, the largest and best known Great House in Chaco Culture National Historical Park
, northern New Mexico
, was built by ancestral Pueblo people
and occupied between AD 828 and 1126.
In January, 1941, a section of the canyon wall known as Threatening Rock
, or tse biyaa anii'ahi
(leaning rock gap) in Navajo
, collapsed as a result of a rock fall, destroying some of the structure's rear wall and a number of rooms. The builders of Pueblo Bonito appear to have been well aware of this threat. However, they chose to build beneath the fractured stone, which stood 97 feet (30 m) high and weighed approximately 30,000 tons, and compensated by building a structural reinforcement for the slab. Pueblo Bonito was one of the most famous Chaco Sites and was a huge D-shaped building that housed many. (Snow, 130)
In 2009, it was reported that traces of cacao
from, at the nearest, 1,200 miles (1,900 km) away in Mexico, were detected in pottery shards at Pueblo Bonito. This was the first demonstration that cacao, important in rituals, had been brought into the area that became the United States at any time before the Spanish arrived around 1500. Cylindrical pottery jars, common in Central America, had previously been found, but are rare. At Pueblo Bonito, 111 jars had been found in one of the 800 or so rooms of the pueblo.
"Pueblo Bonito is the most thoroughly investigated and celebrated cultural site in Chaco Canyon. Planned and constructed in stages between AD 850 to AD 1150 by ancestral Puebloan peoples, this was the center of the Chacoan world."[citation needed