Researchers recently worked out carbon-14 dates on scarlet macaw skeletons, most from the great house of Pueblo Bonito. They found that macaws were present at least a century before archaeologists thought—some as early as A.D. 900 to 975. The results from this direct dating method are considered more accurate than previous, relative dates.
Chaco was a central ceremonial place in the early Puebloan world, with a complex society and upper-crust elites. To archaeologists, the dates suggest that the elites, who controlled access to the highly prized macaws, were in power earlier than had previously been thought.