University of Virginia Library


Page 57


Old Bonito is a Pueblo II settlement built of mud and wallwidth
slabs of sandstone. Its living rooms stand end to end in a
wide crescent with one or two storerooms behind each dwelling,
several subterranean kivas out in front of the house group, and a
communal trash pile beyond the kivas. The Old Bonitians built their
village close in the shadow of the north canyon wall, overlooking the
broad Chaco Valley with its fringe of conifers, cottonwoods, and
willows. When they began construction they built the foundations for
their settlement over and between great blocks of sandstone previously
fallen from the nearby cliff and apparently without thought as to the
significance of those fallen blocks. And they probably were quite
unaware that, long before, Pueblo I families had dug two or more
pithouses on the same site (fig. 7).

On the Society's groundplan of Pueblo Bonito (fig. 3) the
crescentic house cluster that identifies the original settlement stands
out conspicuously. Jackson noticed its architectural peculiarities and
so did Pepper, although neither recognized the unit as the home of
an independent element in the local population. Old Bonito was
planned and built by Pueblo II peoples and it remained a Pueblo II
village even after Pueblo III clans had surrounded it with dwellings
of their own.

The stonework of Old Bonito is typically Pueblo II—wall-wide
sandstone slabs spalled around the edge with hammerstones and laid
one upon another in generous quantities of mud (pl. 10, 1). Where
surface mortar was noticeably thick, stone chips were pressed in to
hold it in place or to protect it from wind and rain. Here, too, despite
the intervening years, fingerprints of the builders remain for all to

This surface covering of close-lying chips occurred so frequently
on exterior Old Bonitian stonework exposed by our explorations, we
came to regard it as a standard Old Bonitian treatment. We found
it on the outside of Room 102, concealed by the double-thick wall of
Late Bonitian Room 94 (pl. 11, right). We found it on the exterior of
Old Bonitian Room 13, on both the west and east ends of Room 28
(pl. 17, lower) and low on the outside of Room 330. Pepper (1920,
pp. 317, 319) describes the same treatment on Old Bonitian masonry
under Rooms 100 and 101.


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The Old Bonitians were a stubborn people and especially so in
their stonework. It never changed. Wherever found throughout the
pueblo, irrespective of surroundings and irrespective of depth, Old
Bonitian stonework remained the same—single-coursed, wall-wide
slabs of sandstone bedded in a near-surplus of adobe mud.

In its crescentic arrangement Old Bonito is a haphazard agglomeration
of large and small rooms added one by one as the need arose.
But there is none that, from available data, can be recognized as the
point of beginning. If a nucleus is to be found anywhere about the
village it lies among the cluster of relatively small, crowded structures
at the top of the crescent since larger rooms curve east and west. The
quantity and diversity of ceremonial paraphernalia stored in some of
those small rooms suggest an importance in the community quite out
of proportion to their size. And four of them had come eventually
to be used for burials—priesthood burials if one may judge from the
wealth of accompanying ornaments.

Wherever we bared it the exterior rear wall of Old Bonito was
double-thick at the bottom and sloped toward the ceiling. It had
no door. Outside rooms, set aside for storage, were entered from
the living rooms and these latter were entered through the concave
front wall or through hatchways. Those we excavated, Rooms 296,
298, 317-330, were relatively straight-sided within, repeatedly
plastered, and as often smoke stained. Large and small, there was a
feeling of austerity about them, an emptiness that would have been
less apparent, naturally, had we found more evidence of domestic
life—kitchen utensils, mealing stones in place, poles or pegs for
suspended blankets, agricultural tools, and implements of the craftsman.


Irrespective of size, Old Bonitian rooms were floored with trampled
mud and ceiled with whatever materials were near at hand.
Cottonwood, pine, pinyon, or juniper logs—their ends gnawed beaverlike
with stone axes—appear to have been utilized indiscriminately;
brush of one sort or another was employed over the logs in Rooms 1,
3a, 3b, 28, 35a, 56, 320, 323, 327, and 330; reeds or grass are reported
from at least 2 ceilings, in Rooms 3d and 85; cornstalks were included
in the ceiling of Room 85. Weak beams and those shallowly
seated in wall masonry necessitated supporting posts. Nearly every
Old Bonitian room, no matter how small, had one or more ceiling


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Room 323, averaging 13 by 35 feet, is one of four large living
rooms, each with two storerooms at the rear, that comprised the
original west arm of Old Bonito. Despite its size, 323 is perhaps
typical of its time. Its floor was ill-defined, no more than a thin,
dark ash layer upon the sand. In this, strangely enough, only one
fireplace appeared—a nearly square, slab-lined fireplace 12 inches
deep, its east side formed by a discarded metate. Buried rim-deep
for storage at the south end of the room were five outworn cooking
pots—plain bodied with banded neck.

Eight sturdy posts were required to support the ceiling of
Room 323, and two of them were cut 16 years earlier than the beams
they braced. Although mostly decayed when found, each post was
of straight-grained pine 7-8 inches in diameter and stood on a sandstone
slab in a dug hole, packed about with slab fragments on end
and shale chips between fragments and post. In some instances posts
were surrounded individually by a conical base of adobe mud, 6-8
inches thick at the crown (pl. 11, left). Ceiling poles rested upon
the beams to support layered cedarbark and brush and mud for the
second-story floor.

Being a living room, 323 had entrances in all four walls and all at
an unusual height. That at the northeast, its sides broken out when
Room 112 was excavated, was 4½ feet above the floor. Three southeast
doors, all blocked, were so high as to require post steps. One of
these three, its sill at a height of 38 inches, had been closed upon construction
of fourth-type Kiva Z; another, 6 feet 2 inches above floor
level, likewise reflects Kiva Z influence since Late Bonitian masons
had introduced new jambs and a hewn pine plank for a sill. Dislodged
when the surrounding masonry collapsed during excavation,
this sill plank measures 31½ by 5 by 1¾ inches and has since been
added to the national collections (U.S.N.M. No. 335275). Through
its three southeast doorways Room 323 had ready access to the West
Court before pre-Kiva Z rooms were built in front.

Low or high, Old Bonitian doorways are very much alike.
Although basically rectangular, most appear more or less oval because
their thickly mudded jambs curve up to the lintel poles and down
to the sill slab. Storeroom doors were ordinarily equipped with a
single secondary lintel pole about 5 inches below the main lintels
and secondary jambs slanted to support a sandstone slab placed from
the living room.

Sill height, which seems such an important consideration, varies
in Old Bonito from a few inches to several feet. Of five doorways in


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Room 325, three of them now sealed, sill height ranges from 16
inches to 4 feet 9 inches. The latter, a formidable step, was lessened
by a 2½-foot section of log leaned against the stonework and by a
toe-hold, 1½ inches deep, in the plaster above. The northeast door,
its sill 4 feet 3 inches above the floor, was entered with help of two
post steps, that nearest the wall being 9 inches in diameter and 33
inches high (pl. 14, left). On the opposite side, in Room 323, sill
height from the latest floor is only 3½ feet. The west wing of Old
Bonito ends two living rooms beyond, with the blank south walls
of Rooms 320 and 326.

We can only guess at the number of individuals in an Old Bonitian
family and at the bulk of those individuals. Today, the average
family at Zuñi or one of the Hopi towns will number four or five
persons, not counting the ever-present relatives of the housewife.
And the dimensions of a prehistoric doorway, I am sure, provide no
proper measure of physical attributes.

Courtward doorways such as those in Rooms 323, 325, and 326
may have been standard for ground-floor living rooms on the concave
side of Old Bonito. However, in Rooms 28 and 85, and perhaps
others for which data are lacking, steps were provided in order
to reach court level, wind-blown sand and soil having accumulated
ceiling-high outside. Rooms 3 and 3b, next west of 28, and all other
fronting rooms south to 330 likewise were deeply buried by courtside
accumulations. For these deep rooms hatchways offered a simple
means of ingress and exit.

Hatchways in 3 and 3a (97) are described both from below and
from their second stories, Rooms 91 and 92, respectively. The first
of these openings, 2 by 3 feet, "was sealed with matting and bunches
of cedarbark tied with yucca leaves"; the 3a hatchway likewise "had
been covered with matting." Absence of lateral doors suggests that
Rooms 315, 316, 328, 329, and 330, among others, also had been
provided with ceiling hatches.

Old Bonitian architects were conservatives; they attempted few
innovations. Their Pueblo II single-course masonry never changed
but it was augmented here and there with earlier, inherited methods
of house construction—posts with mud and rocks packed between
and sandstone slabs at the base of a wall (pl. 20, upper and lower).
Basal slabs, for example, are reported in Rooms 107, 306, and 317;
flagstone floors, in 83, 142, and 320. Post-and-mud walls, harking
straight back to Pueblo I times, were noted in Rooms 3, 3a (97), 8,
28, 61, 63, 327, 328, and 329 but in no case did these approach the


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superior wattlework found in Late Bonitian Rooms 256 and 257 nor
in a short section we exposed during subcourt explorations outside
the northeast corner of Room 149.

Post-and-mud construction is generally accepted as a mark of
Pueblo II civilization but Pueblo II stonework at its very best is
also to be seen in Old Bonito. It surpasses that of every other
Pueblo II settlement of which I have knowledge. And the town
arrangement is pure Pueblo II—a crescentic assemblage of living
rooms, each with paired storerooms at the rear, subterranean kivas
out in front and a community trash pile beyond the kivas. Later
stonework was double-coursed—a rubblework core veneered on both
sides with faced building blocks.

That transverse block of small rooms that divides Old Bonito
into two fairly equal parts includes both early and late masonry.
Because published descriptions of these small rooms or at least
some of them, have proved confusing to students of Pueblo Bonito
it seems desirable to introduce at this point the results of my own
independent inquiries, Pepper's field notes in hand.

Pepper (1920, p. 39) describes Room 3 as "one of a series of
open rooms . . . extending in a northeasterly direction"; places
Room 3a east of 3; 3b, north of 3a; 3c, west of 3b; 3d above 3c (pp.
43-45). These orientations afford ample evidence that Pepper was
sometimes puzzled, as I often was, how best to record the bearing
of a given wall. Comparing visible masonry with his text and reading
the compass a bit closer, I would locate 3a northeast of Room 3;
3b northeast of 3a; 3d above 3b. The Society made no excavation
in this series other than that necessary to construction of a stairway
against the northeast wall of Room 3a, leading down to the door
connecting with 3b. The open room above 3b, readily identified by
its ceiling and west-end platform as Pepper's 3d (p. 45), is unquestionably
the uppermost of the two open rooms below Room 110,
entered in 1896 "through a hole broken in the wall" (p. 329). That
hole, in the middle northeast wall, was breached from Room 58
(p. 220); a northwest corner hole, broken through the floor in front
of the platform, gave access to the lower room, 3b (p. 329). Neither
description nor recorded measurement positively identifies Room 3c
but, situated "directly west [NW] of Room 3b" and entered "through
a hole which someone had broken in the west [NW] wall" [of 3b]
(p. 44), it must be the "lower part of [R. 111] . . . broken into
through the south [SE] wall in 1896" (p. 330). These three holes:
in the northwest wall of 3b, in the northeast wall and the northwest


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floor of 3d, and the rounded front edge of the 3d platform, were all
repaired by the National Park Service in 1926.

Room 91 is the second story of Room 3 (p. 297); Room 92 adjoins
91 on the north [NE] (p. 298) as the second story of 3a, which
latter was subsequently cleared and renumbered 97 (p. 304). Together,
these four rooms, 3, 3a (97), 91, and 92, are among the most
instructive in Old Bonito. They reflect its beginning and echo its
end. If Pepper's published descriptions are sometimes puzzling it
is usually because his first- and second-story observations are intermixed.

Room 3, for example, with its thickly plastered heavily smoked
walls, is described as probably a square kiva on account of its slabsided
fireplace, upright deflector, and presumed subfloor passageway
to the outside (Pepper, 1920, p. 40, 298). However, duplicated
descriptions provide evidence that figure 9 is not the "interior of
Room 3" as stated but that of second-story Room 91. If the reported
"passageway" had an external opening we saw no trace of it while
clearing the narrow terrace overlooking Kiva R; neither did we observe
trace of the four large 12-inch beams that "protruded fully 8
feet beyond the wall" of 91.

Room 92, adjoining 91, is the second story of Room 3a which was
not excavated in 1896 when it was first entered but later when it was
renumbered and described as Room 97. The original southeast side
of 97 (or 3a) was of post-and-mud construction and continued as
such into Room 3. Pepper's illustrations of 97 (1920, figs. 127, 128)
together with his descriptions of upright sticks and posts at the
southwest end of Room 28, as seen from 57 (ibid., p. 219), indicate
that the original post-and-mud southeast walls of 3 and 3a
turned northwest between 3a and 28 before Late Bonitian architects
introduced their concealing stonework on the northeast side of 3a
(97) and built second-story Rooms 91 and 92.

Room 92, like 91, had a central fireplace which Pepper (ibid.,
p. 299) describes as shallow and rimmed with adobe. Its thin clay
bottom, seen in unpublished negative No. 304, was spread directly
upon layers of cedarbark and close-lying pine poles—a fire hazard
not recognized by the occupants—that formed both the floor of
Room 92 and the ceiling of the room below, 3a (or 97). A closed
hatchway pierced the floor at its south, or southeast, corner.

The same unpublished negative (No. 304) also shows a narrowstemmed,
T-shaped door in the Old Bonitian northwest wall and, to
right and left, the second-type northeast and southwest walls that


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identify Room 92 as a Late Bonitian installation. Both walls have
since fallen but that at the southwest, "solid and exceedingly well
made" (ibid., p. 300), a foot thick and of superb second-type masonry,
was built upon a log—the log seen at upper right in Pepper's figure
127—while that on the opposite side, the northeast, was double-thick.
As Pepper (ibid., p. 299) describes it, this Room 92 northeast wall
consists of 26 inches of unplastered late masonry abutting the 16-inchthick
wall of Old Bonitian Room 3d, a total of 3½ feet, and thus
duplicates its ground-floor counterpart, between 97 and 3b (ibid.,
p. 305).

This northeast wall offers another challenge to my classification
of Pueblo Bonito masonry, for although I consider both upper and
lower as of second-type construction the former is second-type on a
larger scale and consists of large dressed blocks of friable sandstone
chinked with larger-than-usual tablets of laminate sandstone (pl. 21,
upper). In the lower room (97 or 3a), however, the stonework is
less easily defined and appears from Pepper's figure 128 to include
chance fragments of both laminate and friable sandstone, that is, a
Late Bonitian job with salvaged materials.

Our interest in Rooms 91 and 92 is not limited to architecture.
Both were provided with midfloor fireplaces and hatchways to the
rooms below, fixtures normally found only in living rooms. But, in
addition, quantities of foodstuffs had been stored in Room 92: "a
great deal of corn . . . bean bushes . . . and masses of beans . . .
still green; corn on the cob; and beans in the pod" (Pepper, 1920,
p. 298)—a substantial representation of an average Pueblo harvest.
Corn in the ear was also found stored in ground-floor Room 5 together
with pinyon nuts, burned when fire destroyed the ceiling (ibid.,
p. 46). Wild grass seed and other plant fruits were also gathered
and stored for winter use.

We may be reasonably certain that our Old Bonitians ate rabbits
and rodents, as Pueblo Indians always have done, but doubt remains
in the case of turkeys and dogs. Pepper (ibid., p. 56) reports the
breastbones of nine turkeys recovered from debris in Room 100. He
also reports dog skulls or skeletons in eight or more separate rooms
and the Society's expeditions recovered still more (Judd, 1954, p. 65).
Within the historic period, Pueblo tribes generally have respected
a taboo against eating dog, bear, fish, and fowl, and I prefer to
believe their ancestors did too.

It was the presence of foodstuffs stored in Rooms 2, 5, 6, and 92
as much as the eight Old Bonitian burial rooms and the relative shallowness


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of many Hyde Expedition discoveries that convinced me
Old Bonito was inhabited later than other sections of the pueblo.
Here, in this oldest part of town, fragile but inflammable ceilings
have survived in greatest number; here, scraps of textiles, feathers,
and basketry have best withstood the elements; here one finds the
greatest variety of cultural material and here one notes a preponderance
of early pottery types along with increasing percentages of
Late Hachure, McElmo Black-on-white, and Corrugated-coil Culinary.
Kiva Q, at the northeast corner of the West Court, was a
Late Bonitian creation and 2 or 3 Late Bonitian rooms overhung its
eastern arc but, of 4,527 potsherds recovered during its excavation,
33.4 percent were Old Bonitian.

The original post-and-mud construction on the southeast side of
Rooms 3 and 3a (97) continued south, I believe, to enclose the row
of one-story rooms Old Bonitian architects built in front of 112, 323,
325, and 326 sometime prior to arrival of the Late Bonitians. A portion
of this court-side row was removed, I feel certain, to make
way for the second-type kiva that preceded Kiva Z (fig. 4). Postand-mud
walls still stand in Rooms 327, 328, and 329 where they
served, as did those in 3 and 3a, as foundations for Late Bonitian
walls erected at the second-story level.

Room 329 adjoins 328 on the south and together with three neighboring
rooms, 320, 326, and 330, had come to be utilized late in the
history of Pueblo Bonito for interment of 73 Old Bonitian dead,
identified as such by their burial furnishings. The location of these
four rooms at the extreme south end of the west wing may have influenced
their selection as burial places but it is to be noted that four
other rooms, 32, 33, 53, and 56, situated at the very heart of the
old pueblo, likewise had become impromptu tombs when the local
population was denied access to their extramural cemeteries (Judd,
1954, pp. 325-342).

Rooms 32, 33, 53, and 56 comprise a tight cluster of small groundfloor
chambers at least two of which were storage places for ceremonial
paraphernalia and all of which ultimately became tombs for
more than 20 individuals (Pepper, 1909; 1920). A single door, subsequently
sealed from Room 28, gave access to 32; open doors connected
32 with 33 and 53; 53 with 56. Thus the 20-odd bodies interred
within these four rooms were all pulled through the 22- by
34-inch opening that formerly gave access from 28 to 32.


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Elsewhere I have attempted to solve the puzzle of the extraordinary
assemblage of Late Bonitian pottery that Pepper found on the
floor of Old Bonitian Room 28, but I gave scant attention at the time
to several vessels recovered just inside Room 32 (Judd, 1954, pp.
22-27). At least four of those vessels (Pepper, 1920, figs. 47-49)
came from the Mesa Verde country, and their presence in an Old
Bonitian burial room raises a question as to the authorship of certain
nearby dwellings whose stonework does not conform to any local

North of Pepper's four burial rooms is a narrow row of east-west
2-story houses the masonry of which, as illustrated, is neither Old
Bonitian nor Late Bonitian. I know less about this particular area
than is desirable at the moment because our observations hereabout
are all second-story observations and we had to reconcile them as
best we could with Hyde's ground-floor measurements (in Pepper,
1920, pp. 353-358).

Pepper (ibid., p. 180) describes the end walls of Room 36, for
example, as "merely partitions" and his figure 80 provides confirmation.
Although the lower part of the one illustrated appears to be at
home in Pueblo Bonito, or nearly so, the part above ceiling level consists
of unsystematic stonework that may be only a veneer but, nevertheless,
is very non-Chaco in appearance. And the same may be said
of the walls in Room 37, adjoining, as I judge from figure 81. It
is my guess, and only a guess, that these second-story partitions
are the work of masons foreign to Chaco Canyon but using salvaged
local building materials.

The east wall of Room 61 is described (ibid., p. 222) as "built of
large dressed stones . . . no chinking" while the south side "was
buit around upright stakes." Opposite this south-side wall, at the left
of the semioval door into Room 6, a wooden loop protruded from the
plaster as a means of holding a door slab in place. Although the
only one of its kind reported from Pueblo Bonito, this sort of door
fastener is relatively common in cliff-dwellings of southwestern
Colorado and southeastern Utah. Two such loops, each fitted with a
spatulate wedge found in the sand below, barred access to a wickerwork
granary in White Canyon that I photographed in 1907 and
which was later illustrated by Dr. Byron Cummings (1910, p. 23)
as more or less typical of those in the Kayenta country.

The Mesa Verde pottery from Room 32, the two small mugs from


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Room 36, the loop door lock plus the post-and-mud wall in Room 61
(both P. II traits in southeastern Utah), and un-Chaco-like masonry
all unite to strengthen my belief that families from beyond the Rio
San Juan were welcomed at Old Bonito and occupied various rooms
including 35, 36, 37, and 61. These four apparently were created by
partitioning an Old Bonitian living-room fronting storerooms 1, 2, 5,
and 6. Hyde Expedition timbers from Rooms 32 and 36 unfortunately
remain undated (Douglass, 1921, p. 30) but it is to be recalled that
Roberts and Amsden found no fragment of Mesa Verde-like pottery
below the upper 50 inches of their 12-foot-deep West Court Test 2.
Thus Mesa Verde pottery was introduced at Pueblo Bonito some
time after arrival of the Late Bonitians.

The north face of Old Bonitian Room 28, as seen in Pepper's
figure 44, is a Late Bonitian veneer of second-type masonry and
is abutted by the partition between 28 and 28a. Room 28a, therefore,
is an Old Bonitian idea that followed the veneering, a Late Bonitian
veneering contemporaneous with construction of like walls in firstand
second-story rooms both east and west from 91 and 92.

It is quite obvious from Pepper's recorded notes and from what
we saw in the field that the Late Bonitians preëmpted and remodeled
many Old Bonitian homes in this north-central section and east
thereof. We observed the foundations for razed second-type walls
under the floors of several rooms; we saw where second-type masonry
had replaced first-type and where third-type had replaced the second.
Beginning in Rooms 71, 78, and 86 there is an abrupt substitution
of third-type masonry for that of Old Bonitian origin (pl. 22,

Late Bonitian architects rebuilt the east third of Old Bonitian
Room 71 and introduced a later floor about 6 inches above the original.
On this latter was a slab-lined fireplace, 2 feet 7 inches in
diameter and 14 inches from the end of a subfloor ventilator duct
directed toward the southeast corner (Pepper, ibid., p. 257).

Adjoining 71 on the west is Room 83, a much-altered Old Bonitian
living room in which Pepper (ibid., p. 269) noted three successive
floors. The second of these consisted of sandstone slabs laid in adobe
mud; the lower and earlier floor exhibited "a multiplicity of walls
and fireplaces." Obviously the occupants lived here a long while.
Unpublished Hyde negatives Nos. 275 and 276 show a west-end door,
its jambs rounded and whitewashed, about 2 feet above the uppermost
floor and 2 pairs of post steps below the sill.


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The south-wall foundation of Room 83 protruded 6-12 inches and
rested directly upon the arc of a partially razed Old Bonitian kiva
as it curved south, presumably to be demolished by the Late Bonitian
builders of Kiva N, and west beneath the floors of Rooms 307 and
309. We do not know when that old kiva was razed but we do know
that Old Bonitian Room 307 was built later than others of its kind
because, of 694 potsherds from a limited test pit beneath the floor, 8
were Late Hachure, 4 were Chaco-San Juan or McElmo Black-onwhite,
and 366, or 52.8 percent, Corrugated-coil Culinary.

As Pepper (ibid., p. 269) describes it that Old Bonitian kiva under
Room 83 was bowl-shaped with an encircling bench 38 inches high,
well plastered and its front edge rounded. Pepper's figure 114 shows
less than one-quarter of the bench but no visible pilaster. With
aboriginal perspicacity the builders incorporated in that bench a sizable
boulder, part of an earlier cliff-fall, and spread adobe mud upon
the soft sand that had drifted against it—sand and mud that eventually
settled and left a shallow depression. Clean sand lay immediately
under the kiva floor, 8 feet below that of Room 83.

We encountered a companion Old Bonitian kiva, rather the north
half of one, during trenching operations in the northwest corner of
the East Court (fig. 3). Its stonework, averaging 14 inches thick,
was typical: roughly spalled sandstone blocks, unevenly but thickly
plastered, fingerprinted all over, and sooted. Its west side, with an
outward slope of 12½ degrees, rises 12 feet above the floor and partly
underlies the unnumbered room south of 211 (17); on the east side,
the wall stands only 10 feet 3 inches, about 4½ feet below the Court
surface. Indicated diameters are: At floor level, 22½ feet; above
bench, 26 feet 7 inches; at wall top, 31 feet 10 inches.

An encircling bench, 25 inches high and averaging 34 inches wide,
was surfaced with sandstone slabs and plastered. On it, in the portion
we exposed, were the remains of two pilasters, each consisting
of small sandstone chips set in adobe mud and enclosing a 6-inch log
that lay flat upon the slab surface, its butt end inserted into the
masonry and packed about with shale (pl. 23, right). The two averaged
10½ inches wide by 6½ inches high, their forward ends set back
7-8 inches. We saw no trace of offerings. Here, then, as with that
under Room 83, a 4-pilaster kiva is indicated. Plaster adhered to
the bench face, whitened to floor level but continuing an additional
13 inches to an earlier floor or work surface. Spread upon that
lower floor was a 5-inch layer of shale and 8 inches of adobe mortar


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from razed walls. Together, bench height and fill between floors
thus equal the 38-inch-high bench Pepper reported in the old kiva
under Room 83.

Our East Court Old Bonitian kiva, with its high bench and outward-slanting
wall, was divided by an east-west partition built upon
the floor and closely following the irregularities of the kiva masonry.
The fact that this dividing wall had been constructed chiefly of unworked
friable sandstone with individual blocks protruding at irregular
intervals from both sides identified it as the north enclosing wall of
Late Bonitian Kiva 2-C. At its west end, 2 feet thick, the partition
was braced to the concave kiva wall by two series of small poles inserted
6 feet 4 inches and 7 feet 10 inches above the bench while on
the opposite, or south, side two single poles at a height of 5 feet
9 inches joined the crosswall to the convex exterior of Kiva 2-C.

It should be noted at this point that, although the stonework of
this bowl-shaped Old Bonitian kiva sloped outward at an average
of 12½ degrees, the walls of nearby Late Bonitian kivas 2-B and
2-C likewise had an outward but lesser slant.

Deep beneath the West Court terrace number 347, in front of
Room 324, we came upon part of another Old Bonitian kiva and
bared a 7-foot section of it (pl. 23, left). It partially underlay the
remnant of a kiva built of second-type masonry while above this
latter and at the surface is the previously excavated, third-type kiva
readily identified from Pepper's description as his 67 but which was
misplaced on Hyde's plan of the ruin (in Pepper, 1920, fig. 155).

The bench in that old, first-type kiva lies 9 feet 3 inches below
the Room 347 pavement. Because our trench was narrow, with insecure
stonework on either side, we did not determine bench height,
but its width was 36 inches, its front edge rounded and 3 inches higher
than the rear. Midway of our 7-foot arc was a masonry pilaster,
adobe plastered, 8 inches wide by 6 inches high and full bench width
without the usual setback. Lengthwise upon this pilaster was a 5-inchdiameter
log, its butt end built into the kiva wall and its forward end
seated upon a 4-inch post embedded in the bench masonry 2 feet
5 inches from its rear edge. This Old Bonitian pilaster stands alone
and may be an exception, but alone it seems to be something of a
compromise between those in the bowl-shaped kiva north of 2-C and
the 4-post roof supports of P. II kivas in the San Juan country.

The stonework of this 7-foot-long section, razed to within 4 feet
10 inches of its bench, was 14 inches through, thickly plastered and
smoke stained, with an outward slant of 13 degrees. It continued


Page 69
northward beneath the fourth-type masonry of the Kiva Z enclosure
and southward under both the second-type kiva remnant previously
noted and the nondescript stonework of Room 348. Here, then, in
beautiful succession we have a profile of kiva stonework from firsttype
to fourth: the oldest made way for the second; the second was
replaced by third-type Kiva 67 and, after the latter served its purpose,
fourth-type Kiva Z was built upon the remains.

Still another Old Bonitian kiva is represented, I believe, by two
wall fragments unearthed during the digging of our West Court
trench (fig. 7). One fragment, above Station 330 and razed to
within 14 inches of its associated floor, 11 feet 10 inches below the
last utilized surface, appears to be part of a bench face. Above and
to the north is the second fragment, a 5-foot-high section of crude,
thickly plastered external stonework with a pronounced upward
and outward slant in the Old Bonitian tradition but with an indicated
thickness of over 3 feet which would be unusual. These two sections
of early stonework may, possibly, be parts of a first-type kiva
otherwise completely razed in advance of later building activities.
With admitted hestitancy I have represented its position on figure 3.
Two feet in front of the supposed bench and 11 inches from each
other are 2 postholes, each 5 inches in diameter and filled with sand
from which we recovered three bone beads.

Although understandably dubious regarding origin and purpose of
the two sections of stonework described above, I have less doubt in
connection with the beginnings of Kiva R, a dominantly second-type
Late Bonitian chamber repaired and renovated with third-type
masonry (pl. 24, left). A test pit 6 feet 7 inches deep in front of
and below the third pilaster revealed two earlier benches, the lower
of first-type construction (pl. 24, right).

Obviously here was an Old Bonitian kiva whose outward wall
slant was preserved in two subsequent Late Bonitian revisions. The
orginal, therefore, was one of four known kivas fronting the crescentic
house cluster of Old Bonito, and there is the possibility of at
least two others: the dubious one exposed in our West Court trench
and that to which Pepper points in his description of Room 19.

This latter, portions of which we located beneath the floors of Kiva
16 and Room 210, had an indicated diameter of about 19 feet.
Room 210 preserves in its north wall part of the old kiva curve, here
coated by six successive layers of plaster and each heavily smoked.
Subfloor and adjoining on the south, the old wall averages 25 inches
thick and had been razed to within 19 inches of its bench. This


Page 70
latter, 37 inches wide and 28 inches high, had been repeatedly plastered
and whitened; on it we noted the side of a demolished pilaster,
set back 4 inches from the edge, but dimensions and makeup unknown.
The outer or convex curve of this old kiva likewise had been plastered
and whitewashed.

I hesitate to identify whitewashing of kiva stonework and especially
of kiva benches as an Old Bonitian trait, but there may be significance
in the fact that such treatment was commonplace among our Old
Bonitians. Incised figures such as those in Room 97 (3a) are reported
less frequently. Figures chalked on brown plaster and 3-foot
whitewashed dados or a 2-foot white band above a brown dado are,
apparently, among decorative concepts of the Late Bonitians.

The sandstone boulder utilized in the old kiva under Room 83
(Pepper, ibid., p. 269) is only one of several that together provide
evidence of a prodigious rock-fall from the north cliff sometime
prior to the beginning of Old Bonito. Those boulders were already
there and the old folk simply built over and around them. There
is one under Room 83; another was incorporated in the wall of a
storage bin in Room 85, adjoining (ibid., p. 282). We noted like
boulders 4½ feet beneath the floor of Kiva N or 14 feet below approximate
East Court level; we observed others underneath wall foundations
in Old Bonitian Rooms 87, 296, and 298; still others were seen
outside the pueblo where Late Bonitian architects, in their turn, had
built foundations over and around massive blocks of cliff sandstone
(see Judd, 1959b). Quite obviously a sizable section of north canyon
wall had given way and cast its jagged fragments forward a hundred
feet or more long before the Old Bonitians came to live here.

The bowl-shaped kiva these Old Bonitians built in front of their
living room, 85, eventually was abandoned and Rooms 83 and 307
were erected above its remains. It seems probable these replacements
were forced by Late Bonitian architects who were already active hereabout,
as witness the Late Bonitian potsherds we recovered under
the floor of Room 307 and witness, too, the Late Bonitian reconstruction
program that began in Rooms 71, 78, and 86 and continued
east therefrom.


Old Bonitian 71, 78, and 86 were formerly adjoined on the east by
their contemporaries, Rooms 69, 80, and 87, but these latter had been
demolished during the Late Bonitian modernizing program and the
wreckage of their partially razed walls was left where it fell and substitute


Page 71
rooms were built above. Third-type Late Bonitian masonry
is presently most conspicuous throughout this whole rebuilt section,
but second-type masonry preceded it.

Pepper's figure 123, for example, shows the east end of Old
Bonitian Room 86 rebuilt with dressed sandstone blocks of rare
uniformity and thinly chinked in the manner I would classify as
second-type, while the opposite side of that same wall, as seen in
figure 124, is a composite stonework, a blend of laminate and dressed
friable sandstone, irregularly banded and separated by one to four
layers of laminate chips. The upper-wall masonry in Room 87, as
in 86, more nearly meets the specifications of my third type, and this
is even more apparent in the second and third stories. Here as elsewhere
replacements were made with salvaged building stone.

Pepper (1920, p. 288) includes his figure 124 to illustrate "walls
of an angular room under Room 87." Limited testing convinced us
that two of those subfloor walls are Old Bonitian. That at the far
end, plastered and smoke-stained, is the exterior of original Old
Bonitian Room 86, its outer corner rounded and abutted by the
somewhat later Old Bonitian stonework that had enclosed Rooms 87,
77, and beyond (fig. 3). Wedged in to the right of that old stonework,
under Pepper's pile of potsherds, is the north foundation of the Late
Bonitian room that supplanted original 87. In the angle where the
two old walls meet, their foundations vary from 7 to 18 inches thick
and overlie several large, irregular sandstone blocks fallen from the
north cliff. These blocks rested upon clean sand, 9 feet 10 inches
below the floor of Late Bonitian Room 87.

At lower left in Pepper's figure 124 one notes the protruding
south-wall foundation of the later room, built mostly of slabs from
Old Bonitian walls and standing upon the original Old Bonitian floor,
6 feet 4 inches below that of Room 87 but 17 inches above floor level
in orginal Old Bonitian Room 86, adjoining on the west. As this
17-inch difference may approximate the time interval between construction
of original 86, with its convex outer northeast corner, and
erection of original 87, so the 7-foot-9-inch difference in floor levels
between original 86 and Late Bonitian Room 87 may provide a clue
to the time that elapsed before Late Bonitian architects introduced
their third-type masonry.

Pepper's descriptive data for Rooms 80, 69, 68, and 82 and our
own sporadic testing in them evidence other Old Bonitian stonework
paralleling that under Room 87. Clearly the east arm of crescentic
Old Bonito formerly extended at least this far eastward before it


Page 72
was razed and replaced by the Late Bonitians. How much farther it
extended I do not know, but there is a hint of it in the subfloor walls
and storage bins of Room 62 and Pepper's figure 107 (p. 260)
shows an arc of plastered first-type masonry underlying the south
side of Room 76 with an intrusive Late Bonitian slab-lined fireplace

Similarly, crossed walls under the floor of Room 66 were "evidently
part of the old building" (ibid., p. 248). I cannot follow
Pepper's notes on adjoining Room 65, but his figure 103 shows what
appears to be Old Bonitian stonework under the northeast corner—
stonework I have hesitated to chart on our figure 3.

Again, in Room 64 "a series of walls was found under the floor"
(ibid., p. 237), and one of them, seen in unpublished negative No. 225
deep below the much-plastered and much-smoked Late Bonitian
masonry on either side, is a cross wall that is more likely Old Bonitian
than otherwise. Also, what I judge to be portions of other old house
walls appear, in Pepper's unpublished negative No. 253, below the
east half of Kiva 75 and under both ends of its west-side vault.

Three sections of indubitable Old Bonitian stonework, their associated
floor at depth of 8 feet 2 inches, were exposed by our trenches
at the west end of Room 314. Opposite, in the northeast corner, are
more old walls sooted and plastered, some of which surely extend
subfloor into Room 74, at the southwest corner of Late Bonitian
Kiva 75. Finally, 7 feet 2 inches beneath the floor of Room 290 we
came upon a well-marked pavement with associated Old Bonitian
stonework that was 11 inches thick, unplastered on the exterior but
both plastered and sooted inside.

These several observations, together with Rooms 315 and 316,
lend substance to my belief that the right wing of Old Bonito extended
at least this far to the east before it was razed to provide
space for the Late Bonitian walls now standing.

Rooms 315 and 316 are portions of Old Bonitian structures that
were reduced in floor area and otherwise altered when Late Bonitian
architects built in a substitute northeast side, 8½ feet high, partially
to serve as foundation for a third-type wall enclosing Rooms 290,
291, 74, and 314 and overhanging the north arc of Kiva L. In both
315 and 316 that built-in substitute consists largely of dressed blocks
of friable sandstone and abuts plastered Old Bonitian stonework at
either end. Both rooms had been roofed at a height of 7 feet, but
the Room 315 ceiling rested upon two 8-inch longitudinal beams while
that in 316 was supported by four similar beams placed transversely.

No Page Number

Fig.4 -Ground plan showing the initial Late Bonitian addition
to the pueblo with abandoned second-type walls and known

No Page Number

No Page Number

Plate 18

Left: A deep,
"fire pit" of unknown
function on
the terrace north of
the Kiva Z enclosure,
west of Kiva

(Photograph by
O. C. Havens,


Right: Before
alteration and replacement,
the east
end of Old Bonitian
Room 86 was
abutted by another,
its floor 6 feet 4
inches below that
of Room 87.

(Photograph by
Neil M. Judd,

No Page Number

Plate 19

The northeast corner of Room 14a retains plaster and a 4-pole
storage shelf.

(Photographs by Victor Mindeleff, 1887. Courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution.)


The north doors of Rooms 14b (with blanket) and 301 had been forced
open by unknown persons.

No Page Number

Plate 20

Upper: Post-and-mud south and west walls of second-story Old Bonitian Room 53.


Lower: The southwest corner of Room 327 with remnant of its post-and-mud south wall survives
with blocked door to Room 325.

(Photographs by O. C. Havens, 1924.)

No Page Number

Plate 21

Upper: Northeast wall of Room 92 (behind figure), with open door to Room 3d at lower left.


Lower: North door, Room 300B, with secondary jambs and lintel recessed for doorslab.

(Photographs by Neil M. Judd, 1923.)


Page 73

Despite Late Bonitian alterations and repairs, both 315 and 316
possess architectural features that seem to identify them as orginally
Old Bonitian. In Room 315 a slab-lined fireplace occupies the
southeast quarter while on a floor 6 inches lower another fireplace,
masonry-lined and ash-filled, was half buried under the Late Bonitians'
built-in northeast foundation. Cut into that same earlier floor
and continuing under the south corner of the room to an external
shaft is a masonry-lined ventilator duct. This latter, 26 inches wide
by 29 inches deep, was originally 7 feet long but had been reduced
to 22 inches when a masonry partition was introduced and the duct
floor beyond was raised 15 inches.

At the northwest end of Room 315 an unplastered masonry partition
now 25 inches high and half as thick, screens an alcove with
floor 4 inches above that of the main room. Midway of that partition
is a 15-inch opening, its sill at the alcove floor level and its south
jamb a 5-inch-diameter post that may have propped the southernmost
of the 2 main roofing beams. Three small poles against the
northwest wall and 4 feet 9 inches above the alcove floor had formed
a room-wide shelf 22 inches-deep—a fixture believed to be unusual
in an Old Bonitian room. One inch above the alcove floor and 40
inches from its west corner a 13-by-16-inch-high ventilator pierces
the southwest wall.

In the south corner of the alcove, cut into a floor 10 inches lower
and connecting with an extramural shaft, is a masonry-lined ventilator
duct measuring 19 inches NW-SE by 17 inches wide and 21
inches deep. It had been filled with ashy earth and floored over. On
that same lower floor but in the opposite corner a slab-lined fireplace
partially underlies a 6-foot section of first-type stonework that juts
forward 18 inches and is there abutted by the Late Bonitian construction
that provides a northeast side for Old Bonitian Rooms 315 and

Room 316 likewise has at least one fixture usually associated with
esoteric practices, a subfloor ventilator duct. Such a duct, 15 inches
wide by 24 inches deep, underlies the south corner of the room and
connects with an outside air intake that rises 6 feet 2 inches and thus
equals the present height of the southwest wall. This latter is especially
interesting since it consists of Old Bonitian stonework veneered
by second-type Late Bonitian masonry. The adjoining southeast
wall, indefinite as to type, is later and had replaced the convex
curve of Kiva L. In the northwest corner a slab-lined fireplace 25
inches in diameter had been abandoned, floored over, and replaced by


Page 74
one of rectangular form. This latter, also slab-lined but with mudrounded
corners, was ash-filled and contained three sandstone firedogs
in a row.

The northeast quarter of 316 is occupied by a subfloor, masonrylined
passageway, 22 inches wide by 26 inches deep, that extends
to and under the corner of the room and there, with an abrupt angle,
turns to the right and continues an undetermined distance. At its
abrupt angle the passageway was roofed by three 2-inch poles spread
fanwise from its east side. A former southwest door had been
blocked to leave a 10- by-13-inch ventilator at floor level, and this
apparently was intended to be closed by a tabular metate left leaning
against the nearby wall. With all doors closed, Room 316, like its
neighbor, could have been entered only by means of a hatchway.

Recognition of Rooms 315 and 316 as possibly of ceremonial significance
raises the question as to whether these and other quadrangular
structures might have been adjuncts to circular subterranean kivas
in Old Bonitian rituals. Rooms 327 and 328 possess features paralleling
those in 315 and 316, and Pepper's description of Room 3a (97)
certainly sets it apart from purely secular buildings. Our Room 309
likewise possesses fixtures foreign to local living quarters but 309 is
a Late Bonitian chamber.

As previously stated, 327 is a one-story Old Bonitian room on
the west side of the West Court. Its rear wall is the exterior of
Old Bonitian 325, a living room; its south side is a combination of
small posts spaced 4-5 inches apart, packed between with adobe mud,
and surfaced with more mud (pl. 20, lower). The north and east
sides of Room 327 include a facing of rather crude, typeless stonework
that was added, apparently, just to support the second-type
Late Bonitian walls built above. All four sides were repeatedly
plastered and as often sooted. Both north and south walls abut the
thickly plastered exterior of Room 325 and thus evidence their later

The ceiling of Room 327 rested upon a single beam, its west
end seated in a former Room 325 ventilator and the opposite end
supported by a 6-inch post. Pine poles of uniform diameter lay
upon the beam and a layer of chico brush upon the poles. In the
northeast corner, however, the ceiling had been patched with cedar
splints, probably at the time the walls were raised for a second story.
Opposite, in the southeast corner, there was a 14- by-28-inch ceiling
hatchway and below it, perhaps as a step, a slab-covered traingular
bench, 28 inches high.


Page 75

A former west door, its sill slab 15 inches below floor level and
a like distance above a trampled surface that may be the original
floor, represents a former court-side passage to and from Room 325.
A companion east door, its sill 14 inches above the same trampled
surface, served for a time and then was blocked. As if to favor an
arthritic, a post step 11 inches in diameter and sill high had stood in
front of that east door and, in front of the post, a 6-inch-high stone
block as a second step. From this original floor a pine post reached
up to prop the ceiling and a masonry-sided bin occupied each corner
of the room except that at the northeast.

Subsequently that original east door was sealed, a second floor
was installed 30 inches higher, and a new east door was cut through
at floor level. The north jamb of this new passageway is a 2½inch
post that inclines outward at the top.

The post-and-mud wall in Room 327 curved south to form the
original east side of 328, 329, and possibly 330. At the time of
excavation in Room 328 the 2-inch posts in that old wall stood 39
inches high, 6-12 inches apart and were separated by adobe mud only.
In Room 329 wall-wide stonework rather than mud filled in between
posts. Post-and-mud walls at Old Bonito were never more than one
story high, so far as I know, with the possible exception of Room 53B
which may have been built upon a first-story fill but whose present
south and west sides preserve a core of upright posts with mud between
(pl. 20, upper).

Rooms 328 and 329 were both roofed, after the manner of 327,
with a layer of brush supported by selected ceiling poles and posts.
Four posts were required in 329, each standing in a slab-lined hole
and packed about with shale chips. Second-type masonry built against
the old post-and-mud wall of adjoining Room 327 rose from floor to
ceiling on the north side of 328, partly surrounding a ceiling prop
whose overlying beam had been retained as partial support for the
second-story wall above. Spurred by a bit of whimsy, some unknown
dawdler had crowned this post with a discoidal potrest made of squawbush
bound with strips of yucca leaf. A companion post stood
opposite the first, supporting a second beam.

Although the beams braced by these two posts belonged to the
original ceiling they had been augmented by two others at the same
height, 7 feet 3 inches, presumably when the Late Bonitians built
their second-story room above. A southeast corner hatchway undoubtedly
connected the upper and lower rooms, as in 327.

More than its neighbors Room 328 preserves the aura of a room


Page 76
once dedicated to secret cult or religious practices. At midfloor is a
25-inch-diameter fireplace, rimmed with clay and accompanied by
a shallow, scooped-out basin, probably intended for ashes. Sometime
during occupancy of the room this fireplace was divided and its south
half lined with slab fragments on edge but thereafter continued in use.

A floor-level ventilator 8 inches wide and 10 inches high pierced
the east wall of 328 directly above a subfloor, slab-lined ventilator
duct. This latter, 13 inches wide by 18 inches deep, was roofed at
floor level by sandstone slabs supported on small transverse poles;
at its proximal end, the customary air vent, 8 by 13 inches. The
probable air intake, in a masonry column 3 feet outside the east wall,
rises to West Court level, a vertical distance of over 7 feet. The
essential draft deflector between ventilator and fireplace, although
far out of line, must be the 6-stick section of wattlework joining
the south wall to a nearby ceiling prop (pl. 25, left).

Questions of origin and association arise in connection with the
under-floor ventilator in Room 328. Is it an Old Bonitian concept or
the result of Late Bonitian influence? For unknown reasons this
particular example had been blocked with masonry directly beneath the
floor-level, east-wall ventilator. Otherwise it was entirely open when
found and so was that above. Within the limits of my experience at
Pueblo Bonito the subfloor type of ventilator was a prescribed feature
of Late Bonitian circular kivas. For this reason I am of the opinion
that those we discovered in Rooms 316 and 328 and the one Pepper
(ibid., p. 257) describes in Room 71 reflect influence exerted at the
time Late Bonitian masonry was introduced at the second-story level
or nearby. The walls of 328B are of second-type Late Bonitian composition
while that at the northeast side of Room 316 was third-type
and so too, presumably, the rebuilt east end of Room 71. Here, in 71,
a 14-inch-wide ventilator duct extends from a central fireplace on an
earlier floor at depth of 6 inches to and beneath the southeast corner
of the room.

That the priesthood of Pueblo Bonito, early and late, maintained
rectangular cult rooms as adjuncts to their circular kivas seems indisputable.
Among others, there are 3a (97), 249, 309, 315, 316, 328, and
351 each with built-in fixtures that set it apart from ordinary dwellings.
Then, most puzzling of all, there is the remnant of a quadrangular
structure whose packed-clay floor we found outside and at
the east end of Room 28, 10½ feet below its second-story floor level.
The original foundation, here 21 inches high, had been built upon
that clay floor after its associated bench had been partially razed.

That bench, of relatively crude stonework 24 inches wide by
34 inches high (the upper 4 inches raised and rounded at the front),


Page 77
had been repeatedly plastered and smoke-stained and the final coat
whitewashed. From a point directly beneath the horizontal abutment
on the west side of the Kiva 16 enclosure (beyond which point we
did not venture) we bared the lower bench westward for 9 feet
8 inches where it turned abruptly north for 20 inches and there had
been demolished upon construction of the Room 28 foundation. The
above-bench wall on either side of that angle, razed to within an average
height of 7 inches, was merely the face of a cut clay bank. A
disturbed area just to the west of our test pit presumably marks the
limit of Hyde Expedition excavations in "Room 40."

Presumably that deep-seated, cutbank structure, with its adobe
floor and plastered bench, is pre-Old Bonito, but we found nothing to
identify its builders. It differs fundamentally from the two slab-lined
pit-houses exposed by our West Court trench, and it differs from
every P. I or P. II building of which I have knowledge except, possibly,
another remnant we discovered on a pavement 6 feet 3 inches
below the floor of Room 241 at the southeast corner of the pueblo.
In this case, however, the former structure was represented by a
section of adobe wall 8 inches thick and 16 inches high, topped with
sandstone and buried under a layer of water-borne silt.

Describing Late Bonitian Room 100, Pepper (1920, p. 318) suggests
that the north half of its east wall, protruding about 2 feet,
"may have been a part of the old building," but I would guess that
what he saw was actually the Late Bonitian foundation for that north
half. On the other hand, the under-floor construction in Room 56 was
undoubtedly Old Bonitian as were the walls built above. But nowhere
short of Rooms 80 and 87 do I detect among Pepper's published
field notes positive evidence of Late Bonitian replacement of Old
Bonito's ground-floor dwellings. Late Bonitian architects surrounded
the west wing of the old town with rooms of their own devising; in
the east wing they razed and rebuilt.

It seems significant that the Late Bonitians confined their initial
reconstruction activities to the east wing of the Old Bonito crescent.
Their architects added second stories to the court-side row of groundfloor
structures from Room 28 west and south to 329 or 330 but they
ventured no replacement in that section. Pepper mentions none. We
cleared 11 Old Bonitian west-wing rooms and observed no subfloor
wall in either of them. Not until Late Bonitian architects had developed
their second variety of masonry (my third type) did they
undertake a major constructional program for the west side of the
enlarged pueblo and by this time they were ready to replace all the
walls they had previously built in the east wing above razed Old
Bonitian rooms.