Mapping the Monumental Architecture of the Largo Gap Great House

Author(s): Kristin Safi; Katie Simon; Adam Wiewel; Andrew Duff

Year: 2015


This study combines spatial technology with traditional field methods to accurately identify and map the monumental architecture of the late Pueblo II Largo Gap great house. Although previous visits by early researchers to the site identified monumental architectural characteristics typically associated with Chaco-style great houses (primarily the presence of a great kiva), the surface expression of such features is currently lacking. Rubble present along the steep slopes of the knoll upon which Largo Gap is situated suggests not only a lack of major external architectural features but also an atypically small overall architectural footprint. We present a case study utilizing multiple data lines (aerial thermography, ground penetrating radar, surface mapping, and limited excavation) to obtain surface and subsurface architectural signatures for the great house. We use these data to counteract the impacts erosion, significant historic stone borrowing, and modern ranching have had on understanding the structure’s surface expression, and to identify monumental architecture through minimally invasive means. Our approach is balanced between obtaining specific architectural signatures relevant to determining identity and participation in the Chaco Regional System while also broadening our spatial and analytical scope to expand beyond using surface wall alignments to form socially contextualized interpretations for the site.

SAA 2015 abstracts made available in tDAR courtesy of the Society for American Archaeology and Center for Digital Antiquity Collaborative Program to improve digital data in archaeology. If you are the author of this presentation you may upload your paper, poster, presentation, or associated data (up to 3 files/30MB) for free. Please visit for instructions and more information.

Cite this Record

Mapping the Monumental Architecture of the Largo Gap Great House. Kristin Safi, Adam Wiewel, Katie Simon, Andrew Duff. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395043)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -115.532; min lat: 30.676 ; max long: -102.349; max lat: 42.033 ;