In 1973, one focus was the excavation of groups of interconnected rooms specifically to examine the size and interrelationship of residence units. This work also provided further data on architectural features. More extensive plaza excavations were also initiated. A large part of Component I plaza G was cleared, as were smaller areas in plazas A, D, and K, and the Component II plaza C. Trash deposits inside and outside of the plazas were also tested.
The recovery of burials was one of the specific objectives of the excavation. During the 1973 and 1974 field seasons Ann Palkovich conducted or supervised the excavation of all human skeletal remains. She later authored the Arroyo Hondo monograph on mortuary remains. This excavation strategy enabled the recovery of a fairly large collection of burials from varied proveniences over the entire site. Plazas and some trash deposits proved to be especially productive for a mortuary study. The sampling of widespread proveniences allowed an understanding of the distribution and patterning of burials to be examined. Occasionally clusters of interments were found, but these seemed to reflect the suitability of a location for burials, such as corner of a plaza, rather than the selection of that area as a formal cemetery.
When burials were located, all soil within the burial pit or surrounding the skeleton was screened. Information on body orientation, burial context, grave accouterments, and so forth was systematically recorded for each interment. The state of skeletal preservation was also noted for each individual. All skeletal remains and associated artifacts were retained for further analysis.
Floral sampling in 1973 and 1974 was more selective: samples were collected only from hearths, middens, and other areas that contained plant remains. These again averaged 4 liters, except where deposits were particularly rich.