Goodman Point Pueblo is a Pueblo Indian (Anasazi) site excavated by Crow Canyon, a research and education center in Cortez, Colorado. This is the interim fieldwork report on the excavations conducted in 2006.
Report of 2006 Research at Goodman Point Pueblo (Site 5MT604) Montezuma County, Colorado
Kristin A. Kuckelman and Grant D. Coffey
On November 29, 2006, the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center completed the second year of the Goodman Point Archaeological Project: Community Center and Cultural Landscape Study. The project entails six years of research at the Goodman Point Ruins Group Unit of Hovenweep National Monument (Kuckelman et al. 2004). The first phase of the project consists of three years of excavation at Goodman Point Pueblo (site 5MT604), the largest site in the Goodman Point Unit. Research conducted by Crow Canyon in 2005—the first year of the project—is reported by Coffey and Kuckelman (2006). During the second phase of the project, also three seasons in length, research will be conducted at several other locations in the Goodman Point Unit including a variety of sites such as smaller habitations, roads, and possible agricultural fields. This report summarizes the work that Crow Canyon completed at Goodman Point Pueblo in 2006 and includes research goals and strategies, excavation summaries, and a record of American Indian involvement, as well as research plans for the 2007 field season.
Goodman Point Pueblo (site 5MT604) is a large ancestral Pueblo site in the central Mesa Verde region (Figure 1). The site is located along the eastern margin of a cluster of Pueblo III (A.D. 1150–1300) village sites that stretches from Hovenweep National Monument in the west to Yellow Jacket and Castle Rock pueblos to the north and south, respectively. Goodman Point Pueblo lies approximately six kilometers northeast of Sand Canyon Pueblo and wraps around the head of a small tributary drainage along the western rim of Goodman Canyon. This drainage ultimately drains south into McElmo Creek. In this canyon-head setting, the village occupied pinyon and juniper tableland as well as steeper, sagebrush-covered slopes adjacent to a spring. This perennial water source, called Juarez Spring, flows northwest to southeast through the south-central portion of the site and was probably a crucial source of domestic water for residents of Goodman Point Pueblo.
The site lies within the Goodman Point Unit of Hovenweep National Monument, a 142-acre parcel reserved from homesteading in 1889. Hovenweep is one of four national park areas administered by the Southeast Utah Group of the National Park Service (SEUG-NPS). Crow Canyon’s work in the Goodman Point Unit is being conducted in partnership with the SEUG-NPS (ARPA permit number 05-HOVE-01). Instrumental in this partnership are Corky Hays (Superintendent, Natural Bridges National Monument and Hovenweep National Monument) and Chris Goetze (Cultural Resource Program Manager, SEUG, Hovenweep National Monument).
The Goodman Point Unit is located in the central Mesa Verde region (Lipe 1995; Varien 2000; Varien and Wilshusen 2002) which is the most densely settled portion of the northern San Juan archaeological region. Goodman Point Pueblo is also within the Sand Canyon locality, where Crow Canyon has worked for more than 20 years (Lipe ed. 1992; Varien and Wilshusen 2002).
Goodman Point Pueblo contains 13 roomblocks, a minimum of 111 kivas, one great kiva, several towers, multiple bi-wall complexes, and a semi-continuous village-enclosing wall. Numerous other habitation sites and cultural features dot the surrounding landscape. There is evidence that several of the roomblocks at the pueblo included multi-story structures, making accurate room counts difficult. However, 500 to 750 people might have occupied the village at its zenith. On the basis of observations made during the first two seasons of excavation, the field staff infers that the tested portions of Goodman Point Pueblo were probably constructed and occupied near the end of the late Pueblo III period, between A.D. 1250 and 1280.
History of the Unit
The Goodman Point Unit contains the first archaeological resources set aside for protection by the federal government. In 1889, Section 4, Township 36 North, Range 17 West, which contains the Goodman Point Unit, was reserved from homesteading. This action was the result of a recommendation by W. D. Harlan, a U.S. Surveyor General in Denver, Colorado. In 1951, President Harry Truman reduced the size of the protected parcel to 62 acres within the section and designated this area as part of Hovenweep National Monument. An additional proclamation in 1952 added the additional acreage to compose the present unit, now managed by SEUG-NPS, Hovenweep National Monument.
The use of the name “Goodman” in place names in this area originated from a prominent figure in the history of the Four Corners area. Henry Goodman, onetime foreman of the Lacy-Coleman Cattle Company, brought many thousands of cattle through the Cortez area in the late 1800s but never settled there. Because the land on which Goodman Point Pueblo is located has been protected since 1889, sites within the Goodman Point Unit are in nearly pristine condition (Connolly 1992)—having suffered little damage from nonprofessional excavation during historic times.
Despite its obvious research potential, no systematic testing had been conducted within the unit before 2005. During the past 50 years, NPS archaeologists have visited the unit to monitor its condition; however, research within the unit has been limited to surface collections at Goodman Point Pueblo, including collections by Pinkley in 1951, by McLellan and Hallisey in 1967, and by an unnamed individual in 1969 (Kuckelman et al. 2004).
Archaeologists from Crow Canyon conducted noncollection pottery tallies at Goodman Point Pueblo in 1986. The results of these tallies, combined with the results of an analysis of sherds gathered during previous NPS collections, indicate that there was a limited occupation of the site during the Pueblo II period and a major occupation during the Pueblo III period (Adler 1986). One of the primary goals of Crow Canyon’s research is to greatly refine the chronology of this important site.
As part of a larger survey of the Sand Canyon locality (Adler 1988, 1990, 1992), Crow Canyon archaeologists mapped Goodman Point Pueblo in 1987 using a plane table and alidade. In that same year, they conducted a pedestrian survey of the Goodman Point Unit. This survey focused on residential sites dating from the Pueblo II and III periods, and 17 such sites were recorded during this early survey.
In 2003, Crow Canyon and the SEUG-NPS conducted a detailed pedestrian survey of the entire 142 acres of the Goodman Point Unit and recorded a total of 42 sites with 56 temporal components (Hovezak et al. 2004). The density within the unit is thus one site per 3.4 acres, or 189 sites per square mile, which is one of the highest recorded site densities in the northern San Juan region. The 56 temporal components identified during the survey include four that date from the Basketmaker III period, 15 that are of Pueblo II affiliation, and 23 that date from the Pueblo III period (Kuckelman et al. 2004). In 2005, the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center began a six-year project at the unit. The research conducted during the second year of that project is the subject of this report.
Research Goals and Strategies
The goals of our research at Goodman Point Pueblo reflect Crow Canyon’s multi-faceted approach to historical, anthropological, and methodological issues, as well as our commitment to Native American interests. The following outline provides an overview of some of the broader questions we are addressing; a more detailed discussion of the research goals and objectives can be found in the research design created specifically for this project (Kuckelman et al. 2004).
Our historical research goals include assessing the occupational history of the pueblo and determining when, how, and why the village was depopulated. Anthropological research objectives include examining the settlement ecology of Pueblo farmers in the Mesa Verde region and analyzing how aggregation affects the internal and external organization of communities. Research goals designed to provide information important to Native American interests include assessing the appropriate methods for studying relationships between archaeological cultures and modern groups and examining the processes that led to migration from the Mesa Verde region. Methodological research issues include large-scale goals such as producing fine-grained chronologies and more specific goals such as using petrographic analysis to produce detailed models of intercommunity exchange.
In the process of achieving these goals, Crow Canyon archaeologists incorporate field methods and procedures that stress a conservation approach. The specific methods we use in the field are described in the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center Field Manual (2001). These practices are guided by the principles of conservation archaeology as outlined by Lipe (1974); namely, that most of the deposits on the site will be left intact for the future. Following from this philosophy, the only artifacts on the modern ground surface being collected at Goodman Point Pueblo are those within excavation units; all other artifacts on the modern ground surface are left in place.
Our testing strategies are designed to produce data that both address our research goals and adhere to the ethos of conservation archaeology. By design, excavation units expose only key portions of individual structures or middens and are located such that we can glean the maximum amount of information about the specific cultural phenomena of interest.
The characteristics of specific remains we are investigating and the types of information we wish to collect from particular contexts also guide our decisions regarding the size and placement of test units (Figure 2 and Table 1). To facilitate comparisons of architectural blocks, statistically comparable data from midden contexts are desirable. Therefore, we place randomly selected 1-x-1-m test units (a minimum of five per architectural block) within areas that appear, from modern ground surface, to contain midden deposits. We occasionally excavate a unit adjacent to a unit already excavated in order to gather crucial additional data.
For numerous reasons, we excavate larger units in structural areas, and we place them judgmentally. In kivas, we locate each 2-x-2-m unit in the southern portion of an observable kiva depression so that we can expose and document some of the architectural features typically found in the southern part of a kiva (i.e., pilasters, southern recess, ventilator tunnel, deflector, and hearth) and sample the contents of the hearth. By placing excavation units in these locations, we are able to collect data relevant to site architectural patterns, subsistence strategies, kiva-related activities, and abandonment style.
We excavate judgmental 1-x-2-m units to test surface structures, the north walls of roomblocks, and village-enclosing walls. These test pits reveal a variety of architectural elements and cultural deposits. The primary purpose of excavating north-wall and enclosing-wall units is to document architectural styles and patterns as well as possible occupational sequences at the site; units in surface structures also yield important information concerning structure use and abandonment practices and events. We tested only kivas, rooms, towers, north walls, village-enclosing walls, and middens in 2005; in 2006, we also began our investigations of possible special-use buildings such as the D-shaped, bi-wall structure in Block 700 and Block 1200, which contains another bi-wall structure and the great kiva. Testing of these blocks is ongoing.
All cultural materials and records from the Goodman Point Archaeological Project will be housed at the research laboratory on the Crow Canyon campus until analysis and report preparation have been completed. These materials will then be stored in a federal curation facility in perpetuity.
2006 Field Season
The 2006 field season began in April when the field staff began completing unfinished documentation from 2005, probing for buried refuse deposits in untested areas of the site, and setting in new excavation units. Under the guidance and supervision of Crow Canyon staff members, program participants middle-school-age through elderly adult excavated at the site from May 2 until October 6. The field staff finished closing the site for the winter on November 29.
At the beginning of the 2005 field season, we mapped the site using a Topcon GT-303 electronic total station surveying instrument and AutoCAD software. We assigned a number to each architectural block—Crow Canyon defines an architectural block as a roomblock and its associated kivas, middens, and other extramural areas. This designation facilitates and organizes the documentation of the site and the resulting analytic data. At Goodman Point Pueblo, we numbered the blocks from north to south; the northernmost block is Architectural Block 100 and the southernmost is Block 1300.
During the 2006 field season, we refined our site map. We clarified the edges of the slickrock drainages that bisect the site near Block 1100; we mapped the boundaries of previously undetected middens in Blocks 700, 900, 1100, and 1200; we set in 73 additional excavation units; and we further defined the outline of a D-shaped bi-wall structure in Block 700 (Figure 2).
In order to obtain data relevant to the research goals from each spatially distinct portion of the site, we will excavate test pits in every defined architectural block. In 2006, we continued research in Blocks 100, 300, 400, 500, 800, 900, 1000, and 1100, and began testing in Blocks 600, 700, and 1200. By the end of the 2006 field season, the only block that remained untested was Block 1300.
Table 1 summarizes, by architectural block, units in which excavation occurred either in 2005 or 2006. The table also specifies which units have been completed and backfilled as opposed to those units that are in progress. From May 2005 through November 2006, we conducted excavations in 145 units. Thirty excavation units were completed in 2005, and 47 units were completed in 2006.
As the documentation of each unit was completed, we placed a layer of moisture- and vapor-permeable Geotek fabric against all exposed architectural surfaces before backfilling. We were careful to place rocks gently against exposed masonry walls, and to fill each unit with rocks and sediment removed from that particular unit. We tamped the fill to reduce settling and returned the top of the fill as much as possible to the original appearance of the unit at modern ground surface.
Ongoing units were covered with plywood sheets supported by 2-x-6-inch boards and then covered with heavily anchored plastic sheeting. We encircled each covered unit with flagging tape that was affixed to nearby vegetation. These measures protect the safety of visitors to the Goodman Point Unit as well as protecting the excavation pits from damage by the elements during the off-season.
In the following text we summarize, by architectural block, excavations conducted during 2006. The quantity and location of the units excavated thus far reflect our commitment to distribute test pits broadly across the site. Only those blocks in which research occurred in 2006 are discussed below.
Architectural Block 100
Architectural Block 100 is the northernmost block within Goodman Point Pueblo. The roomblock is approximately 65 m long east-west, and contains nine kiva depressions. In 2006, we continued our documentation of Room 105 and Kiva 107. Also, to boost our sample of refuse from this block, we excavated two additional midden units (737N 768E and 740N 791E) south of the structures; these units were completed and backfilled.
Many artifacts rested on the floor of Room 105, including a partly reconstructible corrugated jar, two partial ladles, and several burned corn cobs, ground-stone tools, and lithic cores. This room appears to be roughly square and measures 1.8 m north-south; this is unusually large for a Pueblo III room. Our excavations exposed a doorway in the east wall of the room and the edge of a doorway in the south wall of the room. That Room 105 was the lowermost story of a multi-story structure is suggested by the current height of the walls plus the volume of rubble removed from the room during excavation.
We continued our documentation of Kiva 107 which included exposing the floor surface in the northern portion of the excavation unit and excavating the hearth. We discovered that the hearth is quite large and was remodeled twice. We noted with interest that during the first episode of remodeling, during which a new northern rim was fashioned, the person doing the remodeling left finger impressions in the adobe. The slender shape of these impressions suggests that they were made by the hand of an adult female or a subadult.
Architectural Block 300
Architectural Block 300 is situated in the western portion of the site, just north of the NPS trail that bisects the site east-west. The block measures approximately 42 m long east-west and contains four kiva depressions. In 2006, we began excavation of a supplemental midden unit; we hope to augment our refuse sample with this strategy.
Architectural Block 400
Architectural Block 400 is located in the west-central portion of Goodman Point Pueblo, just south of the NPS trail that bisects the site east-west. This block is part of a larger architectural unit that extended nearly the entire width of the village; our division between blocks 400 and 500 is largely arbitrary and intended to facilitate uniform sampling across the site. Block 400 contains 12 kiva depressions and stretches 68 m east of the western village-enclosing wall.
During 2006, work continued in Kiva 405, and we collected four additional tree-ring samples, bringing the total of tree-ring samples from this structure to 31. We have defined two floor surfaces and a portion of a deflector, and we defined the outline of the hearth. The deflector was constructed of horizontally coursed masonry, and three small niches had been fashioned into its north face—a very unusual construction detail.
An abundant sample of the refuse from Block 400 was collected during the excavation of five test pits south of the structures in Block 400. A 2-x-1-m excavation unit designed to expose the north wall of Block 600 also yielded refuse from Block 400.
Architectural Block 500
Architectural Block 500 is located in the east-central portion of the site, and is the eastern part of the large architectural expanse that includes Block 400. Block 500 contains 20 kiva depressions and extends approximately 78 m from the boundary of Block 400 on the west to the village-enclosing wall on the east.
The testing of Kiva 501 continued in 2006. The hearth of this kiva was not within the 2-x-2-m unit that we excavated in 2005; however, the features that were exposed indicated that the hearth was just outside our unit to the northwest. In 2006, then, we excavated an additional 1-x-1-m excavation unit adjacent to the northwest corner of the original test pit. During the excavation of this unit we collected several additional tree-ring samples from the burned roofing debris and exposed two partial corrugated vessels on the floor. The hearth was partly defined before the end of the season.
Work also continues in two additional units that were added east of this kiva. The goals of this excavation are to discover and document the construction details of the village-enclosing wall in this area of the site and to determine the use of an unusual space between this wall and the east enclosing wall (or “cell” wall) of Kiva 501. Testing of the midden and the associated vertical-slab feature in Block 500 was completed; however, the associated documentation will not be finalized until the 2007 field season.
Architectural Block 600
Architectural Block 600 is located in the west-central portion of the site, south of Block 400. Block 600 contains two kiva depressions and measures 20 m east-west. Test pits have been excavated into Kiva 605, Room 604, and along the north wall of the roomblock. No midden has yet been defined for this block.
Excavations into Kiva 605 have progressed through wall collapse and through a portion of the roof-fall stratum. Few artifacts are contained in this fill; however, 33 tree-ring samples have been collected from the structure thus far.
The north wall of the roomblock and a small portion of the floor of Room 604 have been exposed. This room probably abuts the exterior face of the wall that encloses the unnumbered, eastern kiva in Block 600. If so, the room was built after that kiva was constructed. Also, unlike most of the structures that enclose kivas at this site, this enclosing wall (or “cell” wall) is curved. This interesting distinction could be significant for interpreting bi-wall structures.
Architectural Block 700
Architectural Block 700 was located near the center of the village, perched on the canyon rim above Juarez Spring. Block 700 contains four kiva depressions and measures approximately 30 m north-south and 20 m east-west. As we carefully examined this block to select test-pit locations, we discovered that the block incorporates a D-shaped, bi-wall structure. We then mapped the layout of this block in more detail (Figure 2) and noted its similarity to Block 1500 at Sand Canyon Pueblo (Kuckelman et al. 2003 and Figure 3).
The excavation of a test pit is underway in Kiva 706, an oversized kiva in the eastern portion of the D-shaped bi-wall structure. Two large unburned tree-ring samples have been collected from this kiva thus far.
Testing has also begun in one of the bi-wall rooms—Room 709. The north and west walls of the room have been exposed, and the west, or dividing, wall abuts the north wall. The west wall is unusually thick (65 cm) for an interior wall; the full thickness of the north wall is not known because the north edge of the wall is outside the test pit. Two unburned tree-ring samples have been collected thus far. Nearby excavations that reveal the exterior face of the north wall of the block indicate that the block, or at least this portion of it, was a minimum of three stories tall. However, we have not yet been able to determine which story Room 709 represents.
Several unusual artifacts have been found in the wall-collapse debris outside the north wall, including two hematite paint stones and an unique artifact that consists of a cobble protruding from layers of cemented stone that is similar to items referred to as “canopas” in southern Arizona. It is possible that the artifact assemblage collected from Block 700 will be indicative of nondomestic activities.
We completed our testing of a small discrete rubble mound west of the large mound that forms most of Architectural Block 700. This structure was somewhat arbitrarily included in Block 700 instead of Block 600. Originally inferred to be the remains of a tower, this mound is now known to be the remains of an isolated kiva enclosed within a double- coursed circular containing structure. As is typical for this site, the structure was built on bedrock. Although the structure is small and poorly preserved, several features typical of kivas were exposed within the excavated 2-x-1-m unit: prepared floor, a hearth, a deflector, a masonry bench face, and a ventilator-tunnel opening capped with a large lintel stone (also see Summary and Interpretations, below). Two tree-ring samples were collected from the roofing debris. Artifacts found on the floor include a bone tool, several ground-stone tools, two partly reconstructible corrugated jars, and one partial black-on-white bowl.
We have also begun testing the midden and have collected a modest assemblage of the refuse from this block. We hope to augment our sample with additional test pits in 2007; we suspect that refuse may be buried beneath the considerable wall-collapse debris near this structure.
Architectural Block 800
Architectural Block 800 is located in the central portion of the site, northeast of Juarez Spring. The east edge of the tallest rubble mound at the site, that of Block 700, forms the west boundary of Block 800.
Our testing of Block 800 is well underway and will continue in 2007. Our initial impression of Kiva 807 was that the upper fill might include culturally deposited refuse (Coffey and Kuckelman 2006). However, further examination of the deposits led us to change this interpretation; it is probable that the refuse was transported into the kiva depression naturally from midden deposits upslope. As of this writing, no structure yet tested at Goodman Point Pueblo contains culturally deposited refuse, which suggests that the occupation of the village was of brief duration.
The masonry walls of Kiva 807 are poorly preserved. Even so, we have defined the south wall of the structure and possibly the top of a deflector. We’ve collected six tree-ring samples from this kiva thus far in our excavations.
Room 806 continues to yield data important to understanding village topography and the construction methods used by the villagers on the steep slope north and northeast of Juarez Spring. We added a 1-x-1-m unit to the south end of the 2-x-1-m unit we excavated in 2005 in order to expose a section of the south wall of Room 806 and to refine our knowledge of the architectural layout of this block. Happily, sections of both the south and west walls of Room 806 were exposed in this additional unit.
In order to augment the rather sparse sample of refuse we collected from this block in 2005, we added two judgmental midden units southeast of Kiva 807. Fortunately, these units yielded abundant refuse. Work will continue in the excavation units in Block 800 in 2006.
Architectural Block 900
Architectural Block 900 is located in the east-central portion of the site, adjacent to the eastern village-enclosing wall. This block contains nine kiva depressions and measures 43 m east-west. Most of our testing in this block was completed in 2006.
We concluded excavations in Kiva 914, also known as the “clay” kiva. Twelve tree-ring samples were collected from the burned roofing debris in this structure. Nearly all masonry that had once existed in the portion of the kiva that was excavated had collapsed; we theorize that this damage resulted from run-off draining repeatedly into the depression after the structure was abandoned. As a result of the high clay content of the natural geologic deposits in this area of the site, run-off would not have been readily absorbed into the surrounding strata. The resulting pooled water would have dissolved the mortar in the masonry that formed the walls and pilasters of the kiva. However, we were able to define the original location of the ventilator tunnel opening, and the deflector—which is a very large vertical slab—is intact. The hearth is well preserved, vertical-walled, and 45 cm deep.
Numerous artifacts rested on the floor of this kiva. A partly reconstructible corrugated jar and a partial Mesa Verde Black-on-white bowl rested on the floor just north of the deflector. South of the deflector were several items including two lithic cores, a single-bitted axe, a mano, and four long bones that had been modified by cutting, fracturing, and burning. Although these bones have not yet been analyzed, three species appear to be represented—possibly fox, bobcat, and turkey or other large bird. These floor-associated items, as well as data from analysis of the hearth ash, will offer important information about the final subsistence activities of the residents of this village.
We began excavation of a new unit along the north wall of Block 900 in the stead of the north-wall unit excavated in 2005. Along with numerous vertical masonry courses, two separate construction episodes can be detected in this section of wall. Also, refuse associated with Block 500 was collected from the north end of the excavation pit.
Architectural Block 1000
Architectural Block 1000 was the extreme southeasternmost block in the village. This block contains a minimum of ten kiva depressions and includes a tower complex just outside the village-enclosing wall.
In 2006, progress in Kiva 1007 included the exposure of the deflector and the collection of 11 additional tree-ring samples, for a two-season total of 15 samples from this structure. The sizable horizontal expanse of this block and the possibility of obtaining tree-ring samples from the extreme southeastern edge of the village prompted us to test Kiva 1015. We’ve defined the south wall and the deflector of this kiva, but no roofing timbers have been exposed.
An area of rubble chosen for testing because its surface signature was typical of a tower has instead proved to contain the remains of a kiva—Kiva 1002. This structure abuts the interior face of the east village-enclosing wall, and within our test pit we defined a bench, pilaster, hearth, deflector, and also found a few artifacts on the floor.
Excavations associated with Structure 1010 (a tower outside the village-enclosing wall) progressed in 2006. A concentration of ash was collected from the small area of floor that has been exposed thus far. Our testing of the space between this tower and village-enclosing wall revealed that this area was not enclosed to form a room but was left as a gap between the two constructions.
Exposure of the north wall of a roomblock in Block 1000 revealed that, like most other walls exposed at the site, it rested on bedrock. Other important details of the construction of roomblocks in this village were also detected during the final documentation of this test pit.
A test pit into an area that appeared to contain a surface room (Room 1011) proved instead to be the location of a deep and rich deposit of refuse that was sandwiched between a row of kivas to the north and the surface rooms of a different roomblock to the south. This sample of refuse increased the midden assemblage from Block 1000 considerably.
Architectural Block 1100
Architectural Block 1100 formed a portion of the western boundary of the village, and was positioned between two drainages that converge at the pour-off above Juarez Spring. The long axis of this block measures about 42 m and is aligned north-south—the only architectural block in the village so oriented. The block contains six clearly visible kiva depressions, and two kivas (Kiva 1103 and Kiva 1120) that exhibit atypical surface signatures.
Work in the bi-wall structure that we began in 2005 continued in 2006. Excavation in Room 1106 progressed, and a test pit was initiated in the adjacent depression. This depression contains the remains of a kiva (Kiva 1114) situated within the curve of the tested bi-wall rooms. Excavations in Kiva 1101 also continued; seven additional tree-ring samples were collected, for a two-year total of 19 samples from this kiva.
Testing of an isolated structure southeast of the main roomblock was completed in 2006. Like a similar structure northeast and across a drainage, this rubble mound initially appeared to be the remains of a tower. However, excavations revealed architectural features typical of kivas. The test pit along the north wall of this structure, Kiva 1103, contained a prepared floor surface and the remains of collapsed bench-face masonry within a masonry enclosing (or “cell”) wall. Several artifacts, including a cobble tool and a small cluster of animal bones, were on the floor within our test pit. See Summary and Interpretations, below, for discussion of the significance of this structure.
An exploratory 1-x-2-m pit in the southeast portion of the roomblock revealed the west wall of a kiva, even though no depression was observable at the modern ground surface. As soon as we defined the upper lining wall, pilaster, and bench surface of this kiva, we documented the exposed kiva architecture, and backfilled the unit.
During exploratory probing in April 2006, we defined three midden areas associated with Block 1100. These middens are adjacent to the roomblock and are northeast, southeast, and southwest of this block. We excavated 13 test pits into these three middens and were rewarded with a substantial assemblage of refuse from this important block. The resulting data should help us determine the range of activities in which the residents engaged as well as whether this unusual block was used for something other than ordinary residential purposes.
Architectural Block 1200
Architectural Block 1200 formed the extreme southwestern edge of the village. This block contains a great kiva, a circular bi-wall complex, and a minimum total of 15 kiva depressions. In 2006, we began testing the structures in this block by placing one test pit in each of the following locations: along the north wall of the block, in the westernmost kiva within the bi-wall structure (Kiva 1204), and in a bi-wall room (Room 1207) southwest of Kiva 1204.
Excavations in Kiva 1204 have exposed the south wall of the structure, and 15 tree-ring samples have been collected from the roofing debris. The north and east walls of Room 1207 have been exposed, and the top of a doorway has been defined in the north wall. Two unburned tree-ring samples have been collected from this room. The section of wall exposed along the north wall of the architectural block is very poorly preserved and has been difficult to define thus far.
Summary and Interpretations
During Crow Canyon’s second season of fieldwork at Goodman Point Pueblo, we made enormous strides toward achieving our research goals. We further refined our site map, adding natural features, additional middens, new excavation units, and more detail to the architectural layout of Block 700. Numerous excavation pits that were initiated in 2005 were completed, documented, and backfilled in 2006. The resulting notes, maps, artifacts, samples, and color and black-and-white photographic images will provide the basis for interpretations of this important late Pueblo III village.
The inferences we drew during the 2005 season regarding the occupational history of the village were supported by our additional observations in 2006—most importantly, that the village was constructed and occupied during the mid-to-late A.D. 1200s. Although we’ve found a small number of pottery sherds dating from earlier periods at the site, the quantities are insufficient to suggest habitation of this canyon-rim locale before the mid-A.D. 1200s. The construction of the village will be dated more precisely when tree-ring dates become available; thus far, 274 tree-ring samples have been submitted to the Laboratory of Tree-ring Research in Tucson.
Some of the middens we sampled in 2006 were as shallow as those tested in 2005. However, this year we were successful in locating more robust deposits of refuse, most notably the midden sandwiched between roomblocks in Architectural Block 1000, the refuse south and southwest of the roomblock in Block 400, and the midden southwest of the roomblock in Block 1100. The presence of shallow middens and the absence of refuse from the fills from any structure tested thus far suggest that the village was occupied for a relatively short period of time.
Like most structures tested in 2005, those exposed in 2006 rested on bedrock. Builders constructed kivas from bedrock—in many cases from exposed slickrock—upward. Kivas were constructed within a rectangular masonry structure, a circular masonry structure, or were enclosed by large rubble-and-earthen berms.
Excavations in 2006 resulted in several important discoveries. First, our kiva count for the site rose from 107 (Coffey and Kuckelman 2006) to 111; we identified four additional structures as kivas that could not be recognized as such from the modern ground surface. Our testing of a small isolated rubble mound northeast of the main drainage through the site (that we had tentatively identified as a tower) revealed that this structure was in fact a small kiva (Kiva 702) contained within a masonry “container.” We reached this conclusion after several architectural features typical of kivas were exposed in our test pit. This conclusion also supported our preliminary interpretation in 2005 that a similar structure southwest of the drainage was actually a kiva (Kiva 1103), even though fewer features were exposed in this structure than in Kiva 702. The locations of these two kivas on opposite edges of a drainage, as well as the isolated context of the buildings—that is, the absence of adjacent rooms typical of a residential suite of structures—suggest to us that these kivas were not ordinary dwellings. The identification of these structures as kivas also serves as a cautionary note to researchers attempting to identify structure type on the basis of the characteristics its rubble mound. Traditionally, many archaeologists in the northern Southwest have assumed that all small isolated rubble mounds conceal the remains of towers.
A third unexpected kiva was identified along the east village-enclosing wall in Block 1000. We had proposed, from evidence at the modern ground surface, that this structure was also a tower. A high, sloping area in the southeast portion of the roomblock in Architectural Block 1100 that defied our attempts at interpretation during site mapping in 2005 also proved to contain a kiva (Kiva 1120).
Perhaps most unexpected and significant was our discovery of a D-shaped bi-wall structure in Architectural Block 700. This was the tallest structure in the village, and its distinctive layout, location in the center of the village, canyon-rim position, and proximity to Juarez Spring all suggest that this was not an ordinary residential building. We will test Block 700 carefully and will investigate similarities between this block and Block 1500 at Sand Canyon Pueblo in order to attempt to discover the relationship between these two contemporary villages. We’ll also consider possible ties between these villages and Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Canyon. Testing of blocks 1100 and 1200 at Goodman Point Pueblo, which contain partial and circular bi-wall structures, respectively, will continue in 2006.
Our inference in 2005 that circumstances surrounding the depopulation of Goodman Point Pueblo might have been similar to those at Sand Canyon and Castle Rock Pueblos was supported by additional observations in 2006. This inference, bolstered primarily by the characteristics of structure abandonments, is not unexpected, because all three villages appear to have been abandoned during the widespread depopulation of the region in the late A.D. 1200s.
During the 2006 field season, a large and diverse segment of the interested public benefitted from Crow Canyon’s research at Goodman Point Pueblo. The excavation portion of the project involved 651 participants comprising 213 adults and 438 students high-school age or younger. We provided an additional 723 people with formal tours of the site as part of Crow Canyon-sponsored “day” programs, non-excavation school programs, and other events that did not include excavation. Also, 81 colleagues were provided with site tours, and a minimum of 65 drop-in visitors received a map and information about the site from Crow Canyon personnel during the excavation season.
Thus, as part of Crow Canyon’s field research in 2006, a total of 1,520 individuals were informed about Goodman Point Pueblo and the prehistory of the region. This substantial figure reflects both Crow Canyon’s commitment to involving diverse segments of the interested public in our research as well as considerable professional and public interest in the ancient past of the Mesa Verde region. All research and education conducted at the site was made possible through a cooperative partnership between Crow Canyon and the NPS.
American Indian Involvement
American Indian consultation is an important part of the research process at the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center. Both Crow Canyon and the National Park Service are committed to the consultation process and respect traditional cultural values. During the 2006 field season, representatives of eight different American Indian groups visited Crow Canyon’s excavations at Goodman Point Pueblo: Acoma, Hopi, Jemez, Native Village of Afognak, Ohkay Owingeh (San Juan), Taos, Tesuque, and Zuni.
As part of a study of Pueblo Indian agricultural practices, as stated in the Goodman Point Archaeological Project research design (Kuckelman et al. 2004), Crow Canyon hosted a Pueblo Farming workshop from May 29 through June 2, 2006. Ten tribal representatives attended this workshop, which focused on modern and ancient Pueblo farming practices in the northern Southwest. Goals of the workshop were to design a project that would result in both a better understanding of the agricultural ecology of the Mesa Verde region as well as an educational program on Pueblo farming for Crow Canyon participants. The workshop included discussions of Pueblo farming knowledge and tours of Shields Pueblo and Goodman Point Pueblo and resulted in plans to pursue the possibility of collaborating on an experimental gardening study. The tribes represented comprise Hopi, Jemez, Ohkay Owingeh (San Juan), and Tesuque. The following Crow Canyon staff members were involved: Mark Varien, Marjorie Connolly, Grant Coffey, Scott Ortman, Dan Mooney, and Jon Callender.
Though never sought as part of Crow Canyon’s research, we inadvertently discovered human remains during excavations in 2006. Our treatment of human remains on the Goodman Point Archaeological Project follows Crow Canyon’s official policy regarding the treatment of human remains and associated funerary objects as specified in our field manual (Crow Canyon Archaeological Center 2001). In compliance with our ARPA permit (number 05-HOVE-01), we notified the NPS promptly of all such discoveries. We documented any exposed remains carefully and left identified remains in their original depositional contexts. Kathy Mowrer, an osteological analyst employed by Crow Canyon, conducted in-field analysis of all remains that were recognized in the field as human. To ensure the adequate protection of the human remains exposed during the field season, the documentation and backfilling of excavation units containing in situ human remains received the highest priority.
We have recorded 11 human remains occurrences (HROs) at Goodman Point Pueblo. These are remains that appeared, from limited exposure, to be at least partly articulated or to include a major portion of a cranium. Other remains were disarticulated, scattered, or isolated, although because excavation in the vicinity of such remains was restricted after the first few elements were exposed, we could not determine the total quantities and types of bones in those locations. We infer that two HROs (HROs 7 and 10) found in 2006 represent bodies that were formally interred. Both of these individuals were children. HRO 7 had been interred into a pit in the midden of Architectural Block 800 during the occupation of the village, and HRO 10 was placed in a shallow pit along the north wall of a roomblock in Architectural Block 1000 at the end of the occupation of the village. The partial remains of an infant (HRO 9) were found in a midden context in Block 800 and might also have been formally interred.
The origins and depositional histories of numerous cranial fragments recovered from middens cannot be determined; however, they might have resulted from formal burials that had been disturbed in ancient times. Numerous teeth and phalanges were found during screening but do not necessarily indicate the death of an individual.
Other remains discovered were in abandonment contexts such as on a structure floor or in collapsed roofing debris or wall debris. The contexts of these remains are similar to those of many remains found at Castle Rock and Sand Canyon pueblos that exhibited clear evidence of violent death near the time of village and regional depopulation (Kuckelman et al. 2002). Therefore, these remains at Goodman Point might also be indicative of violence associated with the depopulation of the village and the region.
Plans for the 2007 Field Season
Although we have not finalized detailed excavation plans for 2007, general goals can be stated. Our first priority will be to complete and backfill ongoing units. Our second priority will be to set in new excavation units and to otherwise prepare for our participant excavation program.
The primary spatial focus of our excavations in 2007 will be the central and southern portions of the site, especially Blocks 700 and 1200, which contain a D-shaped bi-wall building and a great kiva, respectively, as well as Block 1300, which we have not yet begun to test. Also, we will attempt to define and test the midden in Block 600. We hope to collect many additional tree-ring samples from the site, in particular from blocks 600, 700, and 1200. Within the parameters of our research design, we will endeavor to gather the maximum amount of data so that we will be able to reach our research goals as fully as possible.
The Crow Canyon Archaeological Center's 2006 field and laboratory program related to the Goodman Point Archaeological Project was funded in part by State Historical Fund grants from the Colorado Historical Society.
Goodman Point Archaeological Project Personnel, 2006 Field Season
Research Field Personnel
Kristin Kuckelman, project director
Grant Coffey, research archaeologist
Steve Copeland, research archaeologist
Chelsea Kuiper, field intern
Alison Bredthauer, field intern
Sarena Morris, field intern
Laura Richardson, field intern, seasonal archaeologist
Emily Cubbon, field intern
Ghufran Ahmed, research trainee
Robby Sinick, education intern
Amy Aurit, education intern
Sophie Chessel, education intern
Rebekah Barnoff, seasonal counselor
Bill Sherman, seasonal counselor
Other Staff and Volunteers
John Davis (NPS)
Noreen Fritz (NPS)
Chris Goetze (NPS)
Corky Hays (NPS)
Chris Nickel (NPS)
Todd Overbye (NPS)
Will See (NPS)
Students from Southwest Open High School
- Adler, Michael. A.
- 1986 Report on a Non-collection Reconnaissance of Goodman Point Ruin. Manuscript on file, Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, Cortez, Colorado.
- 1988 Archaeological Survey and Testing in the Sand Canyon Pueblo/Goodman Point Ruin Locality, Montezuma County, Colorado, 1987 Field Season. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, Cortez, Colorado. Report submitted to the Bureau of Land Management, San Juan Resource Area Office, Durango, Colorado.
- 1990 Communities of Soil and Stone: An Archaeological Investigation of Population Aggregation Among the Mesa Verde Region Anasazi, A.D. 900–1300. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Michigan. University Microfilms, Ann Arbor.
- 1992 The Upland Survey. In The Sand Canyon Archaeological Project: A Progress Report, edited by William D. Lipe, pp. 11–23. Occasional Papers, no. 2. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, Cortez, Colorado.
- Coffey, Grant D., and Kristin A. Kuckelman
- 2006 Report of 2005 Research at Goodman Point Pueblo (Site 5MT604), Montezuma County, Colorado [HTML Title]. Available: https://www.crowcanyon.org/goodmanpoint2005. Date of use: 5 February 2007.
- Connolly, Marjorie R.
- 1992 The Goodman Point Historic Land-Use Study. In The Sand Canyon Archaeological Project: A Progress Report, edited by William D. Lipe, pp. 33–44. Occasional Papers, no. 2. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, Cortez, Colorado.
- Crow Canyon Archaeological Center
- 2001 The Crow Canyon Archaeological Center Field Manual [HTML Title]. Available:
https://www.crowcanyon.org/fieldmanual. Date of use: 2 February 2007.
- Hovezak, Timothy D., Leslie M. Sesler, Mark D. Varien, and Chris Goetze
- 2004 An Archeological Survey of the Goodman Point Unit of Hovenweep National Monument, Montezuma County, Colorado. Report submitted to the Colorado Historical Society, Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation. Denver.
- Kuckelman, Kristin A., Bruce A. Bradley, Melissa J. Churchill, and James H. Kleidon
- 2003 A Descriptive and Interpretive Summary of Excavations, by Architectural Block. In The Archaeology of Sand Canyon Pueblo: Intensive Excavations at a Late-Thirteenth-Century Village in Southwestern Colorado [HTML Title], edited by Kristin A. Kuckelman. Available: https://www.crowcanyon.org/sandcanyon. Date of use: 19 January 2007.
- Kuckelman, Kristin A., Ricky R. Lightfoot, and Debra L. Martin
- 2002 The Bioarchaeology and Taphonomy of Violence at Castle Rock and Sand Canyon Pueblos, Southwestern Colorado. American Antiquity 67:486–513.
- Kuckelman, Kristin A., Mark D. Varien, Scott G. Ortman, and Jonathan D. Till
- 2004 A Proposal to Conduct Archeological Testing at the Goodman Point Ruins Group Unit of Hovenweep National Monument. Manuscript on file, Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, Cortez, Colorado.
- 1995 The Depopulation of the Northern San Juan: Conditions in the Turbulent 1200s. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 14:143–169.
- Lipe, William D. (editor)
- 1992 Sand Canyon Archaeological Project: A Progress Report, edited by William D. Lipe. Occasional Papers, no. 2. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, Cortez, Colorado.
- Varien, Mark D., and Richard H. Wilshusen
- 2002 A Partnership for Understanding the Past: Crow Canyon Research in the Central Mesa Verde Region. In Seeking the Center Place: Archaeology and Ancient Communities in the Mesa Verde Region, edited by Mark D. Varien and Richard H. Wilshusen, pp.3–23. The University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City.
REMINDER: Archaeological resources are protected by federal laws, and archaeological research is guided by a set of professional ethics. See Archaeological Ethics and Law.
© Copyright 2007 by Crow Canyon Archaeological Center. All rights reserved.