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 20% of the Great House has been excavated (structures with black numbers) and several interim reports and publications are available.

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 has been renewed in earnest in 2018, with an updated site mapping in co-operation with the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, continued work in Room 33, initiation of a test unit outside Room 17, excavations in Structures 59 and 62, Room 55 and Kiva 56.

Click these buttons to access available reports and publications



Cynthia Bradley finished her PhD at the University of Exeter in 2017 and it is available on-line:

Remaking the Mazeway: Skeletal and archaeological evidence for a variant Ancestral Pueblo mortuary rite at Wallace Ruin 

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


Overview of east side of town with glory hole in the background

wallacruin at gmail.com

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