ChetroKetl

Chetro Ketl (Chetho Kette: Rain Pueblo) is the second largest Great House in number of rooms
after Pueblo Bonito (it had about 400 rooms, and was actually larger in area at over 5.7 acres).
It has two unusual features in its Colonnade Wall (the open spaces between columns were later
filled in with masonry), and the balcony built along the rear wall to the north of the complex. Two
Great Kivas were built in the Plaza, and over 10 other kivas were built in the Plaza and in other
parts of the complex (including a tower kiva). Chetro Ketl was built between the 1030s and the
early 1100s, and was occupied until the Chaco Canyon area was abandoned in about 1250.

Click an image to open a larger version.
Use your back button to return to this page.

Sunburst3

Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Indian Lands & Anasazi Sites Collection where a Gallery can be selected.

PhotoshelterGallerySection


There are 14 Sections in the Photoshelter Indian Lands & Anasazi Sites Collection

Direct Links:

The Chaco Culture Anasazi Complex Collection
(8 Galleries):

Chetro Ketl                           Hungo Pavi
Miscellaneous                     Petroglyphs
Pueblo del Arroyo           Pueblo Bonito
Rinconada                               Una Vida

Indian Lands Select
(150 Selected images)

Anasazi and Fremont Petroglyphs

Sunburst3

Chetro Ketl, loosely translated as “Rain Pueblo”, was named by a local guide for the
Washington Expedition in 1849 (as were most of the major Chacoan Great Houses).
Chetro Ketl is the second largest Great House in the number of rooms (about 400)
and the largest in terms of area (over 5.7 acres). One of its unusual features is
a colonnade wall in the central northern room block facing the plaza (below).

Chetro_Ketl_Colonnade_Wall_5129


Chetro Ketl Colonnade Wall 5129
(727 KB)

The Colonnade wall is Chetro Ketl’s most unusual feature. There are few colonnade walls in the Southwest, but they are quite common in Mesoamerica, and along with the presence of Macaws (found in Pueblo Bonito), and chocolate residue found in cylindrical jars, this indicates that there was trade with and architectural influence by Mesoamerican cultures.

Chetro_Ketl_Colonnade_Wall_5130


Chetro Ketl Colonnade Wall 5130
(728 KB)

The wall was built using Type III masonry, but the spaces in between columns were filled in later using a cruder masonry style to create an unbroken wall. This image was shot with minimal polarization. 5129 was taken with 50% polarization to increase contrast and color saturation. Several images are provided with two polarization settings for different character.

Colonnade architecture is found nowhere else in America north of the Aztec cities of Mexico.
It has been postulated that the Chetro Ketl Colonnade Wall is a local interpretation of Mexican
design ideas brought to Chaco by traders, who also brought Macaws, copper bells, and other
trade goods (including chocolate, based upon recent mass spectrometer tests of pottery).

Chetro_Ketl_Colonnade_Wall_X9595


Chetro Ketl Colonnade Wall X9595
(677 KB)

This image, taken a year later from the opposite side of the curved wall at the right edge
of the previous images, shows the eastern extension of the Colonnade wall and its masonry.
This wall caused an intense debate in the 1970s-1980s between opposing research groups,
one of which stated that this wall and the T-shaped doors, the Macaws, copper bells and
other Mesoamerican trade goods indicated a significant influence from Mexico. The
opposing group (the Indigenists) stated that architectural influences were subtle,
that trade goods were present only in small numbers, and that the extent of
Mesoamerican influence was not supported by the limited evidence of
contact. The Indigenists won that argument, but very recent research
has determined that a great many cylinder jars, pitchers and bowls
at Chaco tested positive for theobromine, a chemical biomarker
for chocolate, in sophisticated mass spectrometer tests. These
results definitely indicate significant trade with Mesoamerica, as
that is where the Cacao comes from to make chocolate. It seems
that the Indigenists were wrong about the Mesoamerican influence.

Chetro_Ketl_Inner_North_Wall_5131


Chetro Ketl Inner North Wall 5131
(775 KB)

The curved wall structure next to the Colonnade wall shows Type III masonry, consisting of medium-width facing courses which alternate with larger courses of tabular sandstone.

Chetro_Ketl_Inner_North_Wall_5132


Chetro Ketl Inner North Wall 5132
(769 KB)

5131 (left) was shot with minimal polarization, 5132 above with 40% polarization, increasing contrast and saturation. Below are several detail shots of North room block features.

Chetro_Ketl_Detail_5134


Chetro Ketl Detail 5134
(819 KB)

Type III masonry is identified by larger fill-stones separated by several courses of medium width tabular sandstone. Type II masonry, the earliest core-and-veneer stonework, is identified by larger fill stones separated by several rows of small width stones. This earlier style can be seen on the long rear wall.

Chetro_Ketl_Inner_North_Wall_5144


Chetro Ketl Inner North Wall 5144
(627 KB)

The wall on the right of this image (Type III masonry) shows the exposed core of rubble and mortar and how the smooth facing stones of the veneer were applied. This core-and-veneer work defines the characteristic Chacoan masonry, which allowed the builders to create the enormous Great House structures.

Chetro_Ketl_Elevated_Kiva_5145


Chetro Ketl Elevated Kiva 5145
(661 KB)

The elevated Kiva (Kiva G) shown at left center is actually a complex of three superimposed round rooms (G1, G2, G3). This section of Chetro Ketl was built on top of an earlier group of five subterranean kivas (G4 through G8). Chetro Ketl was built atop an earlier pueblo (900 to 1000 AD), and the plaza level was raised 12 feet above grade.

Chetro_Ketl_Elevated_Kiva_5146


Chetro Ketl Elevated Kiva 5146
(665 KB)

The Kiva G complex is a single-story round room built into a rectangular enclosure. The stones projecting from the walls may have been steps or scaffolding. Kiva G is built using the McElmo masonry style, with large stones made from the softer sandstone from the base of the cliffs. This is a late style which was influenced by construction techniques from Mesa Verde.

Chetro_Ketl_Great_Kiva_5137


Chetro Ketl Great Kiva 5137
(846 KB)

The deep red cast of the masonry walls of this Great Kiva were caused by fire. This Kiva
burned sometime before Chetro Ketl was abandoned. This Kiva shows many of the features
which are identified with the distinctive Chacoan style of Kiva. While it looks subterranean, the
Great Kiva is actually above the original ground level (the Plaza was raised 12 feet over grade).
In the foreground are two of the four post-seating holes and several sandstone disks which
were originally inside the holes to support the posts. In the center are two vaults on either
side of the central firebox. Behind the vaults are the other two post-seating holes. Note
that the excavators left a part of the floor excavated to a lower level, showing an early
bench and several small, narrow niches in the wall. Above these is a later bench
(Chetro Ketl II period), and above that is the bench from the Chetro Ketl I period.
Below the benches are 10 sealed niches which, when opened by archaeologists,
were found to have housed strings of 17,000 shell beads and turquoise pendants.

Under the four sandstone disks in the northeast corner (lower left), below two
alternating layers of lignite and adobe, was a suede bag of powdered turquoise.

Chetro_Ketl_Great_Kiva_X9599


Chetro Ketl Great Kiva X9599
(732 KB)

The large vaults (center and left) are built of thick masonry and had flagstone floors on which a variety of artifacts were found, including pieces of turquoise and painted wood. The function of these vaults is unknown, but modern Hopi Kivas have similar vaults, covered with planks and used as foot drums.

Chetro_Ketl_Great_Kiva_X9600


Chetro Ketl Great Kiva X9600
(704 KB)

The sandstone disks in the post-seating pits prevented the huge post timbers (carried from forests 30 miles away) from sinking into the soil. Note the rectangular openings in both the interior and exterior of the vaults. The reason for the openings is not understood. Detail of the vaults and firebox is below.

Chetro_Ketl_Great_Kiva_X9600c_M


Chetro Ketl Great Kiva X9600c M
(799 KB)

Detail of the vaults, raised firebox and post-seating holes in the Great Kiva of Chetro Ketl.
Note the openings in the vault interior (bottom left) and exterior (top left). The function of the
vaults is not understood, but they may have had a similar function to those in use in the Hopi,
Kiva which are covered with planks and used as foot drums. The enormous posts which were
seated in the holes supported the roof and were hand-carried from forests over 30 miles away.

Sunburst3

Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Indian Lands & Anasazi Sites Collection where a Gallery can be selected.

PhotoshelterGallerySection


There are 14 Sections in the Photoshelter Indian Lands & Anasazi Sites Collection

Direct Links:

The Chaco Culture Anasazi Complex Collection
(8 Galleries):

Chetro Ketl                           Hungo Pavi
Miscellaneous                     Petroglyphs
Pueblo del Arroyo           Pueblo Bonito
Rinconada                               Una Vida

Indian Lands Select
(150 Selected images)

Anasazi and Fremont Petroglyphs

Sunburst3
Chetro_Ketl_Plaza_Kivas_5138


Chetro Ketl Plaza Kivas 5138
(780 KB)

The series of Kivas at the East end of the Plaza, and the elevated Kiva (Kiva C) in the East wing of Chetro Ketl.

Chetro_Ketl_Plaza_Kivas_5141


Chetro Ketl Plaza Kivas 5141
(806 KB)

Image 5138 was taken with minimum polarization. 5141 used 50% polarization to increase contrast and color saturation.

Chetro_Ketl_Plaza_Kivas_X9601


Chetro Ketl Plaza Kivas X9601
(711 KB)

Detail of the East Plaza Kivas, looking north. The overlaid structures of Kivas D and E are at left.

Chetro_Ketl_Plaza_Doorway_5148


Chetro Ketl Plaza Doorway 5148
(579 KB)

A wide doorway or wall vent in the plaza wall. The masonry is Type III, formed of a core of rubble overlaid with a veneer of large and medium-sized dressed tabular laminate sandstone.

Chetro_Ketl_Central_Roomblock_5152


Chetro Ketl Central Roomblock 5152
(448 KB)

An elevated Kiva (Kiva G, left) and part of the central room block and back wall. The back wall of Chetro Ketl, built with Type II masonry in about 1030, is the longest wall at Chaco.

Chetro_Ketl_Central_Roomblock_X9605


Chetro Ketl Central Roomblock X9605
(547 KB)

Shot the following winter, this is a closer view of the central room block and back wall from
beside the Kiva G complex. Compare the McElmo masonry of the rectangular enclosing walls
and circular elevated walls of the Kiva G complex at left (large, casually dressed blocks of the soft
sandstone of the lower cliffs) with the Type II masonry of the back wall (center right), made from
casually dressed tabular blocks chinked with chips of tabular sandstone from the upper cliffs.
This image also shows Type III masonry (rubble core veneered with large dressed blocks
interspersed with medium-sized tablets of tabular sandstone) on the crossing walls.

Pueblo_Bonito_Interior_Doorways_X9639


Pueblo Bonito Interior Doorways X9639
(562 KB)

This image of interior doorways at Pueblo Bonito is shown here
to illustrate Type IV masonry, which is made from a core of rubble
veneered with tabular sandstone of relatively uniform thickness, laid
with a minimum of mud mortar... the pinnacle of Chaco masonry.

Below is a transitional style between Type II and Type III masonry,
and a detail shot of the north-central room block with Type III masonry.

Chetro_Ketl_Window_Type_III_Masonry_X9607


Chetro Ketl Window Type III Masonry X9607
(506 KB)

A large window or wall vent in the Plaza Wall. The Plaza was enclosed with two parallel walls,
which early excavators called a “moat”. The moat never held water. It was finished on all four faces
and acted as a retaining wall. The masonry seems to be a transitional style of early Type III as it is
using some smaller fill courses associated with Type II along with the medium and large stones.

Chetro_Ketl_Window_Type_III_Masonry_X9610


Chetro Ketl Window Type III Masonry X9610

Chetro_Ketl_Type_III_Masonry_X9598


Chetro Ketl Type III Masonry X9598
(677 KB)

At left is the view of the room block through the wall vent. Above is detail of the section of the room block shown in 5134 further above. On the far left of the image above is detail of the core of a wall, showing the larger stones used for core fill, bedded in significant amounts of mortar and faced with the fitted veneer stones. This sophisticated masonry technique created a strong, stable wall which was capable of holding the weight of the multi-story structures the Great Houses became. As the walls got higher, the thickness was reduced to lower stress on supporting walls. This core-and-veneer stonework evolved from the Type I masonry: unshaped medium-sized stacked stones and a lot of mortar, which were incapable of supporting high walls or structures over three stories.

Sunburst3
Chetro_Ketl_Talus_Unit_5125


Chetro Ketl Talus Unit 5125
(893 KB)

This scene is the Northwest corner of Chetro Ketl’s rear wall and North canyon wall, with Talus Unit #1 in the background. At the far left is the section of cliff known as the Amphitheater (Tse’Biinaholts’a Yalti: “Curved Rock that Speaks”), where the Anasazi excavated thousands of tons of rock to create an archaeoacoustic structure as a possible performance space.

Chetro_Ketl_Talus_Unit_5126


Chetro Ketl Talus Unit 5126
(776 KB)

This shot was taken with 60% polarization, the one at left with 25% polarization. The Talus Unit, a small structure composed of an East and West building, is located against the cliff wall behind Chetro Ketl. The structure may have originally been a part of Chetro Ketl. Two rooms gave access to a stairway in the cliff, and several McElmo-style Kivas were added later.

Chetro_Ketl_Talus_Unit_5156


Chetro Ketl Talus Unit 5156
(743 KB)

Talus Unit #1 and the two rooms connecting the West (left) and East buildings. At the far right is one of the rooms which acted as a landing for the stairway on the cliff. Wooden beam sockets were in the cliff face in the upper right of the image.

Chetro_Ketl_Talus_Unit_5157


Chetro Ketl Talus Unit 5157
(812 KB)

Closer detail of an elevated Kiva (Kiva C2) in the West building. Talus Unit was a small Great House and elaborate masonry ramp leading to a wooden stairway which led to another stone stairway. The ramp can be seen on the right.

Chetro_Ketl_Talus_Unit_X9612


Chetro Ketl Talus Unit X9612
(710 KB)

Detail of the elevated Kiva (Kiva C2) in the West building of Talus Unit #1. Archaeologists think that the Talus Unit was a special-use structure as a hub of intra-canyon travel.

Chetro_Ketl_Talus_Unit_X9613


Chetro Ketl Talus Unit X9613
(727 KB)

The image at left (X9612) was taken with 60% polarization to increase contrast and color saturation. The image above was shot with 25% polarization. Note the difference in stone color.

Chetro_Ketl_Talus_Unit_Kiva_X9614


Chetro Ketl Talus Unit Kiva X9614
(754 KB)

Kiva D in the West building of the Talus Unit, looking North.
This Kiva was built 1060-1070 using McElmo-style masonry,
using the large sandstone blocks from the base of the cliff.

The masonry pier seen above the Kiva may have led to another
stairway (probably wooden) leading up to the top of the cliff face.

Sunburst3

Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Indian Lands & Anasazi Sites Collection where a Gallery can be selected.

PhotoshelterGallerySection


There are 14 Sections in the Photoshelter Indian Lands & Anasazi Sites Collection

Direct Links:

The Chaco Culture Anasazi Complex Collection
(8 Galleries):

Chetro Ketl                           Hungo Pavi
Miscellaneous                     Petroglyphs
Pueblo del Arroyo           Pueblo Bonito
Rinconada                               Una Vida

Indian Lands Select
(150 Selected images)

Anasazi and Fremont Petroglyphs

Sunburst3
PuebloBonito


Click the Display Composite above to visit the Pueblo Bonito page.

Pueblo_delArroyo


Click the Display Composite above to visit the Pueblo del Arroyo page.

Rinconada_UnaVida


Click the Display Composite above to visit the Rinconada/Una Vida page.

Petroglyphs


Click the Display Composite above to visit the Petroglyphs and Chaco Scenics page.

Indian_Lands_and_Anasazi_Sites


Click the Display Composite above to return to the Indian Lands and Anasazi Sites Index page.

Content_
Contact_RR