Archaeology at Tuzigoot

July 28, 2016 Posted by: Collin Beckham

I met archaeologist Lucas Hoedl at the Tuzigoot Natural Resources office and we headed out to the dwelling together. Once at the dwelling, we were greeted by the Hopi masons who were doing repair work on one of the walls of a top room. Lucas and I climbed up a couple of ladders and moved to a wall near the masons to survey it. Before the Hopi masons can start repairing a wall, Lucas must determine what clay types have been put in the wall over the years. The walls have been repaired many times during the span of the 1900s and different clay materials were used each time. Lucas glanced at a piece of paper with each of the clay materials listed and then used his own judgment to determine the clay types in the wall. He then mapped out the wall and it was ready for repair!

After I learned how to prepare a wall for repair with Lucas, I then had the luxury of actually getting to help the masons repair the wall they were working on. My first task was mixing up the mud. I took a bucket of sand and poured it into a smaller bucket, then mixed the water in and added more sand or water to the mud mixture as necessary. Once the mud was created I got to put it on the wall; the masons had chipped away all of the cement so now a mud layer had to be put down as a barrier between the old material and the new material.

The wall had to be sprayed down with water before mud was placed on, mostly to ensure that the mud would stick to the wall. When I first grabbed a handful of mud I quickly became aware of how sticky it is; when I tried to put it on the wall it just stuck to my hands. One of the masons showed me a better technique; he quickly flicked the mud off of his hand and onto the wall, which worked a lot better than what I was originally doing. Once on the wall, the mud had to be smoothed out and all of the holes/cracks had to be filled. When the mud was slightly dried we scraped off excess mud to ensure that there was a thin layer.

After the Hopi masons were done for the day Lucas was kind enough to show me a collection of pottery, which the Sinagua traded for with other tribes. The pottery that Lucas showed me mainly consisted of black/white and yellow/black pieces. The rest of my day was spent working on interpretation. The monument was a bit slow today so I was able to spend some time talking to the staff in the museum. When I was outside on the trail it luckily wasn't too hot because of a monsoon storm that provided some breeze and cloud cover. A big thanks to Lucas and the masons for teaching me some archaeology today!


Collection of images portraying archaeologists and masons stabilizing Tuzigoot pueblo


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Last updated: July 28, 2016

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