Four Late Prehistoric Kivas at Point of Pines, Arizona

Four Late Prehistoric Kivas at Point of Pines, Arizona

Four Late Prehistoric Kivas at Point of Pines, Arizona

Four Late Prehistoric Kivas at Point of Pines, Arizona

Excerpt

Four kivas of rectangular shape with high narrow platforms were excavated at Point of Pines during the summer of 1948. Two kivas were excavated in the site, designated according to the survey system of the Arizona State Museum, Arizona W:10:52 (Kivas 1 and 2 [52]), and one each in the site Arizona W:10:47 (Kiva 1 [47]) and Arizona W:10:48 (Kiva 1 [48]). These three sites are all located within a half mile radius of the site Arizona W:10:51 reported on by Wendorf in 1950. Two test pits were dug in Arizona W:10:65, a small pueblo about a mile east of Arizona W:10:51; both pits disclosed subterranean rooms of an undetermined nature.

Available literature on archaeology of this southern area of the Pueblo region gives no information on kivas others than the fact that no kivas had been located. Through the years this idea became so fixed in archaeological accounts of the area that little or no attempt was made to locate kivas. Dr. Haury, however, formulated the hypothesis that kivas were present at Point of Pines and that the isolated depressions marked the locations of them. The writer visited the field school in the summer of 1946 and discussed the problem of kivas with Dr. Haury. The idea of testing certain depressions for locating possible kivas grew out of this discussion but it was not until 1948 that the project could be carried out.

Dr. Haury's hypothesis was based on three factors. First, these depressions showed disturbances in the hard native clayey soil as indicated by the plant growth in them. The topsoil is comparatively thin in the area, except in the valley bottoms, and is well carpeted with blue grama grass (Bouteloua gracilis). In the depressions, and on other isolated spots on the ridges, thistle poppies (Argemone platyeras) grow in abundance. The thistles have long tap roots and can only grow where the loose topsoil is very deep--the native clayey soil is too hard for the tap roots to penetrate. Second, a test pit was dug in one of these isolated areas on a ridge in 1945 where the topsoil was thought to be disturbed (the thistle poppies were clustered in this spot). Nearby topsoil was about 20 to 30 cm deep but in the center the test pit went down to 1.20 m beneath the surface where a floor level was encountered; the floor was later determined to belong to an early pithouse. Third, because of finding this subterranean structure and because building stones and midden material were present in the depressions near the pueblo ruins, the depressions were believed to mark the locations of deep isolated rooms which were, in all probability, kivas.

The problem was to test these isolated depressions in order to determine what they were, and if they were kivas to ascertain their chronological position in kiva development among the western pueblo group. The results of this study are contained in the body of this paper.

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