≡ Menu

Twin Angels ruin

As part of my ongoing fascination with Chaco Canyon’s Great North Road, I decided to drag Jeri along for a visit to the Twin Angels ruin, the northernmost Great House on the road’s route. The road is presumed to have descended into the large Kutz Canyon wash, and Twin Angels sits like a sentinel directly above the wash.

Getting there was tricky. Although on BLM land and open to the public, there are no signs. For me, this just adds to the fun. The area is a maze of oil rigs and their service roads, which while making for easy access, can be very confusing. A little work with Google Earth gave me all the turn locations I needed for a good route in, at least from a low Earth orbit perspective.

It was a very short hike from where we parked to the ruins. Unfortunately, we were a couple of hours ahead of a rain storm, so we couldn’t linger long. Also the storm overcast made my pictures all look like crap. At least that’s the story I’m sticking with.

Twin Angels was partially excavated by Earl Morris in 1915, which is why some of the walls are exposed today. Since that time there have been a few other minor excavations, but the site remains mostly untouched.

It’s an L shaped arrangement, containing about 17 rooms. It’s perched on a very narrow rocky finger jutting out into the Kutz Canyon wash. On each side are vertical dropoffs. I said vertical, didn’t I. Vertical as in fall-to-your-death-if-you-get-too-close. After some study I have concluded the Chacoans were absolutely crazy rat bastards.

Dating for the site is weak. No tree ring dates have been obtained. Ceramics suggest a dating of somewhere around the 1200 AD period.

The Twin Angels site plan (from “The Outlier Survey” by Powers, Gillespie and Lekson, 1983)

Jeri in an excavated roomblock at Twin Angels.

Moi in a kiva at Twin Angels ruin. Where else would you expect to see a shot of me? Kutz Canyon wash is behind, where the Great North Road is presumed to have run.

The narrow rock promontory upon which Twin Angels sits. For scale, Jeri is the blue speck in the red circle. Kutz Canyon wash is below to the left.

The short hike back from Twin Angels, parked by an oil rig. Access is via oil service roads.