This theory isn’t new, that Chaco wasn’t permanently occupied. However, the study attempting to prove that is recent. I’m not qualified to dispute this, but I wonder how they can prove the conditions weren’t more suited to agriculture 1000 years ago. Less than 200 years areas near Chaco were lush grasslands. Also, why does it make more sense that large numbers of visitors could carry all the food they needed to Chaco for their visit. (If so, why not make them bring more than they needed, so as to feed locals?)
New research from a team headed by a University of Colorado scientist casts doubt on Chaco Canyon’s status as a significant year round population center during the Anasazi era. Larry Benson, an adjunct curator at the CU Museum of Natural History, as well as a hydrologist and geochemist, led a team of researchers that published its findings about the settlement’s food sources in the November 2019 edition of the Journal of Archaeological Science, a monthly, peer-reviewed academic journal.