ASM Occasional Electronic Papers No. 1: Homol'ovi IV
E. Charles Adams
A single year of excavation in 1989 was conducted at Homol'ovi IV by the Homol'ovi Research Program, Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona. These excavations were designed to collect a sample of undisturbed material remains from the village to be able to interpret its chronological placement with respect to other Homol'ovi villages and to nearby regions, to understand how it grew during its occupation, to determine the origins of its occupants, and identify its relationships with its neighbors in terms of exchange. Another important goal was to determine the extent of vandalism at the site -- known locally as Pottery Hill. Additional goals were to conduct minimal stabilization to the walls of the village, complete a detailed map of the existing architecture of the village, and make recommendations to the Homolovi Ruins State Park manager about interpretation, stabilization, and preservation of Homol'ovi IV. These modest goals were mostly achieved, although additional excavations would have been desirable. Excavations in part of 11 structures were conducted, with 8 completely excavated. These structures are concentrated in the lower five of at least nine arcs of rooms that surround the south and east slopes of a butte. Therefore, the excavated sample is biased in not representing any of the earliest constructed rooms at the village. This choice was made due to the extreme slope of the butte and the difficulty in negotiating the slope along with the expectation of serious damage and slope erosion to lower rooms, if upper rooms were selected for excavation.
Excavations uncovered several thousand sherds and dozens of reconstructible vessels. As a result, tree-ring dated ceramics were plentiful enough to indicate the occupation of Homol'ovi IV spanned a 30-year period dating from the 1250s to the 1280s, thus making the village the earliest occupied of the Homol'ovi settlement cluster (cf. Adams 2002; see chapter 7). Although two radiocarbon dates generally support this period of occupation, no actual tree-ring dates were recovered from the excavations to refine the rather broad absolute dates determined from the radiocarbon.
Detailed architectural information was gathered for the entire village, headed by Douglas W. Gann. Wall tracing and excavation of wall corners enabled Gann to determine that settlement growth began on the top of the butte with the construction of about 25 one- and two-story rooms. Village growth proceeded on the sides of the butte with the upper rows of rooms built first and lower rooms built later, abutted to the rooms and walls above them. The abutment/bonding data was reinforced by the discovery that the lower four rows of rooms were built over trash either washed down, deposited as a midden, or brought in to level the room foundations. Thus, these rows of rooms postdate construction up-slope. Because so many lower rooms at the foot of the butte have been buried by slope wash and some sections of the village have been destroyed by vandalism, it is impossible to get an exact room count. Best guess is total room count is 200 plus or minus 25 rooms.
A number of indications that the occupants of Homol'ovi IV were immigrants from the vicinity of the Hopi Mesas has been described. The argument that they are an immigrant population is based in part on the fact that no traces of occupation of the Homol'ovi area at the time of the establishment of Homol'ovi IV have been found (Adams 2002; Lange 1998; Young 1996). Extensive excavation of a Basketmaker III through Pueblo III village, AZ J:14:36 ASM, has yielded no evidence of ceramics or other material culture that overlaps with that of Homol'ovi IV. The ceramics are derived from Little Colorado white and gray wares with considerable exchanged wares from 12th and early 13th century Kayenta and Tusayan (Hopi) groups, settlements in the Silver Creek region of the upper Little Colorado River, and Sinagua groups from the Anderson Mesa or Flagstaff area. There are no late Hopi white, orange, or yellow wares, all of which date post-1250. These same wares dominate the Homol'ovi IV assemblage. Additionally, none of the ceramics from site 36 are clearly locally made in contrast to their abundance at Homol'ovi IV. There is no cultural or temporal connection between the two sites. A second small, earlier village, Creswell Pueblo, has ceramics that tree-ring date a little later than AZ J:14:36, but it also has no late Hopi Mesa ceramics nor is there any indication of local manufacture. See Adams (2002) for a more extended discussion.
As alluded to in the preceding paragraph, the ceramic assemblage at Homol'ovi IV is comprised of three primary elements: ceramics imported from the vicinity of the Hopi Mesas (51%), ceramics imported from Sinagua communities on Anderson Mesa (14%), and locally produced ceramics (22%). Local production has been demonstrated by INAA analysis of ceramics from Homol'ovi IV (Lyons 2001; 2003). Ceramics imported from the Hopi area include both decorated and corrugated varieties, as does the locally produced ceramics. Lyons (2001, 2003) has convincingly demonstrated that the local Winslow Orange Ware tradition is derivative of the decorated traditions developed slightly earlier on the Hopi Mesas. The best example at Homol'ovi IV is the local bichrome type, Tuwiuca Black-on-orange, which is identical to Jeddito Black-on-orange, produced on or near the Hopi Mesas, in every way except paste. On this evidence alone, Homol'ovi IV could be considered a product of immigration from the Hopi area.
Additional traits of Homol'ovi IV that indicate it was built by immigrants from the vicinity of the Hopi Mesas are its location on the top and side of a prominent butte, the size and construction of the village itself, and the size and configuration of the kivas. This has been detailed in the chapter 6, which describes the architecture of Homol'ovi IV.
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