Nonstructure 513, extramural surface

About this Nonstructure

Has Surface
No Masonry

General Location

Block 500, west of drainage; borders southwest end of plaza.

Specific Location

Open area (courtyard) between the roomblock and the kiva (Structure 501). North-northwest boundary defined by roomblock; east, west, and south boundaries defined by courtyard "retaining wall." Courtyard probably originally included area in which Structures 505, 506, 507, and 508 were later built, though a prepared courtyard surface was never recognized below those rooms.

Selection Criteria


A multitude of daily activities undoubtedly occurred on this constructed outdoor surface. Numerous vessels and tools, as well as a substantial amount of incidental debris (some of it could have been primary refuse) were left on the surface at abandonment. Numerous tool-sharpening pits and grooves had been abraded into areas of exposed bedrock within the courtyard.


Numerous usable vessels and tools were left on this surface at abandonment. Portions of the same vessels were found on this surface, in some of the rooms, and in Structure 501 (kiva), indicating that most of these structures and this surface were abandoned at the same time. The number of usable artifacts left on floors, on roofs, and on this surface suggest that this suite was abandoned at the same time that the village was abandoned (that is, the vessels and tools were not scavenged by others). The precise abandonment events of the suite are difficult to determine. The roof of Structure 501 was burned, presumably intentionally, and a burned adult female skeleton was found along the wall of the structure in the roof-fall stratum. The burning of the roof thus could have been part of a ritual interment and coincident abandonment of the structure and the suite, if this abandonment coincided with village abandonment. On the other hand, burning was not typically part of considerate burial ritual. The death and burning could have been part of a warfare event (numerous axes were found on the floor and in collapsed roof fall), although there was no skeletal evidence of trauma, and the body could have been intentionally positioned.

Postabandonment Process

Reuse is indicated by the interment of Human Remains Occurrence 6 into what was inferred to be fill above the level of the courtyard. Structural collapse and naturally deposited sediments accumulated on the courtyard surface.

Dating of Construction

No means by which to date construction of this courtyard surface, although it was probably constructed early in the occupation of this kiva suite. The only tree-ring cutting dates from the suite are from Structure 501 (kiva), and the preferred interpretion of those dates is that the kiva was built around A.D. 1252. The courtyard was probably built within a few years of that.

Dating of Remodeling

None noted.

Dating of Abandonment

Association of Mesa Verde Black-on-white pottery among the de facto refuse left on the surface indicates abandonment occurred an unknown length of time after A.D. 1180. The courtyard was abandoned at the same time as the remainder of this kiva suite; the tree-ring cutting dates from associated Structure 501 (kiva) indicates abandonment of the kiva suite occurred sometime after A.D. 1252.

Dating of Reuse

No means to accurately date possible reuse--occurred sometime after A.D. 1252. Reuse is indicated by the interment of Human Remains Occurrence 6 into what was inferred to be fill above the level of the courtyard.

Date Range

1 (A.D. 1250–1280)

Site-Wide Dating

Excavation Details for Excavation Units

In order by excavation unit number.

Excavation Details for Excavaton Units

No data for this selection.