Big Juniper House of Mesa Verde, Colorado
Wetherill Mesa Studies
NPS Logo


BIG JUNIPER HOUSE was excavated between May 14 and July 24, 1962, under my direction, acting under the general supervision of James A. Lancaster, archeologist at Mesa Verde National Park. The work crew consisted of J. Lester Goff and Horace A. Ruckel, foremen, and Victor Barney, Mark Hadley, Richard E. Lee, Kee Nez, Richard Parsons, Douglas H. Scovill, Michael Shaw, Donald E. Smith, Charlie R. Steen III, John W. Wade, and Paul Willie, laborers.

The field photographs were taken by Ruckel, Scovill, and myself. The laboratory photographs were taken by Fred E. Mang, Jr., project photographer, who developed and printed all the pictures. I owe Fred a special debt of gratitude for layout suggestions and other illustrative innovations.

Bill Wade and I drew the field maps. The final map of site locations on Wetherill Mesa (fig. 3) was done by Wade, with the other maps and plan layouts being completed for publication by George A. King, architect, of Durango, Colo.

Bone artifacts and unworked bone were examined by Lyndon L. Hargrave and Thomas W. Mathews, of the Southwest Archeological Center, Globe, Ariz. Hargrave identified the bird bones and Mathews identified the mammal bones.

Physical anthropological observations on the burials were made by Kenneth A. Bennett, University of Arizona. Human bone pathologies were identified by James S. Miles, M.D., of the University of Colorado Medical Center, Denver.

Thomas P. Harlan, of the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, University of Arizona, dated the wood and charcoal specimens recovered during the excavations. Paul S. Martin, of the Geochronology Laboratories, University of Arizona, supervised the identification of pollen grains extracted from the several soil profiles taken at Big Juniper House.

Stanley L. Welsh, Brigham Young University, identified the wild vegetal material, and Hugh C. Cutler, of the Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, identified the charred corncobs and kernels.

Felix Mutschler, a geologist with the Kennecott Corporation, Durango, Colo., identified the material of the various stone artifacts, as a personal favor.

Richard P. Wheeler, laboratory supervisor of the project, and I analyzed jointly the stone artifacts, and Wheeler gave me advice in analyzing the bone artifacts. Douglas Osborne, supervisory archeologist of the project, studied the stone-chipping debris of Big Juniper House and the other sites excavated on Wetherill Mesa.

Many suggestions and ideas for this report were provided by other members of the project staff: George S. Cattanach, Jr., Charles L. Douglas, James A. Erdman, Alden C. Hayes, Robert F. Nichols, Carolyn M. Osborne, and Arthur H. Rohn. Bernard S. Katz, project editor, offered helpful suggestions in drafting the report. Al Lancaster contributed the knowledge of his long experience in Southwestern archeology during and after the excavation of Big Juniper House. To him I owe much of my understanding of Mesa Verde archeology.

My thanks go to the museum assistants who cleaned, cataloged, and mended the broken pots, and performed many of the technical and clerical chores that follow an archeological excavation. In particular, I would like to mention Pauline Goff, who helped me with the pottery analysis; Marilyn Colyer, who made the line drawings of the stone artifacts; and Jean Lee, who did most of the work of preparing the plates for reproduction.

Big Juniper House was also the subject of a thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for an M.A. degree in anthropology at the University of Arizona. I am grateful to Raymond H. Thompson, Kenneth Hale, and Clara Lee Tanner, members of my thesis committee, for guidance and valuable advice.

References are made in this report to materials from a number of cliff and open sites on Wetherill Mesa which were excavated by the project and which will be reported on in due course. The cliff sites are Mug House (Arthur H. Rohn), Long House (George S. Cattanach, Jr., and others), Step House (Robert F. Nichols and others), and Site 1291 (Jervis D. Swannack, Jr.). The open sites include Badger House (Alden C. Hayes and James A. Lancaster), Two Raven House, Site 1230, Site 1253, and Site 1801 (Jervis D. Swannack, Jr.).

This publication is Contribution 34 of the Wetherill Mesa Project.

J. D. S., Jr.

May 1966

<<< Previous <<< Contents>>> Next >>>

Last Updated: 16-Jan-2007