Chaco Meridian

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The Chaco Meridian is a theoretical north-south axis on which lie the Ancestral Puebloan sites, Aztec Ruins and Chaco Canyon, as well as Paquime at Casas Grandes in northern Mexico. Archeologist Stephen H. Lekson developed the theory, which suggests the location of these sites on the same approximate line of longitude (107°57'25") was intentional, and represents a ceremonial connection between them.

Lekson based his theory on architectural similarities between the sites, such as colonnades, stone disks, and room-wide platforms. He also theorized that after the Ancestral Puebloans abandoned Chaco Canyon, they settled at Aztec Ruins during the mid-12th century and Paquime during the mid-13th century. The Chacoan Great North Road lies near the meridian, and many of the ancient roads in the area appear to follow the meridian toward key sites in the area.[1]

In 2009 in Archeology Magazine, he amended the list of sites on the "meridian" to include Shabik'eschee, which is south of Chaco, and Sacred Ridge near Durango, Colorado.[2][3]

Lekson has received criticism for the theory, primarily from southwestern archaeologists, who claim that the material culture found at these respective sights are far too different to be connected in theory.[4]


  1. ^ Vivian & Hilpert 2012, p. 89.
  2. ^ Lekson, Stephen (Jan 2009). "Amending the Meridian". Archaeology. Archaeological Institute of America. 62 (1). Retrieved 2 July 2015.
  3. ^ Johnson, George (29 June 2009). "Scientist Tries to Connect Migration Dots of Ancient Southwest". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 July 2015.
  4. ^ Creamer, Winifred (Winter 2000). "The Chaco Meridian: Centers of Political Power in the Ancient Southwest". Journal of Anthropological Research. 56: 1 – via The University of Chicago Press Journals.