The Archaeology of Aztec North

Author(s): Michelle I. Turner; Ruth Van Dyke

Year: 2017


Our paper reports on our recent archaeological testing at the previously unexcavated Aztec North great house at Aztec Ruins National Monument. Standing on the river terrace behind and above the better-known valley great houses, Aztec North is out of sight of those great houses but tightly bound to them as part of the formalized cultural landscape of Aztec Ruins. It is a crucial site for understanding the development of Chaco Canyon’s outliers, as it was likely the earliest great house built in what eventually became the enormously ambitious outlier complex of Aztec Ruins. Our investigations revealed architectural surprises, including unexpected construction methods that bring into question archaeologists’ traditional dichotomies between Chacoan building methods and methods of local emulation. And even as the site revealed little evidence for intensive use, we found signs of significant remodeling. Our artifact analysis is also adding to our understandings of the site’s chronology, of the use of materials from near and far, and of subsistence practices at this site. We will discuss our results, drawing on broader understandings of Chacoan expansion, and with consideration of how Aztec North relates to the greater cultural landscape of Aztec Ruins, to Chaco Canyon and to other regions.

Cite this Record

The Archaeology of Aztec North. Michelle I. Turner, Ruth Van Dyke. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429978)


Chaco Southwest

Geographic Keywords
North America - Southwest

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17342