America.
The wood in the monumental great houses built in Chaco Canyon by ancient Puebloans came from two mountain ranges 50 miles away in different directions, according to new research from the University of Arizona Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research.
The UA scientists are the first to report that before 1020, most of the wood came from the Zuni Mountains about 50 miles to the south and the Chuska Mountains about 50 miles to the west.
The species of tree used in the buildings did not grow nearby, so the trees must have been transported from distant mountain ranges.