Dr. John Kantner, University of North Florida

Lobo Mesa Archaeological Project

Community Analysis

Excavations at household in Blue J community

An intensive field investigation of a single Chaco-era community has dominated much of the past several years of LMAP research. With five years of funding from the National Science Foundation, extensive archaeological survey and excavation are allowing the LMAP project to reconstruct the evolution of this community, known as "Blue J" after the bluish limestone used to construct a building that was originally thought to be a Chacoan great house. The research so far has uncovered a large and wealthy village that at its height consisted of almost 50 households. Turquoise, marine shell, jet, azurite, malachite, and other exotic materials attest to the success of Blue J's inhabitants. Oddly, however, what was originally thought to be a great house turned out to be a normal residential structure, making Blue J the only community for miles around without Chacoan architectural influence.

A recent assessment of the horticultural potential of the Blue J landscape was completed by Georgia State University graduate student Erin Hudson. Combining both geomorphological, geochemical, and Geographic Information System analyses, this work suggested that Blue J was in a favorable setting for successful farming. A major spring in the center of the community also must have played an important role in Blue J's apparent success. The contrast of the wealth of Blue J compared with its lack of obvious Chacoan influence is providing insight into the process by which Puebloan communities participated in or resisted Chaco Canyon.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0715996. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.