Archeological Investigations at Puerco Ruin, Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona
Part of the Archaeology of Petrified Forest National Park project
Author(s): Jeffery F. Burton
During 1988 and 1989, archeologists from the Western Archeological and
Conservation Center conducted data recovery excavations at Puerco Ruin, Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona. Puerco Ruin is the remains of a 100-plus-room pueblo dating to the late Pueblo III to middle Pueblo IV periods. The data recovery, conducted to mitigate the effects of proposed visitor facilities at the site, included surface collection, excavation, and analysis. In addition, over 1,000 rock art elements surrounding the pueblo were recorded by volunteers from the American Rock Art Research Association.
Surface collection of sixteen 10 by 10 m units north of the pueblo helped
identify extramural activity areas for various stages of lithic production.
Eight non-room subsurface features and eight main soil strata were identified during the excavation of ninety-two 1 by 1 m excavation units. In addition, four surface rooms and portions of a kiva were also excavated. Over 4,000 sherds (including 16 partially reconstructible vessels) and over 26,000 flaked stone artifacts, as well as ground stone and other artifacts and abundant floral and faunal remains, were recovered. Analyses included obsidian sourcing and hydration, ceramic refiring and temper identification, and radiocarbon dating. Data from three previous excavations were incorporated in the present analysis wherever possible. Chronometric data indicate a short occupation, from around A.D. 1250 to 1380. Although artifacts recovered indicate ties to the Hopi, Homol'ovi, Flagstaff, Zuni, and Gallup areas, the pueblo's location near petrified wood sources does not appear to have engendered large-scale lithic manufacturing for trade. Some evidence suggests that the focus of trade may have shifted from west to east during the occupation, but most items were made from locally-available raw material.
Dating of the site and regional environmental data suggest the pueblo was
founded during a period of drought conditions. In the early part of the
occupation, there was a heavy reliance on domestic crops, most likely grown in the Puerco River floodplain; later, more wild plants appear to have been used. A wide variety and high percentage of non-traditional food animals, such as carnivores, also appear to have been consumed, possibly indicating environmental stress.
Cite this Record
Archeological Investigations at Puerco Ruin, Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona. Jeffery F. Burton. Publications in Anthropology ,54. Tucson, Arizona: Western Archeological and Conservation Center. 1990 ( tDAR id: 4292) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8445JKS
This Resource is Part of the Following Collections
Calendar Date: 1250 to 1380
min long: -109.814; min lat: 35.017 ; max long: -109.771; max lat: 35.047 ;
Individual & Institutional Roles
|Name||Size||Creation Date||Date Uploaded||Access|
|pia-54-pefo.pdf||13.31mb||Oct 16, 2010 10:43:14 AM||Public|