Hawkins Pueblo, 5MT4469, is the largest prehistoric archaeological resource within Hawkins Preserve. Hawkins Pueblo appears to have been occupied for approximately 350 years, from about AD 900 to AD 1250. The pueblo was most intensively occupied between AD 1000 and AD 1150, during the Pueblo II period. It is thought that several related groups of people occupied areas of the site. Unfortunately, the site has been negatively impacted by pot hunting and looting activities by historic and modern peoples, and the site and preserve stand as testaments to the importance of protecting cultural resources for future generations.
The site consists of the ruins of a habitation room block and associated rubble mounds, middens, and kiva depressions. The room block is covered by a metal roofed structure in an attempt by the Cortez Cultural Center to protect the standing walls of the pueblo from snow and rain.
Archaeological Work at Hawkins Preserve
From a report by Dale Davidson and George N. Ruebelmann
The Hawkins Preserve area has been of interest to archaeologists and anthropologists for more than a century. As part of a longer trip through the American Southwest, Lewis Henry Morgan visited the Montezuma Valley in the late summer of 1878. He was not impressed with McElmo Creek, which was pools and springs when he saw it. While in the area he was guided by Henry Mitchell and made the first notes and map of the archaeological sites around Mitchell Springs. He described nine Pueblo houses of moderate size and also noted:
A mile below the ranch of Mr. Mitchell, in the bordering walls of the McElmo Canyon, are two cliff houses. The walls of the bluff here are about twenty feet high, with large cavities formed in them here and there. These houses, each of which consists of but two or three small chambers are built of stone, and stand but a few feet above the bottom of the canyon. They are narrow, and not very high, as the cavity in the rock is not very deep. Corrals for some kind of domestic animals are found by the side of these houses in the same hollows in the rock. This is proved by a mass of excrement, about a foot in depth, still there, weather of the goat or sheep cannot be stated, but this fact shows they were inhabited subsequent to the period of European discovery, although they may have been built and used before. The canyon, at this point, is from three hundred to five hundred feet wide (Morgan 1965).
The dung layer Morgan described is still in the alcove, which is on the Hawkins Preserve. The first professional archaeological fieldwork within Hawkins Preserve also has to do with dung, but in a more modern context. In September 1977, J.A. Halasi conducted an archaeological inventory along a proposed sewer pipeline route for the City of Cortez. In the course of that work, three sites were recorded: 5MT4467 and 5MT4470, both prehistoric lithic scatters; and 5MT4469 a large, prehistoric, rectangular rubble mound with two kiva depressions on its south side and midden deposits south and west of the rubble mound. Based on the presence of diagnostic potsherds, Halasi considered the site as belonging to the Pueblo II Period. She also noted the damage to two rooms that had been partially excavated and a trench that had been dug through one of the kivas. She concluded that 5MT4469 would require testing to determine if it was eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.
In May of 1998, a teacher and students from Mesa Elementary School in Cortez conducted excavations in the midden on the south side of Area A. This was done under the supervision of volunteers from the Cortez Cultural Center. However, other than the information written on the paper bags containing recovered artifacts, no documentation was produced for the work. The locations of the excavations are known from stakes and impressions in the ground.
In 2000, Bruce Bradley conducted an archaeological survey in the area as part of a management plan for Hawkins Preserve. In addition to the three sites documented by Halasi, he described 21 more prehistoric sites or features within the boundaries of the Preserve and assigned them as follows: Basketmaker II (N=1), Pueblo II (N=4), Pueblo II/Pueblo III (N=1), Pueblo III (N=2), Unknown Pueblo (N=7), and Unknown Prehistoric (N=7). The sites or features included 4 habitation sites, a field house, 5 flake and sherd scatters, 3 check dams, 1 area with 2 hearths, a grinding area, an axe groove area, a rock alignment, a stone quarry, an isolated metate, and an alcove room with pictographs. Based on the extent of disturbance, Bradley concluded that none of the prehistoric remains within the Preserve was eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.
Although not on the Hawkins Preserve, the Mitchell Springs Ruin Group should be briefly discussed here because of its close proximity to 5MT4469. As mentioned previously, Morgan roughly described and mapped the site complex in 1878 (Morgan 1965). A bit later, Prudden excavated several of the Mitchell Springs sites in 1899 and defined what he considered the unit Pueblo (an ‘L’-shaped room block with a kiva depression on the south side). Over a hundred years later, Linda Honeycutt and Jerry Fetterman of Woods Canyon Archaeological Consultants formally recorded the site complex as part of a survey for a power line right-of-way. They believed the site had been continuously occupied from Basketmaker II through the late Pueblo III periods. They estimated that all of the buildings could have included 300 rooms, 35 additional kivas and towers, and accommodated a population of up to 1,000 people.
Since 1995, Donald Dove, the owner of the Mitchell Springs Ruins Group has directed testing and limited excavations of some of the sites in the complex. He described ten structures dating between the 11th and 13th centuries, fourteen more between the 10th and 11th centuries, and earlier structures. Of particular interest is the great kiva associated with the building referred to as Pueblo A.
Current work at the preserve, funded by the State Historic Fund Grant No. 2006-AS-003, is focusing on assessing the significance of the main site complex within Hawkins Preserve. In 2006 Mona C. Charles led a group of students from Fort Lewis College in surface topographic mapping and geophysical surveys. The site was mapped using Total Station and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) technology. The geophysical surveys involved electric resistivity and magnetometry technology used for detecting subsurface features in the soil. Test excavations of the site were performed to provide information about subsurface features, and were designed to cause as little disturbance as possible to the site. Artifacts from this test excavation and previous collections were analyzed at Crow Canyon Archaeological Center under the direction of Jonathan Till. Due to the recent work conducted at the preserve, it has been determined that the Hawkins Pueblo complex has considerable archaeological research potential, is considered eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places and the Colorado Historic Register because of its potential to provide important information about prehistory.
Dove, Donald E., R. Linda Wheeler Smith, David M. Dove
1997 The Mitchell Springs Ruin Group; Archaeological Investigations, 1990-1994: A Descriptive Summary of a Five Year Testing Program. Archaeological Report No. 1, Glendale Community College. Glendale, Arizona.
Freeman, Ira S. 1958 A History of Montezuma County Colorado. Johnson Publishing Company, Boulder, Colorado.
Morgan, Lewis Henry 1965 Houses and House-life of the American Aborigines. University of Chicago Press. Originally published as Volume IV of Contributions to North American Ethnology. Washington, Government Printing Office.
Prudden, T.M. 1899 Field Notes of Reconnaissance San Juan Watershed.
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