Go to Table of Contents.
List of Tables
List of Illustrations
Research Objectives and Methods
Architecture and Site Layout
Population Estimates
Faunal Remains
Archaeobotanical Remains
Human Skeletal Remains
Water Control and Subsistence
Abandonment and Emigration
Appendix A

Artifacts (continued)

Chipped-Stone Tools and Manufacturing Debris

Definitions of Raw Material Categories

Although knowledge of lithic-procurement sites and the availability of raw material in southwestern Colorado is limited, the raw materials out of which Woods Canyon Pueblo chipped-stone tools were made can be grouped into local, semilocal, and nonlocal stone types. Each group is discussed briefly in this section.

Local Raw Materials

Local lithic raw materials are of average to poor quality; they occur within the geological strata exposed in Sandstone, Woods, and Yellow Jacket canyons; and they likely were available within easy walking distance of Woods Canyon Pueblo. The closest known source of Dakota quartzite is in a short tributary of Woods Canyon, approximately 2 km downstream from the site. There is an ancient quarry in this area with numerous large flakes and "tested" cores of Dakota quartzite on the modern ground surface. Fine-grained and conglomerate sandstones are also available from the Burro Canyon Formation and the Dakota Sandstone at this location and elsewhere. Morrison quartzite and chert/siltstone, both from the Brushy Basin Member of the Morrison Formation, are also widely available in the local canyons near Woods Canyon Pueblo. Finally, although specific sources have not been identified, slates and shales are available in the Mancos Formation and the Dakota Sandstone, both of which outcrop in Woods Canyon and throughout the uplands of southwestern Colorado.

Semilocal Raw Materials

Semilocal lithic raw materials are of relatively good quality and probably occur less widely in their geological strata of origin than do local raw materials. As a result, such materials were potentially local but probably more difficult to obtain, possibly requiring special collecting trips. Agate/chalcedony and petrified wood occasionally occur within the Burro Canyon Formation and the Dakota Sandstone, as well as in other formations that outcrop farther away. Jet occasionally occurs within shale and coal-bearing deposits in the Dakota Sandstone and the Mancos and Menefee formations. The closest known sources of Burro Canyon chert to Woods Canyon Pueblo occur in the Dolores River valley and on Cannonball Mesa, both approximately 20 to 25 km away. Known sources of Brushy Basin chert occur around the San Juan River near the Four Corners monument, approximately 50 km from Woods Canyon (Green 1985*1:71–72).

Nonlocal Raw Materials

These lithic materials are high quality and definitely do not occur within easy walking distance of Woods Canyon Pueblo; thus they must have been acquired through special collecting trips or trade. Red jasper comes from Triassic and Permian formations of the Monument Upwarp and Elk Ridge Uplift in southeastern Utah, west of Cottonwood Wash. Obsidian is likely to have come from either the Jemez Mountains of New Mexico or the San Francisco Peaks in Arizona, where sources of widely exchanged obsidian are known (Shackley 1988*1, 1995*1). No Washington (Narbona) Pass chert was identified in the Woods Canyon Pueblo chipped-stone artifact assemblage.

Artifact Type vs. Raw Material

By Count

Table 28 summarizes the number of chipped-stone artifacts made from various raw materials in the early and late Pueblo III components at Woods Canyon Pueblo (for definitions of the artifact types used, see the Crow Canyon laboratory manual). Chipped-stone artifacts are grouped into the following categories: cores and core tools (cores, modified cores, and peckingstones); flake tools (modified flakes); and formal tools (bifaces, drills, and projectile points). Hammerstones, which are believed to have been used to make chipped-stone tools, and polishing/hammerstones, whose use(s) are unknown, are also included in this table. The full suite of raw material categories was considered for projectile points, bifaces, and drills; but because Brushy Basin chert, Burro Canyon chert, and red jasper were recorded only in "comments" for other chipped-stone artifact categories, their presence may be underrepresented in those categories. If these materials were not identified consistently, then red jasper probably would have been classified as nonlocal chert/siltstone, Brushy Basin chert as Morrison chert/siltstone or unknown chert/siltstone, and Burro Canyon chert as unknown chert/siltstone.

The only noticeable change in raw material use over the occupation of the pueblo is an apparent increase in the use of finer-grained Morrison Formation materials (Morrison chert/siltstone), relative to larger-grained Morrison Formation materials (Morrison quartzite) for informal chipped-stone tools (cores, core tools, and flake tools) in the late Pueblo III component. This pattern is mirrored in the chipped-stone-debris data (Table 33).

By Percentage

Table 29 summarizes the percentages of objects in each chipped-stone artifact category that were made of various raw materials. In this table, data from both temporal components are considered as one. The absence of nonlocal raw materials among cores and in the sample of chipped-stone debris (see paragraph 104) suggests that nonlocal raw materials came to Woods Canyon Pueblo primarily in the form of finished formal tools. Nonlocal materials do not appear to have been procured directly or reduced at the site. Semilocal materials also occur primarily in the form of formal tools, but the presence of a few pieces of chipped-stone debris and one projectile point preform made of semilocal stone suggests that these materials were occasionally worked at the site. Whether semilocal materials were obtained through trade or special collection trips is unknown.

Among local raw materials, the readily available materials from the Morrison Formation dominate the expedient-tool assemblage, suggesting that peckingstones and modified flakes were made from whatever material was at hand or easily obtainable. Dakota quartzite also occurs among core and flake tools, and it dominates the formal tool assemblage, suggesting that this material was procured directly and worked at the site. However, many materials that were more difficult to obtain—for example, agate/chalcedony, Burro Canyon chert, red jasper, and obsidian—are also common among formal tools. This suggests that projectile points, bifaces, and drills were made from high-quality raw materials, either at Woods Canyon or elsewhere, regardless of the availability of those materials in the local environment.

Mass Analysis of Chipped-Stone Debris

A sample of chipped-stone flakes and angular debris from secondary refuse deposits assigned to each temporal component was analyzed using mass analysis techniques developed by Ahler (1989*1; see also Patterson 1990*1; Shott 1994*1). Each piece was examined for the presence of cortex and then was sorted by size using a set of nested screens (1-in, -in, and -in mesh). Items in the resultant groups were counted and weighed (for details on these procedures, see the laboratory manual). The data presented in the following paragraphs suggest possible changes in the nature of chipped-stone reduction over the course of the Pueblo III period at Woods Canyon Pueblo.

Raw Material vs. Cortex

By Count and Weight

Table 30 presents counts and weights of chipped-stone debris of various raw materials, distinguishing between pieces with and without cortex. The percentage of pieces of each raw material with cortex and the percentage of pieces of each raw material in the entire sample of chipped-stone debris are also presented. The table shows that, in general, fine-grained materials (cherts and siltstones) are more abundant by count, and coarse-grained materials (quartzites) are more abundant by weight. In the same way that sherd size affects the relative proportion of sherds assigned to various typological categories by count and weight, differences in the relative abundance of raw materials by count and weight in chipped-stone debris probably relate to differences in the average size of flakes of various raw materials. A greater percentage by count probably indicates that flakes of that material are smaller than average; a greater percentage by weight probably indicates that flakes of that material are larger than average; and a relatively equal percentage by count and weight probably indicates that flakes of a given material are average-sized, relative to flakes of all materials in the assemblage.

However, unlike pottery sherds, almost every piece of chipped-stone debris could be assigned to a specific raw-material category. Thus, differences in the abundance of raw materials by count and weight reflect differences in the flake-size distributions of these materials and do not reflect analytical biases. On the basis of this principle, it appears that chert flakes tend to be smaller than quartzite flakes in the Woods Canyon Pueblo assemblage. Flake-size distributions for common local raw materials (Figure 11) support this interpretation, in that there are fewer large flakes and more small flakes of Morrison chert/siltstone than of Morrison and Dakota quartzite in the Woods Canyon Pueblo assemblage.

Table 30 also shows that, overall, cortex is present on approximately one in five pieces of chipped-stone debris by count, and one-third of chipped-stone debris by weight. The greater percentage of cortex by weight as opposed to count indicates that pieces of chipped-stone debris with cortex are generally larger than pieces that do not have cortex. This is an expected result, because cortex tends to be removed during the initial stages of raw-material reduction, and flake size generally decreases during later stages of reduction. The difference between the percentages of pieces with cortex by count vs. weight is also much greater for Morrison Formation materials than for Dakota quartzite. This suggests that pieces of Morrison material with cortex tend to be larger than average, whereas pieces of Dakota material with cortex tend to be of average size. This pattern is also supported by the flake-size data in Table 31. One possible interpretation of this pattern is that Dakota quartzite was reduced more completely than Morrison Formation materials because of differences in the kinds of tools most often made using these respective materials.

By Size Category

Table 31 presents the number of pieces of various raw materials, with and without cortex, that fall into each size class used in the mass analysis. The smallest size category, smaller than in, is underrepresented among these data, because the screens used to collect artifacts in the field had -in mesh, which resulted in most artifacts of this size falling through the screen in the field. The few flakes of this size in the sample are all of local material, and very few have cortex. Overall, it is apparent that pieces of local raw material with cortex tend to be larger than pieces that do not have cortex. Also, even though there are very few pieces of semilocal material in the sample of chipped-stone debris, several pieces of semilocal materials do have cortex, suggesting that primary reduction of these materials did occur occasionally at Woods Canyon Pueblo.

Raw Materials by Component

Table 32 summarizes the sizes of pieces of various raw materials in the analyzed samples from the early and late Pueblo III components at Woods Canyon Pueblo. There are too few pieces of semilocal material in the overall sample of chipped-stone debris to determine whether any changes in the availability or use of these materials occurred over time. However, there are relatively fewer flakes of Dakota quartzite in the late Pueblo III sample than in the early Pueblo III sample. This pattern is also apparent in Table 33, which presents the total count and weight of chipped-stone debris of various raw materials in the early and late Pueblo III samples, and in Table 34, which presents the percentage of chipped-stone debris of various raw materials by count and weight. Table 33 also shows that the mean weight of a piece of chipped-stone debris decreased over time, suggesting that raw materials were reduced more extensively during the late Pueblo III occupation of the pueblo.

Flake-Size Distributions

Experimental studies (Patterson 1990*1; Shott 1994*1) suggest that plots illustrating the percentage of flakes of various sizes in an assemblage can be used to determine the dominant reduction mode reflected in that assemblage. Flake-size plots summarizing the by-products of experimental dart-point manufacture usually exhibit a concave curve, with a low percentage of large flakes and exponentially increasing numbers of smaller flakes. In contrast, flake-size distributions derived from experimental primary-core-reduction assemblages show a more irregular pattern, with more medium-size flakes and fewer small flakes than are produced in bifacial reduction.

Figure 11 presents flake-size distributions for the three most common raw materials in the analyzed sample of chipped-stone debris from Woods Canyon Pueblo. These distributions do not closely approximate experimental bifacial-reduction assemblages, and they suggest that the dominant mode of lithic reduction at Woods Canyon was primary-core reduction. This is an expected result, since the stone artifact assemblage is dominated by expedient core and flake tools, which would not produce very many small flakes. It is somewhat surprising that the flake-size distribution for Dakota quartzite, a preferred local material for bifacially flaked tools, does not exhibit a shape consistent with experimental bifacial-reduction assemblages.

Several factors may have contributed to this lack of correspondence. First, Dakota quartzite was used for both expedient and formal tools, so we should expect the resulting chipped-stone debris to reflect both primary-core and bifacial reduction. Second, many of the flakes produced in bifacial reduction are pressure flakes that would fall through the 1/4-inch mesh used to screen deposits in the field. It is thus conceivable that the flake-size distribution of an assemblage collected through 1/8-inch mesh would exhibit a more concave shape. Third, the replicated projectile point types used to define flake-size distributions for bifacial reduction (see Patterson 1990*1; Shott 1994*1) may not be comparable to Puebloan projectile points. Most of the bifacially flaked tools in the Woods Canyon Pueblo assemblage are small arrow points, whereas the replicated points in the experimental studies used to define flake-size distributions are larger dart points. One must produce a bifacially flaked preform as an intermediate step in dart point manufacture, but an arrow point can also be created by pressure-flaking a primary flake of appropriate size and shape. The by-products of arrow points made in this way might produce very different flake-size distributions than those observed in dart-point replication studies.

Figures 12 through 14 present flake-size distributions for the three most common raw materials in the early and late Pueblo III samples from Woods Canyon Pueblo, and these data allow an assessment of whether the distributions changed over time. The flake-size distributions for Morrison quartzite (Figure 12) and Morrison chert/siltstone (Figure 13) chipped-stone debris suggest that there was little change in the reduction of these materials during the occupation of the village. In contrast, the shape of the flake-size distribution for Dakota quartzite, a preferred raw material for formal tool manufacture, does vary across the early and late Pueblo III samples (Figure 14). The early Pueblo III sample is similar to the flake-size distributions for Morrison Formation materials, but the late Pueblo III sample exhibits a slightly concave curve.

Several scenarios could account for this change. One is that formal tools were produced more often during the late Pueblo III occupation of Woods Canyon, perhaps in response to increased hunting activity or violent conflict. This possibility does not appear to be borne out by the data for chipped-stone tools, which do not suggest any significant increase in formal tool manufacture during the late Pueblo III occupation.

A second possibility is resource depletion. This also seems unlikely, since a major source of this material is still apparent on the modern ground surface 2 km downstream from the village. Table 35 presents counts and weights of chipped-stone raw materials by temporal component and presence/absence of cortex. If resource depletion did occur, one might expect to find fewer pieces of Dakota quartzite, and fewer large pieces with cortex, in the late Pueblo III assemblage. The data present an inconsistent picture. Although there are relatively fewer pieces of Dakota quartzite chipped-stone debris overall, a few large and heavy pieces with cortex dominate the late Pueblo III sample. Figure 15 shows that most of the late Pueblo III sample by weight has cortex, a result inconsistent with resource-depletion models.

A third possibility is that Dakota quartzite was worked more often within the village, as opposed to outside the village, during the late Pueblo III occupation. The widespread occurrence of defensible architecture and physical evidence of violence (Kuckelman 2000*1; Lipe et al. 1999*1:338–343) at late Pueblo III sites suggests that conflict was endemic during the final decades of Puebloan occupation in the central Mesa Verde region. If so, it may have become hazardous for people to remain outside the confines of the village for extended periods. This could have affected the reduction pathway for Dakota quartzite. Much more research on chipped-stone tool production is needed to address questions raised by the chipped-stone debris at ancient Pueblo sites.

Analysis of Projectile Points and Bifaces

Catalog, Analysis Data, and Provenience

Table 36 is a catalog of all projectile points and bifaces collected from Woods Canyon Pueblo. Information regarding the original use, condition, material, production stage, and size of each item, as well as the context in which each was found, is presented. The point-classification scheme used follows Lekson (1997*1), Pierce (1999*1), Holmer (1986*1), and Hayes and Lancaster (1975*1). A single large, corner-notched point (PD 603, FS 5) characteristic of early Pueblo (Basketmaker III and Pueblo I) occupation was found in Nonstructure 7-N, in mixed postabandonment and cultural refuse. This object may represent an heirloom or an artifact from early use of the area around the site that subsequently washed into the site deposits. All other diagnostic points are of styles that are common in Pueblo sites dating to the Pueblo II and Pueblo III periods.

Form vs. Raw Material

Table 37 summarizes the raw materials out of which projectile points and bifaces of various types were made. There are two large/medium, side-notched points of agate/chalcedony and a few small, side-notched points of nonlocal materials (obsidian, red jasper) that could have been made elsewhere and traded into Woods Canyon Pueblo. But none of these points is stylistically distinctive. The recovery of an unfinished agate/chalcedony projectile point and the presence of a few flakes of agate/chalcedony in the sample of chipped-stone debris suggest that points of this material could have been made locally. The absence of obsidian and red jasper in the chipped-stone debris sample and among unfinished points, however, suggests that these points were made elsewhere and traded into the site.

Among the local raw materials, Dakota quartzite was clearly favored over Morrison chert/siltstone for projectile points, despite the fact that Morrison Formation materials dominate the overall chipped-stone assemblage (Table 34). A number of corner-notched points typical of Pueblo II–period occupation (Hayes and Lancaster 1975*1; Lekson 1997*1), including two Rosegate series points (Holmer 1986*1), were also identified. Such points are associated with both the early and the late Pueblo III components.

Production Stage vs. Raw Material

Several of the points and bifaces from Woods Canyon Pueblo are interpreted as projectile points in various stages of production (Table 38). These unfinished projectile points were classified according to Whittaker's (1994*1:199–206) scheme. Stage 2 refers to preforms, and Stage 3 to refined but unfinished points. These unfinished points constitute direct evidence that projectile points of Dakota quartzite and agate/chalcedony were made at Woods Canyon Pueblo. The abundance of Morrison chert/siltstone in the overall chipped-stone assemblage suggests that the single point of this material was also made at the site. The two points of Burro Canyon chert may or may not have been made at the site, and the three points of nonlocal materials (obsidian and red jasper) probably were not.

Ground-Stone Tools

Artifact Category vs. Site Section

Table 39 summarizes the ground-stone artifacts collected from Woods Canyon Pueblo, according to the section of the site—canyon rim, canyon bottom, upper west side, or east talus slope—where each was found (for definitions of the artifact categories used, see the Crow Canyon laboratory manual). Intrasite analysis of artifact assemblages from the seven tested areas of the pueblo (see paragraphs 137–144) suggests that ground-stone tools were unusually abundant in the canyon rim (Area 7) relative to the total number of artifacts recovered from this area. Most of these artifacts are from the rim complex itself. For example, only two of the 11 ground-stone tools in the canyon rim assemblage were found outside the rim complex, in Nonstructure 9-N (see Database Map 334), and both were classified as indeterminate ground stone. The nine tools from inside the complex were of a number of different types, and most were probably used for grinding corn.

Artifact Category vs. Raw Material

Table 40 summarizes the ground-stone artifacts from Woods Canyon according to the kind of stone from which they were made. The table shows that most ground-stone tools were made of sandstone, a locally available, relatively coarse grained material.

Artifact Category vs. Condition

Table 41 summarizes the ground-stone artifacts from Woods Canyon Pueblo according to their condition. Relatively few fragmentary ground-stone artifacts were classified as abraders or one-hand manos, because their fragmentary condition made it difficult for analysts to distinguish them from other ground-stone artifacts.

Pecked and Polished Stone Tools

Polished Igneous Stones and Polishing/Hammerstones

Table 42 catalogs all the polished igneous stones and polishing/hammerstones collected from Woods Canyon Pueblo (for definitions of these artifact categories, see the laboratory manual). All the polishing/hammerstones were found in late Pueblo III contexts, and all the polished igneous stones were found in early Pueblo III contexts. The closest sources of the igneous rock from which the polished igneous stones were made are McElmo Creek and the Dolores River valley, both of which are more than 15 km from Woods Canyon Pueblo. This suggests that either the raw material or the finished artifacts were obtained through exchange. The uses of polishing/hammerstones are uncertain, but these tools are similar in form and wear patterns to artifacts used as hide grinders in historic Walpi (Adams 1988*4).

Axes and Mauls

Table 43 is an inventory of all the stone axes and mauls identified in the Woods Canyon Pueblo assemblage. The condition of each item, the material from which each was made, basic measurements, and descriptions of use wear are reported in this table, along with assessments of inferred use. For definitions of the axe and maul categories, see the on-line laboratory manual. Minimum measurements recorded under "Comments" indicate the minimum possible measurement for a given dimension based on a fragment. Table 44 summarizes the provenience of each object.

Most axes and mauls were made of Morrison quartzite, although Dakota quartzite was used as well. Only one maul in the Woods Canyon Pueblo assemblage (PD 198, FS 18) is interpreted as a definite weapon. This interpretation is based on Woodbury's (1954*1) review of ethnographic data on the traditional uses of axes and mauls among the Pueblo, in which he reported that spherical, grooved mauls were fastened to leather thongs and used as weapons in historic times. A small, single-bitted axe that lacks use wear (PD 128, FS 20) also conforms to Woodbury's definition of a weapon, but it seems unusually small to have been used for this purpose.

Most of the remaining axes and mauls found at Woods Canyon appear to have been worn out from heavy use, and few were found in their original, undamaged state. In most cases, flakes and spalls that broke off of axes and mauls during use were classified as bulk chipped stone. The evidence of battering on maul heads and of large flakes removed from them suggests that mauls were used for quarrying and shaping stone. Large flakes were also removed from the bit ends of axes, but battering damage, such as occurs from stone-on-stone contact, was rare, suggesting that heavier axes were used for chopping and splitting wood. On the basis of replication experiments, Mills (1987*1) inferred that axes also might have been used for chopping sagebrush at ground level, possibly as a step in clearing fields.

Other Stones and Minerals


A wide variety of stones and minerals that were polished, ground, flaked, battered, fire altered, or unmodified were found at Woods Canyon Pueblo. These objects are listed in Table 45, along with their condition, material, weight, and provenience.

Modification vs. Raw Material

Table 46 summarizes the other stones and minerals from Woods Canyon Pueblo, according to the kind of modification present (if any) and the raw material from which each was made. The "ground" category refers to miscellaneous pieces of stone that did not fit into other ground-stone tool categories. Pigment stones are of iron-rich material and have one or more abraded surfaces resulting from having been ground in order to obtain the pigment. The "polished" category includes objects that are probably ornament fragments or blanks lacking perforations, as well as larger fragments of polished shale. Unmodified stones and minerals were collected when, in the excavator's opinion, they were objects that did not occur naturally at Woods Canyon Pueblo and therefore must have been collected and carried to the site by its inhabitants. Finally, fossils might have been collected for their spiritual value.

One piece of worked turquoise (PD 241, FS 17) that might have been an inlay piece was found. This object is made of a material that does not occur naturally in the northern San Juan region, and therefore either the raw material or the finished piece must have been obtained through trade. A piece of nonlocal chert/siltstone was probably imported; it could have been raw material procured, but never actually used, for the manufacture of chipped-stone tools.

Bone Tools

Table 47 lists the bone tools collected from Woods Canyon Pueblo, along with their condition, species and element identifications, and provenience (for definitions of the categories used, see the laboratory manual). Species and element identifications for these objects were made by Driver (see "Faunal Remains"). Most of the worked-bone objects classified as "other modified bone" were fragmentary, and therefore this category most likely contains indeterminate bone artifacts rather than artifacts that do not fit into the other bone tool categories.

Table 48 summarizes these objects by artifact type, species, element, and temporal component. It is apparent from these data that certain species were preferred for specific types of bone tools. The larger bones and antlers of artiodactyls (deer and elk) were preferred for hide scrapers and pressure-flakers, whereas the smaller-diameter long bones of domestic turkeys and possibly other large birds were better suited for needles and awls. The modified lynx or bobcat bone may have been a ritual item, since large cats do not appear to have made a significant contribution to the diet of the Woods Canyon Pueblo inhabitants (see "Faunal Remains").

These data also indicate that more bone tools were recovered per gram of corrugated pottery from contexts assigned to the late Pueblo III component than from those assigned to the early Pueblo III component. This suggests that certain activities requiring bone tools may have taken place more often than activities related to cooking during the late Pueblo III occupation of the site. Since the majority of identifiable bone tools are awls, and cooking was an essential daily activity in all households, it is possible that the increase in bone tool deposition over time derives from a corresponding increase in weaving and sewing activities. Intrasite analyses (see paragraphs 139–142) further indicate that bone tools from the late Pueblo III component were especially abundant in Area 5 (Nonstructures 3-N and 10-N and Structure 7-S). This spatial clustering may indicate that a specialist weaver or basketmaker lived in Area 5. However, the specific functions of bone awls in the Woods Canyon Pueblo assemblage were not investigated further.

Objects of Nonlocal Materials


Table 49 is an inventory of all artifacts and ecofacts in the Woods Canyon Pueblo collection made of raw materials that do not occur in southwestern Colorado. The table shows the material from which each object was made, the closest possible source of each material, and the provenience of each item.

Very few objects of nonlocal materials were found in the excavations at Woods Canyon. Only four nonlocal red ware sherds were found. These sherds were not examined further, but probably represent either White Mountain Red Ware or Tsegi Orange Ware. Two projectile points of red jasper were probably made in the northern San Juan region west of Comb Ridge (in southeast Utah), and an obsidian point was probably made either in the Flagstaff area of northern Arizona or in the Jemez Mountains in New Mexico. One piece of worked turquoise likely was made in northern New Mexico. One unmodified olivella sp. shell also must have been obtained through trade from either the Gulf of California or the Pacific coast. Most of the nonlocal objects appear to have come from other parts of the Puebloan world to the south, east, and west. There is no evidence of exchange with more northerly peoples such as the Fremont and Numic peoples of Utah and Colorado.

Relative Density of Nonlocal Objects

One way to compare the intensity of exchange relationships between sites is to divide the number of nonlocal objects by the total grams of corrugated pottery recovered. Corrugated pottery is a useful benchmark for comparison of artifact densities across assemblages because cooking pots are heavily used and eventually break, and the sherds accumulate at relatively consistent rates proportional to the population size and occupation span of a site (Varien 1999*1:Chp. 4). Table 50 presents these data for Castle Rock Pueblo and for the early and late Pueblo III components at Woods Canyon Pueblo. These data show that the rate of deposition of nonlocal objects at Woods Canyon decreased over time, but was always lower than at Castle Rock, even during the early Pueblo III occupation.

Very few nonlocal objects are found in southwest Colorado sites dating from the late Pueblo III period (Ortman 2000*2:par. 84–90, 129–131), but even by this standard, the density of such objects at Woods Canyon Pueblo is low. The locations of Woods Canyon and Castle Rock pueblos may be responsible for this difference. Castle Rock is located on McElmo Creek, a likely east-west travel route, whereas Woods Canyon Pueblo is located in the center of a maze-like canyon system and was surrounded by a dense cluster of additional Pueblo III villages. Both factors could have resulted in fewer long-distance travelers visiting Woods Canyon Pueblo.

Objects of Personal Adornment

Catalog of Beads, Pendants, and Tubes

Table 51 lists analysis and provenience information for objects of personal adornment found at Woods Canyon Pueblo (for definitions of the artifact categories used, see the on-line laboratory manual). The majority of beads and pendants were incomplete or fragmentary, and it is likely that additional fragmentary pendants were classified as shaped sherds. Most of these objects were found in secondary refuse. These patterns contrast with those documented at Castle Rock, where most objects of personal adornment were complete and were found in contexts that suggest accidental loss rather than discard in middens (Ortman 2000*2:par. 132).

Raw Materials by Component

Table 52 summarizes the distribution of objects of personal adornment by raw material and component. These objects were made of many different raw materials, many of which were unusual, precious, and/or nonlocal to southwestern Colorado. Unusual or rare materials are used selectively for personal adornment in many cultures throughout the world. The deposition rate of objects of personal adornment at Woods Canyon Pueblo does not appear to have changed over time.

Intrasite Analyses

Kiva Floor Assemblages

The total weight of artifacts found on the floors of kivas has been used as a line of evidence in assigning excavated areas of Woods Canyon Pueblo to temporal components (see "Chronology"). Table 53 presents counts and weights of pottery sherds, vessels, chipped-stone debris, and other artifacts found on the floors of these structures. Approximately 2 m2 of floor was exposed in each structure, with the exception of Structure 9-S, where approximately 1 m2 was exposed. These data indicate that, for the most part, more and heavier artifacts were left on the floors of kivas assigned to the late Pueblo III component than were left on the floors of kivas assigned to the early Pueblo III component. Counts of chipped-stone debris are the only exception to this pattern, although the weights indicate that heavier and perhaps still usable pieces of chipped-stone debris tended to be left in the late Pueblo III structures. Several of the very large and heavy "other artifacts" left on the floors of the late Pueblo III structures are ground, pecked, and polished stone tools, including axes, manos, and metates. In contrast, the few items found on the floors of kivas assigned to the early Pueblo III component (a broken projectile point and bone awl, an expended core, and a bone tube) were small, light, and often broken, and they easily could have been overlooked when inhabitants of these structures moved to a new location.

The fact that both depleted and de facto (that is, containing still-usable artifacts) floor assemblages are present in the tested kivas at Woods Canyon Pueblo suggests two different abandonment modes for structures at the site, and supports the inference that the site had a relatively long use history. Early Pueblo III structures were abandoned by people who made short-distance moves, possibly within the site itself, and who carried usable objects to their new homes. In contrast, the number of usable objects left behind in late Pueblo III structures indicates that the inhabitants of these structures moved farther away and did not plan to return. This implies that Woods Canyon Pueblo was occupied up until the final decades of Pueblo occupation in the central Mesa Verde region. For further discussion of kiva floor assemblages from Woods Canyon, see "Chronology" and "Abandonment and Emigration."

Artifact Assemblages by Site Area

Analysis of the architecture and layout of Pueblo III villages in the central Mesa Verde region has identified significant variation in the inventory and arrangement of various architectural features, including towers, kivas, surface rooms, multiwalled structures, plazas and great kivas, enclosing walls, and room- and kiva-dominated blocks (Lipe and Ortman 2000*1). Whether this architectural variation correlates with social or functional differentiation within and between villages is an important question, one that is examined here through comparison of artifact assemblages from the seven numbered areas at Woods Canyon Pueblo (Database Map 334). If social and/or functional differentiation existed at the village, then one might expect different mixes of activities to have occurred in different areas of the site and for these different activities to be reflected in the artifact assemblages they generated.

Table 54 presents counts and Table 55, relative frequencies, of common artifacts by category in the seven excavated areas at Woods Canyon Pueblo. The artifact categories used are the same as those used in an intrasite analysis of kiva suites at Castle Rock Pueblo (Ortman 2000*2:par. 158–165). Formal chipped-stone tools include bifaces and projectile points, and expedient chipped-stone tools include modified flakes and other chipped-stone tools. All ground-stone tools and all bone tools, respectively, are also considered together. Counts rather than weights of pottery sherds were used for this analysis in order to increase the interpretability of relative frequencies across all artifact categories.

Box Plots of Artifact Frequencies Across Site Areas

Figure 16 examines the relative frequencies of common artifacts by category across the excavated areas at Woods Canyon Pueblo. The percentages of these artifacts were converted to Z-scores across site areas to facilitate comparison, because some categories have many more items assigned to them than others. Z-scores rescale the values of a distribution in such a way that the mean value equals 0 and the standard deviation equals 1. For each plot, the white box represents the midspread (middle 50 percent of cases) of the rescaled distribution for that particular artifact category. The horizontal line inside each box represents the median value, and the tails represent the range of cases, excluding outliers. Outliers (indicated by circles on the box plots) are values for a given artifact category that fall between 1.5 and 3 box lengths from the boundaries of the box, and extremes (indicated by asterisks) are values that fall more than 3 box lengths away. Outliers and extremes represent assemblages with unusually high or low relative frequencies of a particular artifact category. The same outliers and extremes shown in the plots of Z-scores are also identified in box plots of raw frequencies.

Perhaps the most important pattern in these data is the lack of evidence that qualitatively different activities occurred in one place or another. In other words, activities that led to the deposition of the analyzed artifacts occurred in every excavated area of Woods Canyon Pueblo, a finding that indicates that basic domestic activities occurred throughout the site, including in the rim complex. However, this finding leaves open the possibility that certain activities that do not leave significant artifactual traces, especially ritual activities, occurred only in certain areas.

Despite this qualitative similarity, there is quantitative variation in assemblage composition at Woods Canyon Pueblo. Two points are worth emphasizing. First, the two early Pueblo III areas of the village, Areas 1 and 2, do not appear as outliers in the box plots for any artifact category, whereas Areas 3, 5, 6, and 7 all appear as outliers in at least one distribution. This may be because the largest artifact assemblages were recovered from the early Pueblo III areas; that is, sampling error is responsible for the outlier values from other areas with smaller sample sizes. Alternatively, it may be that households became more specialized and interdependent as Woods Canyon Pueblo became a community center during the late Pueblo III period, leading to greater inter-area variation in artifact assemblage composition.

Second, ground-stone tools and peckingstones, both of which were involved in grinding corn into meal, are unusually abundant in Area 7, which includes the two small, household kivas, a D-shaped structure, and an enclosed plaza in the rim complex. Ground-stone tools were also unusually abundant in trash deposits associated with a kiva inside a D-shaped enclosure at Castle Rock Pueblo (Ortman 2000*2:par. 164), and two-hand manos from the D-shaped structure at Sand Canyon Pueblo exhibited more intensive use wear than did manos from other parts of that village (Fratt 1997*1:248). Based on this latter finding, Fratt (1997*1) argues that inhabitants of the D-shaped structure at Sand Canyon Pueblo produced more cornmeal than the average household, perhaps for ceremonial consumption. The fact that discarded corn-grinding tools are associated with D-shaped structures in three different late Pueblo III villages may be evidence of organizational continuities across communities in the central Mesa Verde region. It is also interesting that there is no corresponding evidence of increased cooking activity in the rim complex at Woods Canyon, raising the possibility that the additional cornmeal produced in this area was used for ritual purposes.

Correspondence Analysis of Artifact Counts by Site Area

Correspondence analysis is a multivariate analytical technique that produces the best possible projection of multivariate data onto two axes, so that the degree of relationship between cases and variables can be examined visually (Baxter 1994*1:Chp. 5). Figure 17 presents correspondence analysis results for the data in Table 54. Counts are appropriate input data for this type of analysis because the technique takes sample size into account in such a way that larger collections and more common categories exert a greater effect on the placement of variables and cases on the resultant axes. The first two axes produced account for almost 90 percent of the total variation or inertia in the input data.

The results of correspondence analysis do not add significantly to our understanding of intrasite variation in artifact assemblages at Woods Canyon Pueblo. Areas 5 and 7 are plotted fairly close to ground-stone tools, peckingstones, cores, and chipped-stone debris. Areas 1, 2, 4, and 6 are placed close to the center of the plot, suggesting that they possess typical artifact assemblages. Area 3 is clearly distinguished from the other areas. Examination of the frequency data in Table 55 suggests that this distinctiveness is due to an anomalously high percentage of corrugated jars. It is unclear why corrugated jar sherds should be so anomalously abundant or other common artifacts so anomalously rare in this area.

Analysis of Artifact Densities in Kiva Fill and Roof-Fall Deposits

This section examines the density of artifacts in the postabandonment fill and roof-fall deposits in the tested kivas at Woods Canyon Pueblo. Eight of the nine roofs of the tested kivas are interpreted to have been at least partly dismantled when their inhabitants moved out of the structures. When the roofs were dismantled, artifacts lying on the kiva courtyard surfaces would have fallen into the structures, along with unsalvaged roofing material. In addition, the collapse of roofs into subterranean kivas would have created natural sinks where postabandonment deposits could have accumulated. Finally, in some cases at other sites, kiva depressions were used as trash dumps or were filled intentionally. Each of these processes introduced artifacts into the deposits that filled abandoned kivas at the site. Analysis of artifact densities in these deposits may provide evidence of one or more of these processes.

Elevations and profile maps were used were used to calculate the volume of excavated fill and roof-fall deposits in each tested kiva at Woods Canyon Pueblo, and the total number of artifacts in each of these deposits was also calculated. These data are presented in Table 56, along with information on the temporal component, roof treatment, test-pit locations, and depositional setting of each tested structure. Figure 18 compares the fill and roof-fall artifact densities from these structures and illustrates that there is little correlation between the two. This suggests that different processes were responsible for the accumulation of artifacts in these two kinds of deposits. In most cases, artifact densities in fill deposits were below 300 artifacts per cubic meter, in the range that Varien (1999*1:Chp. 6) interpreted as typical of naturally collapsing and filling pit structures. The artifact density in the fill of Structure 9-S, however, is much higher. The excavators identified occupational deposits (Nonstructure 1-N) directly overlying the fill of this early Pueblo III structure, and this might have been the source of these artifacts. In contrast, two categories are suggested by the densities of artifacts in roof-fall deposits: one group consists of structures with roof-fall artifact densities below 200 artifacts per cubic meter, and the second group consists of structures with densities of between 350 and 500 artifacts per cubic meter.

Figure 19 examines the fill artifact data more closely by comparing the number of artifacts in fill with the volume of fill excavated in each structure. The points defined by these data are labeled according to the depositional setting of each structure, as reported in Table 56. The linear-regression line shows that there is a positive relationship between the volume of fill excavated and the number of artifacts recovered; however, it is also apparent that for a given volume of excavated fill, structures located in high-deposition environments, such as talus slope benches and bases, tend to have more artifacts than structures located in low-deposition environments, such as the canyon rim, the base of the cliff, and areas immediately downslope of large boulders. Depositional environment appears to be a more significant factor than time period in accounting for the density of fill artifacts, since early Structures 1-S and 9-S are above the regression line while Structures 2-S and 3-S are below it.

Figure 20 examines the roof-fall artifact data more closely by comparing the number of roof-fall artifacts with the volume of roof-fall excavated in each structure. The points defined by these data are labeled according to the location of the test pit within each structure, as reported in Table 56 (specifically, the test pits in which structure walls were discovered are distinguished from those in which walls were not found). The linear-regression analysis shows that, once again, there is a positive relationship between the volume of roof fall excavated and the number of artifacts recovered. However, in this case, roof-fall deposits located close to walls contain more artifacts per cubic meter than do roof-fall deposits in the centers of structures: all the test pits in which structure walls were exposed fall above the regression line; all the test pits in which walls were not exposed fall below this line. The density of roof-fall artifacts appears to relate more to the placement of test pits within structures than to time period, since early Structures 2-S and 3-S are below the regression line and late Structures 1-S and 9-S are above it. Roof-fall artifacts also appear to be more strongly correlated with test-pit placement than with depositional setting, since Structure 8-S, in a low-deposition setting, is above the regression line, whereas Structure 5-S, in a high-deposition setting, is below it.

Table 57 uses t-tests to examine the likelihood that sampling error accounts for the differences in fill and roof-fall artifact densities across the tested kivas under several different models that could account for these differences. The results of these tests suggest that depositional setting better accounts for variation in fill artifact density than does period of occupation, and that the location of the test pit within each structure better accounts for roof-fall artifact density than does period of occupation or depositional setting. Figure 21 separates the densities of pottery sherds, chipped-stone debris, and other artifacts across the tested-structure fills and illustrates that kiva depressions in high-deposition environments tended to accumulate more of all three kinds of artifacts than did structures in low-deposition environments. Figure 22 presents these same data for roof-fall deposits, which clearly show the effect of test-pit placement on roof-fall artifact densities.

One possible explanation for the increased artifact density of roof-fall deposits close to structure walls relates to the effects of kiva-courtyard maintenance. Ethnographic studies of the ways village agriculturalists maintain their houses suggest that work areas were periodically swept to remove debris and keep the area safe and clean (Arnold 1990*1; Hayden and Cannon 1983*1). Varien (1999*2:Chp. 22) has observed that, when the pattern is not obscured by natural post-depositional processes, a "toft" zone exhibiting a relatively high density of artifacts can be seen on the modern ground surface around the kiva depressions of Mesa Verde Pueblo sites. This suggests that kiva roof–courtyards were maintained work areas. If so, the elevated artifact density of roof-fall deposits close to walls in abandoned kivas with dismantled roofs could have resulted from artifacts accumulating around the edges of kiva courtyards during the Puebloan occupation, and then falling or eroding into these structures as the roofs were dismantled.


The artifacts recovered from excavations at Woods Canyon Pueblo indicate that this site was occupied throughout the Pueblo III period (A.D. 1140–1280) and grew into a community center during the A.D. 1200s. Pottery sherds classified as Basketmaker III and Pueblo I period types were too rare to suggest habitation of the site area during these periods. Sherds classified as Mancos Black-on-white were recovered in sufficient quantity to suggest some use of the site area during the late Pueblo II period, but for a number of reasons outlined in the discussion of site components (paragraphs 9–23), it is argued that these sherds do not indicate significant occupation. Tree-ring, structure location, pottery, architecture, and structure-abandonment data all support the identification of early and late Pueblo III components at the site (see "Chronology," this report).

Division of the site collections into two temporal components made possible an examination of changes in artifacts associated with the development of Woods Canyon Pueblo as a community center during the final decades of Pueblo occupation in the central Mesa Verde region. Most of the significant findings presented in this report relate to differences noted between the early and late Pueblo III components. Each of these findings is discussed in further detail in the relevant previous sections.

A much higher percentage of the white ware pottery found at Woods Canyon Pueblo was decorated using mineral paint than is common in contemporaneous sites to the south and east. It appears that during the Pueblo III period there was a gradient along which the use of mineral paint increased as one traveled north and west from Mesa Verde proper. It is possible that analysts accustomed to the near-absence of mineral-painted sherds in Pueblo III sites in the Sand Canyon locality introduced bias into the analysis of sherds from Woods Canyon, which led to the misidentification of some mineral-painted Pueblo III sherds as Pueblo II types.

Pottery sherd and rim-arc data suggest that as Woods Canyon Pueblo became a community center, more and larger corrugated cooking pots were used in preparing meals. Two distinct sizes of serving bowl also developed, with large bowls becoming more common. Finally, larger white ware serving bowls appear to have been decorated more often on their exteriors, suggesting that they were viewed more often from the side. These data all suggest increased preparation and consumption of communal meals during the late Pueblo III occupation of the pueblo, a pattern that has also been noted at other late Pueblo III community centers (see Ortman 2000*2).

There is abundant evidence that white ware pottery vessels were manufactured by many different inhabitants of Woods Canyon Pueblo, but no clear evidence of corrugated pottery manufacture was found. Also, more corrugated than white ware vessels deposited at Woods Canyon were tempered with igneous rock that is not available within an easy walking distance from the site. These igneous-tempered cooking pots may have functioned better or lasted longer than cooking pots tempered with locally available sedimentary materials. Taken together, these data raise the possibility of specialized production and exchange of corrugated cooking pots at sites located closer to sources of igneous rock, or at least trade in the rock itself. In contrast, it appears that white ware exchange was less structured and probably took the form of gift exchange between friends and relatives living in nearby settlements.

Size distributions of chipped-stone debris suggest that primary-core reduction using locally available materials to make expedient core and flake tools was the primary mode of chipped-stone reduction at Woods Canyon Pueblo. It also appears that during the final decades of occupation local raw materials were reduced more intensively within the village than at locations outside the village. Resource depletion or an increasingly hostile social landscape may have been responsible for these changes.

Objects made of nonlocal materials were even more rare at Woods Canyon Pueblo than at Castle Rock Pueblo, and the frequency of such objects decreased during the final decades of occupation. This evidence of minimal interaction with peoples living outside the central Mesa Verde region may be explained by the location of Woods Canyon Pueblo in the center of a dense cluster of Pueblo III villages and away from natural travel corridors to the south, east, and west. All objects of nonlocal material, with the exception of a single marine shell, are traceable to areas where other ancient Pueblo communities existed; there is no evidence of interaction with contemporaneous, non-Pueblo peoples to the north.

Artifacts left on the floors of the tested kivas at Woods Canyon suggest that the late Pueblo III occupants moved far away and did not plan to return, as is believed to have occurred during the final emigrations of Pueblo people from the central Mesa Verde region. In contrast, it appears that the early Pueblo III occupants moved close by and returned often enough to take usable artifacts to their new homes, which in some cases were probably built just upslope, within the boundaries of the village.

Differences in the relative percentages of common artifact types across the seven excavated areas of the pueblo may indicate increasing specialization of tasks over the course of the Pueblo III period, although sampling error may also be responsible for this variation. For example, the clustering of worked bone tools in Area 5 may indicate that a specialist weaver or basketmaker lived in the village during the late Pueblo III period. Also, despite clear evidence that basic, domestic activities occurred throughout the village, the relative abundance of corn-grinding tools in the rim complex suggests that more cornmeal was prepared in this area than in other parts of the village. The two kiva suites (or houses) identified in the rim complex are associated with a D-shaped structure. Kiva suites associated with D-shaped structures at Sand Canyon and Castle Rock pueblos also appear to be linked with increased corn grinding, suggesting that preparation of cornmeal was an important activity tied to whatever status was signaled by a D-shaped building.

Finally, it appears that the density of artifacts in dismantled roof deposits in kivas is higher adjacent to structure walls than it is in more central areas. This pattern may have resulted from the routine sweeping of kiva courtyards during the occupation, which would have concentrated small artifacts around the perimeter of the kiva courtyard. These artifacts would have been incorporated into the roof-fall deposits when the roof and courtyard were dismantled at abandonment.

Back (paragraphs 1–90).

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