Day 16: Woodrow Ruin Archaeological Project 2012, or, How I learned To Put Holes In The Ground and Find Complex, Multicomponent Architecture Every Time.


Today was a very busy, but also very good day at Woodrow Ruin. We were visited by Julia and Kate from the New Mexico Museum of Indian Arts and Culture (which owns Woodrow Ruin), Barb Murphy (who collected archaeomagnetic samples), and Bob and Matt from the Forest Service. Sean Dolan also joined our crew today. While I was giving site tours, the crews made some excellent progress in their units!

Unit 5/5A. Unit 5 continued to perplex, but also remained very exciting today. The crew began by removing more fill from Unit 5A. By the end of the day Unit 5A was level with Unit 5, thus we are now able to combine both and excavate them as one 2 x 2 meter unit. The fill, like the last few days, continues to be full trash, much more so than any of the other units we have excavated. We have found broken bones from many large mammals. Several of these bones appear to be from a bear. I have previously mentioned the bear bones found in Unit 5A. We continued to find more of these, and not just the distal end of the paw. We now have found several flanges, and likely the proximal long bones associated with the paw. And I now think we have the bones from two paws, not just one. The crew also continued to find very large sherds (not really sherds, but large sections of pots and jars) all clustered in the same area. We found half or more of at least two pots today. Once again, while finding all of these artifacts is great, I really am interested in the architecture in the unit. The architecture still remains confusing, mostly because we may have found the edge of another pithouse today. This is located in the southwest corner of the unit. Right now, it looks like a thin adobe lining, similar to the edge found in Unit 5, which caused us to expand into Unit 5A. The fill within this pit is different (in texture and color) than the fill outside of it. We need to trace this out further, but it seems possible that we have late Classic architecture stacked on top of early Classic architecture, stacked on top of two different pithouses, all within one 2 x 2 meter unit! We still have not hit anything that looks like floor, even though the crew is approaching 1.5 meters below datum. Although it is still unclear what exactly the prehistoric occupation history of Unit 5 was, I have greatly enjoyed seeing the progression of this unit. Figuring out what happened is like having all the pieces to the puzzle, except no picture is painted on the puzzle. We now only have 4 days left to solve the puzzle!

Unit 5 at End of Day. The New Pit is in the Top Right of the Picture. Hard to See Now, but It Will Be Further Exposed Tomorrow

Unit 6. Erin is no longer working by herself in Unit 5 as Sean Dolan joined her today. The two continued to define architecture in Unit 6. We now have further defined the adobe wall first noticed in Unit 4; it runs all the across Unit 6 also! What is more exciting is that we found another adobe wall that meets the original wall, forming a corner. Unfortunately, this corner is the corner of our excavation unit, and we are unable to trace it further. Yet it is now almost conclusive that we have transitional period architecture (apx 900-1000 AD) in both units, forming the corner of what most likely is a roomblock. Like Unit 5, however, Unit 6 is rapidly running out of space to excavate in. Between the transitional adobe architecture and the Classic period cobble wall in the western half of the unit, there is little space left. Tomorrow the crew will expose what they can of the floor, and continue to further clean and define the architecture in the room.

Unit 4 and Unit 6 at End of Day

Close Up of Adobe Wall Continuation, and Corner (in corner of unit)

Unit 7. Today Esteban and Jane (formerly of Unit 2), opened Unit 7 in the south end of the site. Digging in this unit was difficult, as it was full of wall fall/river cobbles from the roomblock it is in. The crew was able to excavate 2 levels today. By the end of tomorrow some of this wall fall will be removed, the actual wall defined, and more fill removed.

Unit 7 at End of Day, Facing West

Thanks again to everyone who visited! Thanks to Julia and Kate for not only visiting, but helping to excavate and screen for a bit too! And thanks to Barb Murphy, who took archaeomagnetic dates from the Classic surface in Unit 2. Hopefully we will be able to get some good data from those samples!

Kate and Sean Excavating

Julia Sceening Dirt from Unit 7

Barb Murphy Taking Archaemag Samples



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