Structure 800, aboveground kiva

About this Structure

General Location

Near the southwest end of the pueblo in Architectural Block 800; part of the great kiva complex.

Specific Location

This great kiva is partly encircled by peripheral rooms (Structures 805-807 and 809-813) and is north of Structure 815, a kiva, and east of Structure 808, another kiva.

Interpretive Type

Public architecture.

Great kiva.

Structure Use

The modest amount of excavation that occurred in this structure revealed that the structure contains typical great-kiva features, including a low, masonry bench face, a wide flagstone bench surface, masonry pillars, and at least one floor vault. An informal firepit was also exposed. The structure was aboveground, or mostly aboveground. The size of the kiva and the presence of special features within it suggest that the kiva was built and used by a group larger than one residence group or household and that activities other than ordinary domestic activities occurred there. Few items that would indicate use were found on the floor within the excavation units. The lack of collapsed roofing material in the fill of the kiva indicates that there was no roof on the structure when it was abandoned, and also that support beams were not removed for reuse elsewhere in the village (in which case roofing sediment would probably have been left on the floor). It is possible that the kiva was roofed initially, but that the roof was removed during a remodeling episode and the structure was thereafter used as an open enclosure. Alternatively, the kiva might never have been roofed. A diversity of tools, as well as beads, minerals, and plant and animal remains were found in an associated midden (Nonstructure 803); intravillage comparative analyses of these remains are not yet completed, but the results of these special studies could shed more light on the types of activities that occurred in this structure. Great kivas are generally inferred to have served an integrative function within settlements and communities.


The absence of beams and roofing sediment in the structure fill and the weathered condition of the bench surface indicate that the structure was probably not roofed when it was abandoned. Some secondary refuse with ash was deposited on or near the latest floor in Segment 2; the deposition of this refuse suggests that the structure was abandoned before occupation of the village ended. The source of this refuse is not known, but the material is similar to domestic trash (contains food refuse, pottery sherds from jars and bowls, flaked-lithic debris, and fragments of stone and bone tools). A human pelvis fragment (adult) were found on one area of floor that was exposed, and an adult femur fragment and left humerus of an infant or child were found in the fill above the floor. The femur and pelvis might be from the same adult; both elements are believed to have been damaged by carnivores. How these bones came to be in this structure is unknown, but because these bones were in abandonment contexts, it is possible that their presence is associated with one or more violent events that ended the occupation of the village.


Structure filled with wind- and water-deposited sediments and wall fall from the structures adjacent to the great kiva.

Excavation Details