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



Corncobs form the most abundant single item of the remains of vegetal foods. At least one to several cobs were found in half of the rooms excavated. The largest concentration appeared in the dry refuse layer, from the floor to 3 feet above, of upper Room 11 where one-third of a bushel was found. Also associated with this were corn stalks, husks and stems.

The cobs show a considerable range in size; rows of kernels vary from 8 to 14 with the majority being 10. This is one less than the average of 11 rows of grains for Pueblo III corn from Cliff Palace studied by Cutler (1956: 176-177). In some specimens it was noted that the kernels were eaten while green.

Perhaps the most interesting observation regarding the collection is that while the corn is of the late Pueblo type, it very probably belongs to the Pima-Papago Corn Race (identified by Dr. Hugh C. Cutler, Missouri Botanical Garden, May 1959).


Stems and rinds or hulls were found in upper Room 11, plus one seed; these are Cucurbita pepo or common squash-pumpkin (identified by Cutler).

Other Foods

One unidentified seed pod or fruit was found in upper Room 11; also pinyon nuts (Pinus edulis).

Yucca Quid

One example of a yucca quid from the same location. It has been shown (Haury 1934: 60) that the practice of chewing yucca is widely spread over New Mexico, Arizona, and the western part of Texas, where it occurs at all times and amongst all peoples. The present writer is unaware whether it contains any food or medicinal value or merely serves as a "chewing gum."

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Last Updated: 10-Jan-2008
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Western National Parks Association