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Hovenweep National Monument photo: Hovenweep House


In the classification by Morley and Kidder and the majority of writers, sites rather than structural features are adopted as a basis, although all recognized that large cliff-dwellings like Cliff Palace are practically pueblos built in caves. In the following classification more attention is directed to differences in structure than to situation, notwithstanding the latter is convenient for descriptive purposes.

1. Villages or clusters of houses, each having the form of the pure pueblo type. The essential feature of the pure type is a compact pueblo, containing one or more unit types, circular kivas of characteristic form, surrounded by rectangular rooms. These units, single or consolidated, may be grouped in clusters, as Mitchell Spring or Aztec Spring Ruins; the clusters may be fused into a large building, as at Aztec or in the community buildings on Chaco Canyon.

2. Cliff-houses. These morphologically belong to the same pure type as pueblos; their sites in natural caves are insufficient to separate them from open-sky buildings.

3. Towers and great houses. These buildings occur united to cliff-dwellings or pueblos, but more often they are isolated.

4. Rooms with walls made of megaliths or small stone slabs set on edge.

In reports on the excavation of Far View House [1] on the Mesa Verde, the author called attention to clusters of mounds indicating ruined buildings in the neighborhood of Mummy Lake, a little more than 4 miles from Spruce-tree House. This cluster he considers a village; Far View House, excavated from one of the mounds, is regarded as a prehistoric pueblo of the pure type. The forms of other buildings covered by the remaining mounds of the Mummy Lake site are unknown, but it is probable that they will be found to resemble Far View House, or that all members of the village have similar forms.

1A Prehistoric Mesa verde Pueblo and its People. Smithson. Rept. for 1916, pp. 461-488, 1917. Far View House—a Pure Type of Pueblo Ruin. Art and Archaeology, vol. vi, no. 3, 1917.

This grouping of small pueblos into villages at Mummy Lake on the Mesa Verde is also a distinctive feature of ruins in the Montezuma Valley and McElmo district. In these villages one or more of the component houses may be larger and more conspicuous, dominating all the others, as at Goodman Point, or at Aztec Spring. The houses composing the village at Mud Spring were about the same size, but at Wolley Ranch Ruin only one mound remains, evidently the largest, the smaller having disappeared.

The third group, towers and great houses, includes buildings of oval, circular, semicircular, and rectangular shapes. Morphologically speaking, they do not present structural features of pueblos, for they are not terraced, neither have they specialized circular ceremonial rooms, kivas with vaulted roofs surrounded by rectangular rooms, or other essential features of the pueblo type. The group contains buildings which are sometimes consolidated with cliff-houses and pueblos, but are often independent of them. In this type are included castellated buildings in the Mancos, Yellow Jacket, McElmo, and the numerous northern tributary canyons of the San Juan.

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