Field Work 1972

The major objective of the 1972 field season was the complete excavation of Kiva C and stratigraphic excavations in each of the 19 roomblocks. Fifty-three rooms in the 19 roomblocks were excavated. The additional construction and architectural detail obtained from these rooms verified the consistency of the building pattern throughout the Pueblo. The prime reason for excavating rooms in all roomblocks was to provide tree-ring samples for dating, which could be added to ceramic analysis, and architectural detail that could be combined to determine how the Pueblo grew over time. Seventeen two-story rooms, six single-story rooms, and one jacal room, all dating to Component I, were excavated. Twelve single-story rooms dating to Component II were excavated. Three plaza gateways were tested, as were units in plaza H. Two 2 meter squares of midden were excavated in plaza H and the 1971 test trenches across plaza C and H were cleared and their stratigraphy studied.

In addition to architectural excavations, floral remains were systematically collected at Arroyo Hondo Pueblo by, or under the supervision of, Wilma Wetterstrom, who later wrote the Arroyo Hondo monograph on paleobotany. Whenever plant material was seen, it was retrieved with trowels or screens and saved. Sediment samples were also collected throughout the site for flotation retrieval of plant remains. The flotation procedure involved sediment samples being slowly poured into a large tubs of water and stirred. After several minutes, the silt settled and the surface of the water was skimmed with a large kitchen strainer. A woven fabric with a mesh of twenty-two threads per centimeter was set over the strainer to assure that all specimens were recovered. Dipping was repeated with additional pieces of fabric until the water surface was nearly devoid of material. When dry, the sample was carefully brushed from the fabric and transferred to a plastic bag. Sludge samples were periodically taken from the bottom of the tub to check for specimen loss, which appeared to be very slight. In 1972, sampling was geared to maximum coverage of the site. An average of 4 liters of sediment samples were collected from each natural level in the rooms, from all features such as burial pits and hearths, and from test pits and trenches. Areas that were exceptionally rich in plant remains were sampled more extensively.

Edmund Kelly, who later wrote the Arroyo Hondo ecology monograph, maintained near the site and in the arroyo below experimental gardens. Soil, geological, and vegetation maps of the site’s sustaining area were constructed.