Excavation of a Portion of the East Ruins, Aztec Ruins National Monument, New Mexico


This paper is concerned with data and materials recovered at the East Ruin, Aztec Ruins National Monument, between May and September 1957. They originate from excavations incidental to a stabilization project carried out within a small sector on the west side of that site.

Although the large and sprawling East Ruin, one of two major sites on the Monument, remains largely unexcavated, it does contain a series of open rooms with intact, prehistoric ceilings, and with these the stabilization project was concerned. Seven of these first-story ceilings were treated. Overburden was removed from six second-story rooms and a second-story kiva over them. Fill was removed from six of the ceilinged rooms (the seventh was empty) and from one adjacent, partly excavated room. The data, then, comes from 14 rooms and a partial kiva (see Richert 1957, for stabilization of the rooms and protective measures for the ceilings).

The combined excavation-stabilization project was under the direction of the writer operating with five Navajo laborers of the Ruins Stabilization Unit. To my immediate supervisor, R. G. Vivian, I owe sincere thanks for permitting me to undertake the excavation, and secondly, for his patience in allowing more than adequate time in which to prepare this report.

For their courtesy in taking time to examine and identify a small batch of atypical sherds, I wish to thank: Dr. Emil W. Haury, University of Arizona; Dr. Harold S. Colton, Museum of Northern Arizona; Dr. Erik K. Reed, Mr. Albert H. Schroeder, Mr. John F. Turney, all of the National Park Service; Mr. Stewart Peckham and Dr. A. E. Dittert of the Museum of New Mexico.

I am also grateful to Mr. Lyndon L. Hargrave, Collaborator, and again to Mr. John F. Turney, for their identification of birds and animal bones. I owe special thanks to Dr. Hugh C. Cutler, Director, Missouri Botanical Garden, who identified vegetal remains and made pertinent findings on maize.

A number of tree-ring samples were submitted in April 1962, to the Laboratory of Tree-ring Research for possible dating. Apparently all but one of our specimens are juniper. The single pine specimen was dated for us by Dr. Bryant Bannister while the other material is still under study at this writing.

Roland Richert
Globe, Arizona
July 1962

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Last Updated: 10-Jan-2008
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