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Wallace Great House

Wallace Ruin (5MT6970) has been identified as a Chaco Great House outlier from the mid 11th through the mid-12th centuries, and it was part of a larger community including three other Great Houses (Haney Ruin East, Haney Ruin West and Ida Jean Ruin) collectively known as the Lakeview Group. Wallace Ruin consists of the Great House and its associated midden but also incorporated at least one 11th century unit pueblo (Greenstone) and a possible reservoir.

I started researching Wallace (named after the original owners Walt and Wilda Wallace) in 1969 and we bought the property in 1987. The site was listed on the Colorado State Register of Historic Properties on March 12, 2002 and in the National Register of Historic Places on 24 March 2005.    Work at the site has continued off and on for 50 years this summer (2019).  Approximately 40% of the Great House has been or is being excavated (structures with black numbers) and several interim reports and publications are available (click on buttons).

All excavations have been done with volunteers and a number of academic projects,MA theses and PhD dissertations have used information from the work.

Research was renewed in earnest in 2018, with an updated site mapping in co-operation with the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center.  As of January 2022, Rooms 33, 59, 62, 65a, Structures 67 (staricase), 68 and 66 (Segment 1 of a possible pithouse under the floor of Room 65), Kiva 56, and the area outside Room 17 have been completed.  Work has paused in Room 55 because of dangerous adjacent walls, which will be removed or stabilized before excavations continue.  Excavations are on-going in the plaza area,  Kiva 32 (west elevated kiva), Room 53, Room 69 (below Room 62 south of an early wall) and the corner spaces around Kiva 32.


Click these buttons to access available reports and publications



Cynthia Bradley finished her PhD, Remaking the Mazeway: Skeletal and archaeological evidence for a variant Ancestral Pueblo mortuary rite at Wallace Ruin at the University of Exeter in 2017 and it is available.  If you would like a copy email her: cynthiabradley839 at

In contrast to the ubiquitous Ancestral Pueblo practice of residential burial, at least 32 deceased were transported 10 kilometers or more for deposition within the Wallace Ruin great house. This Chacoan outlier, situated near Mesa Verde, Colorado was a ritual-economic center c. AD 1060-1150. Upon the collapse of the Chacoan system, habitation of this building, three great houses nearby, and all domiciles within several kilometers ceased. Between c. AD 1180 and 1220 a minimum of six rooms were used as a Pueblo III mortuary facility for a series of primary burial deposits. The interrogation of this anomaly involved a bioarchaeological approach that included spatial and statistical analyses of mortuary location choices. The diachronic analysis of c. AD 1050-1300 data from roughly 100 San Juan Region sites and about 1200 primary burial deposits revealed several ways in which post-AD 1180 mortuary decisions involving Wallace Ruin departed from longstanding communities of practice. The evidence supports the proposition that the Pueblo III use of this former Chacoan great house for mortuary and ritual purposes entails a local reformulation of ancestor veneration protocols established by Pueblo Bonito house societies during Pueblo II times.

There are detailed discussions of many of the rooms that were excavated in the west wing

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