There are in Cliff Palace 23 ceremonial rooms that
may be called kivas.a These consist of two types: (1) generally
circular or cylindrical subterranean rooms, with pilasters to support
the roof, and with fireplace, deflector, and ventilator. (2) Circular or
rectangular rooms with rounded corners, without pilasters, fireplace,
or deflector. In the first group may be placed provisionally a subtype
(kiva M, for example), without pilasters but with a single large
banquette. As this subtype is the dominant one in the western part of
the San Juan drainage, it may be necessary later to regard it as a type.
As a rule rooms of the second type are not subterranean, but are
commonly surrounded by high walls, being entered by a doorway at one
side. There are 20 rooms pertaining to the first type and three to the
second type in Cliff Palace.b
aThe word kiva, now universally
employed in place of the Spanish designation "estufa" to designate a
ceremonial room of ihe Pueblos, is derived from the Hopi language. The
designation is archaic, the element ki being both Pima and Hopi
for "house." It has been sought to connect this word with a part of the
human body, and esoterically the kiva represents one of the underworlds
or womb of the earth from which the races of man were born. It is highly
appropriate that ancient ceremonies should take place in a kiva, the
symbolic representation of an underworld, for many of the ceremonies are
said to have been practiced while man still lived within the Earth
Mother. The word kiva is restricted to subterranean chambers,
rectangular or circular, in which secret ceremonies are or were held,
and the term kihu is suggested for ceremonial rooms above ground.
The five kivas at Walpi are examples of the true kiva, while the Flute
chamber may be called a kihu.
bThe so-called "warrior room" in Spruce-tree
House belongs to the second type.
The majority of the kivas are situated in front of
the secular buildings, but several are in the rear of the cave, with
high rooms in front of them. The largest cluster of kivas on the cave
floor lies in the so-called plaza quarter, which takes its name from the
open space occupied by the kivas in that section. The rooms on the
terraces, especially those near the southern end of the ruin, were
covered with fallen rocks and other debris when the excavation and
repair work began. The walls of most of the kivas, whether in front or
in the rear, were greatly dilapidated and in all instances it was
necessary to rebuild them to the level of the plazas in which the kivas
Following comparisons with modern pueblos, there is
every reason to suppose that the kivas preserve the oldest types of
buildings of the cliff-dweller culture, and it is believed that the form
of these archaic structures is a survival of antecedent conditions. They
belonged to the men of different clans, as in a measure is the case
among the Hopi at the present day, with whom every kiva is spoken of as
that of a certain man who is a clan chief. The male and female members
of every Hopi clan have affiliation with certain kivas (a survival of
archaic conditions), and in certain clan gatherings, as the dramatic
exhibition which occurs in March, the celebration takes place in their
As the kiva is the men's room, and as religious
exercises are largely controlled by men, such ceremonies occur in kivas,
which are practically the ceremonial rooms.a
aIn certain ceremonies of Hopi women's
societies the kiva has also come to be a meeting place for these
sororities and where they erect their altars.
KIVAS OF THE FIRST TYPE
All kivas of the first type are constructed on the
same general plan, the different parts being somewhat modified by
surrounding conditions. While their general form is circular or
cylindrical, some are square with rounded angles, others oblong, and
others more or less heart-shaped. Their diameter and height vary
according to circumstances, but this type is always subterranean when
possible, even though excavation in the rock may be necessary.
The walls of the kivas are sometimes double, and the
masonry is generally well constructed. The walls show evidences of
plastering, which is decorated in some instances with paintings or
incised figures. The number of pilasters is commonly 6, but 4 and 8
are also evident; rarely, as in kiva M (the subtype), all are missing.
Between these pilasters are the so-called banquettes, one of which is
usually larger than the others. The banquettes are generally built 3 or
4 feet in height, consequently they could scarcely have been intended
The pilasters are commonly rectangular, sometimes
square, the size being about uniform from base upward. In rare instances
a pilaster has a cubby-holeb in one side. Where circumstances
require the ventilator penetrates the rear portion of the pilaster, but
the flue never enters the side of the kiva under a pilaster.
bThese small holes, generally square, are
usually found in the wall below the banquette.
The pilasters, which are almost universal in kivas of
the first type, as has been shown in the description and illustrations
of the eight kivas of Spruce-tree House, served as supports for the roof
beams. These rafters of pine rested upon and served to support other
logs laid one over another, so that finally the roof opening was
covered. Across the middle of the walls, at the top, two long parallel
logs were placed, in order to add stability to the roof structure. These
beams were set far enough apart to allow a hatch midway between their
ends, which served the purpose of an entrance and also permitted the
escape of smoke from the fire directly below.
Over the framework of logs were laid small sticks,
filling the interstices, and above these was spread a layer of cedar
bark; the whole was then covered with clay, thus bringing the upper
surface of the roof to the level of the adjacent plaza. Whether the kiva
walls projected above the plaza and roof level is unknown, but possibly
they did, and there may have been a slight elevation of the hatchway, as
in the Hopi kivas. It is commonly believed that the kiva roof was level
with the surrounding plaza and that the entrance was through a hatchway,
but no depression or other sign of a ladder or of its resting place on
the kiva floor has yet been found in any of the Mesa Verde ruins.
The floors of the kivas are commonly of hardened
adobe; unlike those of the Hopi kivas they are never paved with stones,
but the natural rock often serves for that purpose. It is not rare to
find the surface of solid rock that forms the kiva floor cut down a few
feet to a lower level. Although generally smooth, when the floor is the
natural rock there are sometimes found in it small, cup-like, artificial
depressions similar to those in the horizontal surfaces of the cliff or
in slabs of detached rock.
The fire-pit, which is found in all kivas of the
first type,a is a circular depression situated slightly to one
side of the middle of the room. While generally lined with adobe, slabs
of stone sometimes form its border, and it is also to be noted that one
or two of these small stones sometimes project above the floor level.
The fire-hole is sometimes deep, and is generally filled with wood
ashes, indicating long use.
aThe fire in these rooms was more for light
than for heat, for when roofed a large fire would have produced so much
smoke and heat that the occupants would be driven out. The character of
the ashes indicates that logs were not used as firewood, but that the
prescribed kiva fuel was, as at Walpi, small twigs or brush. No evidence
of lamps has been found in cliff-dwellings, the lamp-shaped pottery
objects having been used for purposes other than illumination.
Every kiva of the first type has a lateral passageway
for the admission of air, opening into the chamber on the floor level,
generally under the large banquette. This passage, or tunnel, here
designated a flue communicates either directly with the outside or turns
upward at a right angle and forms a small vertical ventilator which
opens at the level of the plaza. Between the entrance into the flue from
the kiva and the fire-hole there rises from the floor a device called
the deflector (sometimes called an altar), the object of which was to
prevent flames and smoke being drawn into the ventilator, or to evenly
circulate the inflowing fresh air in the chamber. This deflector may be
(1) a low stone wall, free on both ends; (2) a curved wall connected
with the kiva wall on each side with orifices to allow the passage of
air; (3) a stone slab in the kiva floor; (4) a bank, free at each end,
supported by upright stakes between which are woven twigs, the whole
being plastered with clay.b
bCosmos Mindeleff quotes from Nordenskiöld a
description of a Mesa Verde kiva, the deflector of which was made in the
The supposed functions of the flue, the vertical
passage, and the ventilator have been discussed by several
archeologists. The uses to which the flue has been ascribed are as
follows: (1) a chimney, (2) a ceremonial opening, (3) an entrance, (4) a
ventilator. There is no sign of smoke on the interior of the vertical
passage, which, being too small to admit a person, would seem to prove
the first and third theories untenable. In the Navaho National Monument,
where there are square rooms, or kikus, with banks similar to the
deflectors of the circular kivas, a door takes the place of the flue and
the vertical passage, and affords the only means for admitting fresh
air to the room. Although it may have originated as a simple entrance to
the room, it became so modified that it could no longer have served that
purpose, ceremonially or otherwise.
The position of the entrance to the Cliff Palace kiva
is yet to be definitely determined. Analogy, together with the structure
of the roof, would indicate that it was by means of a hatchway, but no
remains of a ladder were found, and no indication in the floor where a
ladder formerly rested is visible. It may be that the large banquette
indicates the position of the hatchway.a
aOn this supposition the large banquette may
have been the forerunner of the spectator's section in the modern
rectangular Hopi kivas, of which it is a modification.
The subterranean passageway under the flue and
beneath the floor of kiva V should not be overlooked in a study of the
origin and function of the ventilator. This structure is without
apparent connection with the ventilator, and yet it is so carefully
constructed under it that it may have had some relation, a knowledge of
which will eventually enlighten us regarding the meaning of both
The kivas of the Mesa Verde are much smaller than
those of Walpi and other Hopi pueblos, one of them being barely 9 feet
in diameter and the largest measuring not more than 19 feet, whereas the
chief kiva at Walpi is 25 feet long by 15 feet wide. Evidently kivas of
such diminutive size as those found at Cliff Palace could accommodate
only a few at a time, and it is probable that they were not occupied by
fraternities of priests but by a few chiefs; indeed, the religious
fraternity, as we understand its composition in modern pueblos, had in
all probability not yet been developed. Nevertheless the smallest kiva
in Cliff Palace is as large as the room in Walpi in which the Sun
priests, mainly of one clan, celebrate their rites.
Kiva A (pl. 17) is the most southerly kiva of Cliff
Palace, the first of the series excavated in the talus, its roof having
been on the level of the cave floor, or the fourth terrace. The walls of
this kiva required little repair. Its height from the floor to the top
of the walls is 8 feet 6 inches, and from the floor to the top of the
pilasters 7 feet; the height of the banquette is 3 feet 6 inches. The
interior diameter is 11 feet. There are six pilasters, with an average
breadth of 20 inches; the distance between them averages 4 feet 6
The opening into the ventilator is situated in the
southwestern wall; its height is 2 feet 4 inches, the breadth, at the
base, 14 inches, contracted to 11 inches at the top. The deflector,
which is broken, is a thin slab of stone. The distance from the flue
opening to the deflector is 2 feet 6 inches, and from the deflector to
the round fire-hole 8 inches. The diameter of the fire-hole is 1 foot 8
inches, its depth 2 feet. Its western side is lined with small stones
set on edge.
There were possibly 4 niches in the side wall of the
banquette, 3 of them on the east, measuring respectively 16 by 20 by 12
inches, 9 by 9 by 12 inches, and 3 by 3 by 5 inches, and the remaining
one situated north by east from the middle of the kiva and measuring 6
by 4 by 8 inches.a
aThe measurements of the kivas here given were
determined by Mr. K. G. Fuller, who served us voluntary assistant during
There is a subterranean passageway (pl. 17,
b), 6 feet 6 inches long, from this kiva into room 1, and also a
tunnel (pl. 17, a), 6 feet in length, between kivas A and B. The former
has stone steps and rises above the banquette; its width averages 18
Kiva B adjoins kiva A, and is the second of the
terraced rooms, its roof being originally on the same level as the
former. It is circular in shape, and the height from the floor to the
top of the room is 9 feet 6 inches. The height of the top of the
pilasters from the floor is 7 feet, and that of the banquette 3 feet 6
The inner diameter of the kiva is 13 feet 6 inches.
There are 6 pilasters, averaging 2 feet in width. The position of the
ventilator opening is south by west; its depth 4 feet, and height 2 feet
6 inches. The breadth of this opening at the top (it narrows somewhat at
the base) is 18 inches.
The deflectorb is a slab of stone about 3 feet
10 inches wide. The distance from the deflector to the kiva wall is 2
feet 6 inches, and from the deflector to the fire-hole 14 inches. The
diameter of the fire-hole measures 2 feet, and its depth 9 inches. The
distance from the ceremonial opening, or sipapu, to the fire-hole is 4
feet. The diameter of the sipapu is 4 inches and its depth the same.
There are 5 niches in the kiva wall.
bWith the exception of that in kiva Q there
has not been found in any deflector a large stone ("fire stone")
forming the cap or top. In deflectors formed of a slab of stone such a
"fire stone" on top would be impossible.
The masonry of this kiva is fairly good, its western
wall naturally being the most destroyed. The banquette over the tunnel
into kiva A is broader than any of the others. On the eastern side the
kiva walls are apparently double.
This kiva is circular; it measures 13 feet in
diameter, and 5 feet 6 inches from the floor to the top of the
pilasters. The height of the banquette is 3 feet. The number of
pilasters is 6; their average breadth is 2 feet.
The deflector is a stone wall laid in mortar; its
width is 3 feet 6 inches; the thickness, 8 inches. From the flue to the
deflector is 2 feet 4 inches, and from the same to the fire-hole, 8
inches. The diameter of the fire-hole is 2 feet, its depth 1 foot. The
sipapu is 2 feet from the fire-hole; it is 6 inches deep and 4 inches in
The masonry of this kiva was in very poor condition,
most of the upper part being wholly broken down. There are 4 niches in
the walls. The surface is thickly plastered and shows a deposit of
smoke. The pilasters are of uniform size. The deep banquette is situated
above the flue back of the deflector.
Kiva D is square, with rounded corners; it is 13 feet
in diameter; its walls are 10 feet high and measure 7 feet from the
floor to the top of the pilasters. The height of the banquette is 4
feet. The number of pilasters is 6; their average distance apart is 4
feet 6 inches, and their width 2 feet. The eastern wall of this kiva is
the side of the cave, and the whole was inclosed by high walls. On the
southern side of the kiva is a passageway. The walls of the kiva and the
cave roof above it are blackened with smoke. There are two deep
The flue opens in the western wall of the kiva; its
height is 2 feet, and its width at the top is 13 inches. The distance
from the flue to the deflector is 2 feet 6 inches; from the deflector to
the fire-hole, 13 inches. The diameter of the fire-hole is 2 feet and
its depth 1 foot. The distance from the fire-hole to the sipapu is 2
feet 2 inches; the diameter of the latter is 3 inches. This kiva has 5
finely made rectangular niches in the walls. The walls are well
plastered and were painted yellow. Wherever the masonry is visible it is
found inferior to none except possibly that of kiva Q.a
aThis kiva, which is one of the best in cliff
Palace, is illustrated by Nordenskiöld.
Kiva E is square, with rounded corners; it measures
11 feet 6 inches in diameter, and is 9 feet 10 inches high. The
elevation of the banquette is 4 feet, and of the pilasters 7 feet. The
number of pilasters is 6. The flue opens on the western side.
The deflector consists of a wall of stone, 2 feet
high; its width is 3 feet 6 inches, the thickness 9 inches. The distance
from the deflector to the flue is 1 foot 10 inches, and from the
fire-hole 3 inches. There are 4 mural niches. As the projecting rock on
the eastern side interfered with the symmetry of this kiva, when
constructed it was necessary to peck the rock away 8 inches deep over an
area 10 feet square, thus exhibiting, next to the floor of kiva V, the
most extensive piece of kiva stone-cutting in Cliff Palace. Although
this kiva was generally in a fair state of preservation, it was
necessary to rebuild much of the eastern wall.
The fire-hole of this kiva is lined with a rude jar
set with adobe mortar. No sipapu was discovered in the floor. Kiva E is
one of the few kivas in Cliff Palace surrounded by the walls of rooms.
As it is situated in the rear of the cave, projecting walls of the cliff
were necessarily cut away to a considerable extent in order to obtain
the form of room desired on the eastern side. This side of the kiva is
blackened by smoke antedating the construction of the room. There is
abundant evidence in this portion of the ruin of secondary construction
of buildings on the same site. Several walls built upon others show that
some rooms may have been abandoned and new ones added, an indication
that this portion of the ruin is very old, perhaps having the oldest
walls still standing.
Kiva F, situated on a lower terrace than the kivas
already described, is square, with rounded corners, and is 9 feet high.
The height of the pilasters is 6 feet 10 inches, and the top of the
banquette is 4 feet 1 inch above the floor. The diameter of the kiva is
13 feet. There are 6 pilasters; the distance between them averages 5
feet; their average width is 2 feet 4 inches. The deflector, a wall of
masonry, is 3 feet wide and averages 9 inches in thickness.
The deflector is 2 feet from the flue and 18 inches
from the fire-hole, which is 2 feet in diameter and the same in depth.
The distance from the fire-hole to the sipapu is 2 feet 4 inches. The
diameter of the sipapu is 2-1/2 inches, and its depth 5 inches.
There are 3 mural niches, similar to those previously
described. The roof of this kiva was of the same level as the floors of
rooms 16 and 24, the roofs of which overlooked the kiva situated in the
The walls of this kiva are black with smoke. The room
is surrounded by a second wall, the interval between which and that of
the kiva is filled with rubble.
This kiva may be called "heartshaped." Its height
from the floor to the top of the roof is 9 feet, and it measures 6 feet
from the floor to the top of the pilasters. The banquette is 4 feet
high, and the interior diameter of the kiva is 12 feet. The numbers of
pilasters is 6; their average breadth is a little more than 2 feet, and
the intervals between them averages 3 feet 6 inches.
The deflector is a stone slab 3 feet wide and 2 feet
high. The distance from the flue to the deflector is 2 feet; from the
deflector to the fire-hole 11 inches. The diameter of the fire-hole is 2
feet, its depth 18 inches. The sipapu is 2 feet 8 inches from the
fire-hole; its diameter is 2 inches, and its depth 4 inches. There are 4
This kiva is situated in the terrace below that last
mentioned, that is, in the second terrace, and was wholly buried when
excavations began. The roofs of rooms 30 and 31 overlooked this kiva,
their floors being on the same level as the kiva roof.
Kiva H (pl. 18) measures 8 feet from the floor to the
top of the wall, and 6 feet from the floor to the top of the pilasters.
The height of the banquette is 4 feet 6 inches. The diameter of the kiva
is 11 feet 6 inches.
The deflector is a curved stone wall joining the kiva
wall on each side of the flue.a It is built of stone, 7 feet 6
inches high, 10 inches wide, and 20 inches high. The deflector is 1 foot
6 inches from the flue and 15 inches from the fire-hole. The diameter of
the fire-hole is 2 feet and its depth 1 foot.
aA similar deflector is recorded by Mr. Morley
as existing in the Cannonball ruin, and is figured by Nordenskiöld from
the Mesa Verde.
The sipapu is situated 2 feet from the fire-hole it
is 3 inches in diameter and 4 inches deep.
There are 2 mural niches. Exceptional features of
this kiva are the curved deflector and the opening into a small room at
the northwestern straight from the kiva to the vertical ventilator, the
flue turns at a right angle midway in its course. The ventilator is
built at one corner of the kiva wall. As this kiva lies deep below the
base of the round tower, a fine view of these several characteristics
may be obtained from that point.
When work began there was no indication of the walls
of this kiva, except a fragment of one which at first was supposed to
belong to a small secular room. The kiva had been filled with debris by
those who had dug into the upper rooms, and a large holeb was
broken through the high western wall of kiva L, through which to throw
debris. The removal of this accumulation was a work of considerable
magnitude, and the repair of the kiva wall was very difficult, as it was
necessary to reconstruct the foundations that had been blasted away to
make the opening above mentioned.
bThis entrance in the wall appears in all
photographs of this portion of Cliff Palace.
When this debris was removed and the floor of the
kiva was reached, it was found that its walls were much disintegrated,
the component stones having practically turned into sand, necessitating
the construction of buttresses to support them. The dimensions of kiva I
are as follows: The height of the top of the wall from the floor is 8
feet, and that of the pilasters 6 feet 8 inches. The banquette rises 3
feet 8 inches above the floor. The interior diameter of the kiva is 10
feet 10 inches. The number of pedestals is 4, averaging 4 feet in
The flue is situated at the southwestern side. The
distance from the flue to the deflector is 21 inches; from the deflector
to the fire-hole, 2 inches. There are two mural niches, one at the
northeast measuring 13 by 11 by 8 inches, and one at the southeast
measuring 13 by 11 by 7 inches. A dado, painted red, surrounded the
kiva, the color being most conspicuous, because best protected, in the
mural niches, half of which are above, half below the upper margin of
the dado. On this margin are traceable triangular figures like those on
the painted wall of room 11.
On the level of what was formerly the roof of this
kiva was set into the roof a vase covered with a flat stone and
containing desiccated bodies of lizards.a
aFor a note on a similar vase and its use, see
remarks on kiva S. It is probable that these dried lizards were regarded
by the Cliff Palace priests a very potent "medicine."
Kiva J is round; it is 14 feet in diameter and
measures 8 feet 4 inches from the floor to the top of the wall. The
height from the floor to the top of one of the pilasters is 5 feet 10
inches. The banquette is 3 feet 2 inches high. The deep banquette, as
is usually the case, is above the flue, which opens in the southwestern
wall. The number of pedestals is 6; their average breadth is 2 feet. The
deflector consists of a stone wall rising 20 inches above the kiva
floor. There are 7 mural niches. The kiva walls were thickly plastered
with adobe, and show the action of smoke.b
bFrom all appearances the kivas were plastered
from time to time after the walls had become blackened.
The open space east of the kiva, formerly continuous
with its roof, is somewhat larger than is usually the case, making this
the largest plaza in Cliff Palace, except that of the plaza quarter.
There are remnants of rooms southwest of the kiva.
Kiva Ka is round in form, and its height from
the floor to the roof is 7 feet. The height of the pilasters is 5 feet,
and that of the banquette 3 feet. The diameter of the kiva is 9 feet 6
inches. The pilasters are 5 in number, and average about 20 inches in
width. The deflector of this kiva is exceptional, being the only known
instance where this structure is constructed of upright stakes bound
with twigs or cedar bark and plastered with adobe.b The distance
from the flue to the deflector is 18 inches, and from the deflector to
the fire-hole, 8 inches. The diameter of the fire-hole is 20 inches, the
depth 8 inches. The walls of this smallest of the kivas are formed
partly of masonry, but in places the chamber is excavated out of solid
rock, the ancient builders having pecked away projections in order to
produce the desired form.
aThis kiva, one of the finest and in some
features the most exceptional in Cliff Palace, is not indicated in
bNordenskiöld describes a ventilator
constructed in the same way.
The marks of smoke are clearly visible, especially on
the flue; and on the surface of the eastern side are scratched several
figures representing birds and other animals. Eyelets of osiers set in
the wall are also exceptional, and their use is problematical.
The height of kiva L is 7 feet 5 inches, that of the
pilasters 5 feet 4 inches, and of the banquette 3 feet 3 inches. The
diameter is 12 feet 2 inches. Number of pilasters 6. The flue opens on
the western side; its height is 2 feet. Only a single mural niche was
recognizable. The walls of this kiva were very badly damaged, the whole
of its front having fallen inward, covering the floor. The construction
of the room demanded considerable rock cutting, especially on the
eastern side, to secure the requisite depth. Whatever masonry remained in
position was, as a rule, good. Probably no kiva in Cliff Palace was more
dilapidated when work began. It had been used as a dump by those who had
mutilated the ruins, and a great opening had been torn in its western
wall. Excavations showed that the floor had been wholly destroyed.
The height of kiva N is 7 feet 4 inches, and that of
the pilasters 5 feet 4 inches. The banquette is 3 feet high. The
diameter of the kiva is 11 feet. There are 6 pilasters and 5 mural
This kiva was in bad condition when the work began,
but it is now in good repair and exhibits interesting features. The
deflector was wholly destroyed, and it was impossible to find the
sipapu. There are evidences of considerable rock cutting on the northern
side, and of a little on the eastern and southwestern sides. The kiva
walls are blackened by smoke.
The height of kiva P is 8 feet, its diameter 11 feet
3 inches. The height from the floor to the top of a pilaster is 5 feet
10 inches, and to the top of the banquette 3 feet 4 inches. The number
of pilasters is 6, and their average breadth about 20 inches.
From the flue to the deflector the distance is 2 feet
8 inches, and the deflector is situated 6 inches from the fire-hole.
There are 5 mural niches.
The walls of this kiva are much blackened by smoke.
The masonry is fair, but much broken on the northern and western sides.
There is evidence that a considerable amount of rock has been peeked
away on the northern side to the floor level. The kiva occupies almost
the whole open space in which it is constructed, and the walls of
neighboring buildings surround it on all sides, rising from the edge of the
kiva. In order to secure a level foundation, parallel beams to support
the floor were laid from a projecting rock to a masonry wail. The ends
of these logs project above the path that leads to the main
This kiva (pl. 19) is round in shape and measures 8
feet 6 inches from the floor to the top of the wall. There were formerly
eight pilasters, which averaged 18 inches in breadth. The height of the
pilasters is 6 feet, and of the top of the banquette 3 feet 3 inches.
The diameter of the kiva is 13 feet 8 inches.
The fire-hole is 22 inches from the deflector; the
thickness of the latter is 10 inches, and its width 3 feet 3 inches.
There are four mural niches, all in fine condition. Although the masonry
of this kiva is the finest in Cliff Palace, its whole western end is
destroyed. The floor west of the deflector has a slightly convex
aIn ceremonial rooms of ruins in the Navaho
National Monument this curve is represented by a raised step.
No ceremonial opening, or sipapu, such as occurs in
several other Cliff Palace kivas, was found in kiva Q. At the place
where this feature usually appears the floor was broken, but as several
of the Cliff Palace kivas have no specialized sipapus it is possible
that this device may be looked for in another opening in the floor.
There are no sipapus in the Hano kivas of the East Mesa of the Hopi, and
the priests of that pueblo assert that the Tewa have no special hole in
the kiva floor to represent this ceremonial opening. Apparently the
Pueblos of the Rio Grande are like the Tewa of Hano in this respect. All
the kivas of Spruce-tree House and a number of those in Cliff Palace
have this ceremonial opening, thus following the Hopi rather than the
Tewa custom. Whether the fireplace was used by those who performed rites
in kiva Q as a symbolic opening into or from the "underworld" is
unknown to the writer. The subterranean passage in kiva V leading to
the fire-hole, but not entering it, is interesting in this particular.
Kiva V, however, as pointed out, has in addition to the fire-hole a
fine pottery-lined sipapu corresponding to the sipapus in Hopi kivas,
but made in the solid rock floor.
This kiva is square, with rounded corners. Its height
is 8 feet, and the height of one of the pilasters above the floor 5 feet
10 inches. The banquettes are 3 feet 3 inches above the floor. The
diameter of the kiva is 10 feet 4 inches.
The number of pilasters is 6; their average breadth
is 20 inches. The distance from flue to deflector, which is a slab of
stone, is 3 feet 2 inches, the height of the deflector is 1 foot 7
inches and its width 3 feet.
From the deflector to the fire-hole the distance is 7
inches. The diameter of the fire-hole is 2 feet, its depth 9 inches.
There are 2 mural niches. The large banquette is 3 feet 6 inches broad.
The shaft of the flue, after passing 18 inches under the kiva wall,
turns southeastward 4 feet 4 inches and then takes a vertical course.
The masonry of kiva S is fairly good. A jar is set into one of the
banquettes, and was perhaps formerly used for containing sacred
meal.a This receptacle was left as found, and a slab of stone
placed slantingly above it to shield it from falling stones. Under the
huge rock above it there are light masonry walls outlining diminutive
rooms used possibly for storage but not for habitation.
aAmong the Hopi at the present day certain
fetishes, as the effigies of the Great Plumed Serpent, are regarded as
so sacred that when not in use they are kept in jars set in a banquette,
the surface of which is level with the neck of the jar. These
receptacles are closely sealed with a stone slab when the images are
deposited in them. Possibly the jars set in the kiva banquettes of Cliff
Palace may have been used for a similar purpose: i. e., were receptacles
for fetishes held in such veneration that, as is the case with the Great
Serpent effigies of the Hopi, one even touching them may, in the belief
of the people, be afflicted with direful disorders.
This kiva stands on an elevated rock, and has double
walls, the intervals between the wall of the kiva and the outside walls
being filled with rubble.
The height of kiva T is 7 feet 6 inches, that of one
of the pilasters 6 feet 6 inches. The banquette is 3 feet 9 inches above
the floor. The diameter of the kiva is 10 feet 5 inches. There were
probably 6 pilasters and 2 mural niches. Although the greater part of
the walls of this kiva was destroyed, a deep banquette still remains
above the air shaft. The floor has the same level as the second terrace,
or one story above kiva S, the roof of which is consequently at the
level of the floor of kiva T.
Kiva T was in bad condition when work began, as part
of its front wall had fallen and only the tops of the others were
visible above the debris. Even the floor level was difficult to
The form of kiva U is round, and its height is 7 feet
6 inches. The height of one of the pilasters is 4 feet 11 inches, and
that of the banquette 3 feet 4 inches. The diameter of the kiva is 12
feet. There are 5 pilasters. The fire-hole is 4 inches from the flue;
the diameter of the fire-hole is 20 inches, its depth 6 inches. There
are 6 mural niches so arranged that two large niches are situated above
two small ones. The presence of but 5 pedestals is accounted for by the
joining of 2 above the flue. Much rock-cutting was necessary in
constructing this kiva, especially on the northern and southwestern
sides. As the front wall of the kiva had fallen, it had to be
practically rebuilt. The foundations were unstable, apparently having been
constructed on loose stones carelessly laid.
This kiva is round and measures 5 feet 6 inches from
the floor to the top of one of the pilasters. The top of the banquette
is 3 feet 4 inches above the floor. The diameter of the kiva is 12 feet
8 inches. The number of pilasters is 6 and their average breadth 20
The distance from the deflector to the line of the
wall is 23 inches; the height of the deflector is 22 inches, the
thickness 9 inches, and the width 3 feet 2 inches. The fire-hole is
18 inches from the sipapu; the latter is 10 inches deep and 3 inches in
diameter, and is lined with a pottery tube cemented in place. There are
three mural niches.
Kiva V is exceptional in the amount of rock-cutting
that was necessary for lowering the floor to the desired level. Probably
the greatest amount of stone-cutting was done in this kiva.
There remains to be mentioned a unique tunnel which
may eventually throw some light on ceremonial openings in the kivas of
cliff-dwellings. Just beneath the adobe floor, extending from a vertical
flue outside the kiva to the fire-hole which it does not, however,
enter, there is a passage through which a small person may crawl.
Exteriorly this opens into a vertical flue which was broken down; inside
it ends bluntly at the fire-hole. About midway of its length there
extends from it a lateral passageway, slightly curved, forming a
well-worn doorway. This curved passage opens through the kiva floor by a
manhole. The walls of these passages are constructed of good masonry.
Their function is unknown, but as most structures connected with kivas
are ceremonial, this may provisionally be called a ceremonial
It is evident that this ceremonial passage had
nothing to do or at least had no connection with the ventilator and
deflector of the kiva. The opening is situated under the floor, passing
in its course beneath the deflector, and its external opening is by a
vertical passage outside the ventilator. It also differs from the
ventilator in having a lateral branch likewise situated under the floor.
Passing to kivas outside the Mesa Verde region, we find homologous
passages recorded as present under the floor in Pueblo Bonito, a ruin on
the Chaco, and in the kiva of a ruin not far from Chama, where the
passage under the floor is excavated in solid rock. Evidently we have
in this structure a ceremonial opening the true significance of which is
yet to be determined. Is it connected with the Tewa concept that the
fire-hole is a sipapu, or was it used in fire rites that were performed
about the fireplace? These and other questions that might be proposed
must remain unanswered until more is known of similar passages in other