Structure 208, aboveground kiva

About this Structure

General Location

Block 200, west edge of site, west-northwest of plaza.

Specific Location

Inside and on top of earlier tower (Structure 212); south-southeast of excavated portion of roomblock. The tower wall is the upper lining wall of the kiva; the tower surface is below subsurface trash and construction fills of the kiva.

Interpretive Type

Not assigned.

Structure Use

This kiva is within a circular, aboveground structure (Structure 212) that is inferred to have been a tower originally, partly because no other aboveground kivas on the site were built within a circular structure like this, and partly because of two observed wall features (see Structure 212 , "Study Unit Use"). Features within this structure are typical of Pueblo III kivas in this region (formal hearth, pilasters, benches, southern recess, sipapu, deflector, ventilator system, bench-face niches), so it is inferred that this structure was probably used in the same ways that other ordinary-size kivas in this area were used during Pueblo III times (including domestic purposes and rituals). The hearth in this structure is the only hearth found within the kiva suite; this suggests that this structure was used for much of the cooking and cold-weather habitation. Sometime during the occupation of this structure, a doorway (Feature 15) was knocked through the upper lining wall of the kiva above Bench 2, allowing access into Structure 204. This doorway might have served the same function that tunnels served between many kivas and towers or other structures in the region. An unusually large number and variety of artifacts were found both on the floor and in the roof fall of this structure; many of these items are de facto refuse (usable items). It is not clear how many or which artifacts were associated with the original use of the structure because many artifacts might have come into the structure with the collapsed roofing material. For example, sherds from five reconstructible vessels (Vessels 60, 61, 62, 66, and 67) were found in roof fall and other sherds from these same vessels were found on the floor. These vessels thus might not have been associated with the use of the structure, but instead might have entered the structure when the roof collapsed. Also worthy of note are the large number of bone awls (24) found on the floor and in the roof fall, and the large number of axes (13) in roof fall and on the floor, especially south of the deflector. Numerous axes were also found on the floor south of the deflector in Structure 501 (kiva). On and near the floor of Structure 208 were also found crushed portions of several corrugated vessels, a complete mug, a partial ladle, a partial canteen, a mortar and pestle, three projectile points, and many other artifacts. It is not known if this large and varied assemblage is an accurate reflection of artifacts that were typically on the floor, on the bench surfaces, in roofing timbers, and on the structure roof, or if the specific events associated with the final use or the abandonment of this structure resulted in an atypical assemblage in some ways. Particularly intriguing are the large quantities of bone awls and stone axes (there appear to be many more of these items than would be needed by the residents of one kiva suite) and the presence of the well-crafted mortar and pestle (artifacts that are seldom found in this region, although another mortar was found in Structure 512). The large numbers of these artifacts could reflect a specialization in tool production by the residents of this kiva suite, or perhaps specialization in the production of items (hide clothing or baskets) whose manufacture required the use of awls, for example. The presence of so many axes could, alternatively, be associated with the increased violence that occurred in the region just before regional migrations in the thirteenth century (there is evidence that some axes in the Southwest were used as weapons); at least some residents of this village appear to have been victims of violence.

Abandonment

The large number and variety of artifacts on the floor and in roof fall indicate that many usable items were left when the structure was abandoned. This suggests either that the structure was abandoned abruptly or that the residents were moving too great a distance to take many of their possessions with them, or both. It further suggests that the entire village, and perhaps much of the region, was abandoned around this same time, because many items, though usable, were not scavenged. The leaving of bone awls, bone beads, a pendant, projectile points, and other small, portable, labor-intensive items suggests that abandonment might have been abrupt and unplanned; these artifacts would have been fairly easy to carry, even for long distances.

Postabandonment

A small fire was built along the south wall of the southern recess, possibly around the time of, or shortly after, structure abandonment. The structure roof appears to have collapsed naturally sometime after that, and the upper walls collapsed into the kiva depression. Sediment was deposited naturally.

Excavation Details

No excavation details recorded for this study unit.