University of Virginia Library


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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


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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


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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.