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Northern Chaco Outliers Project

Haynie Stabilization

A view of the Haynie site.

Archaeologists, Students, and Lifelong Learners
Begin Third Season of Excavation in 2019

Archaeologists, students, and lifelong learners begin the third year of excavation in 2019.The focus of the project is the Haynie Site (5MT1905), a significant ancestral Pueblo village located just northeast of Cortez. Full-time excavation began during the 2017 field season, and the project will continue for several years.

The Haynie site contains two Chaco–period (A.D. 1050–1140) great houses as well as evidence of substantial earlier occupations. All are part of the larger Lakeview group, which includes the two great houses at the Haynie Site and two others nearby on private land. This makes the Lakeview group one of the densest concentrations of great houses found north of Aztec Ruins.
“There are few communities in the Mesa Verde area that have a tight clustering of public and residential architecture,” said Susan Ryan, Ph.D., director of archaeology at Crow Canyon. “We don’t see many examples of this dense concentration of great houses in the Mesa Verde region.” Others include Lowry Pueblo, 27 miles northwest of Cortez, the Farview community at Mesa Verde National Park, and the community at Mitchell Springs, just south of Cortez.

Unlike the individual small houses in which most ancestral Pueblo families of this era lived, multistory great houses were built to accommodate many households in one large structure. Great houses first developed in Chaco Canyon, in present-day northwestern New Mexico, beginning in approximately A.D. 800. Around A.D. 1080, the Chaco regional system expanded to the area north of the San Juan River—including the Aztec and Salmon Pueblos, the largest great houses outside of Chaco Canyon. Many archaeologists believe the great houses at Aztec Ruins became a center of power equal to Chaco Canyon and probably succeeded Chaco as the primary center during the mid–A.D. 1100s.

kiva haynie

A kiva at the Haynie Site.

The Northern Chaco Outliers Project is designed to generate data necessary to address questions that are fundamental to understanding a series of broader anthropological research domains. Materials collected from the Haynie Site will provide insights into changing human-environment relationships though time, social stratification and equality/inequality, the roles of public architecture and community centers, and identity formation. Engaging in research focused on these domains will enable Crow Canyon to fulfill its mission by advancing and sharing knowledge of the human past and contributing to cross-cultural discussions of human behavior around the world in the past, present, and future.

In 2016, a History Colorado State Historical Fund grant supported the initial site assessment, remote sensing survey, drone mapping, and planning of research at the Haynie Site. A second State Historical Fund grant supported ongoing field and laboratory work during the 2017 and 2018 seasons. Crow Canyon’s Pueblo Advisory Group has visited the site multiple times and participated in a collaborative research design process with Crow Canyon staff. In 2018, architectural stabilization was conducted on the standing portions of the east great house to ensure the preservation of this building which also made the location safe for excavation during future field seasons.