AZTEC, N.M. — A national nonprofit that focuses on the preservation of archaeological sites is ensuring that property in northwestern New Mexico is believed to be part of the system that once linked Chaco Canyon’s ancient civilization remains intact.
The site, located above Aztec Ruins National Monument, was donated to the Archaeological Conservancy by Charley and Kim Dein and has been named the Dein Ruin, the Farmington Daily Times reported .
The property transfer was completed Tuesday.
The site includes a stone structure, a pair of kivas and roads. The square, block-style great house contained 30 to 40 rooms and may have been two stories high. Archaeological Conservancy Southwest Regional Director Jim Walker said Chacoan elite likely lived inside the great house.
A press release from the Archaeological Conservancy stated the Dein Ruin contains some of the “deepest, most culturally rich material” identified by a 1980s Aztec Reconnaissance Project survey.
While the great house and kivas have been identified, Walker said there also could be other structures and features that have not yet been documented. However, the Archaeological Conservancy will not excavate or look for additional features.
Walker said the site will be preserved, but researchers can work with the conservancy to research the site.
The Archaeological Conservancy has more than 500 preserves in 43 states throughout the United States, including 40 in New Mexico. Among those sites is the Holmes Group, located on a terrace above the La Plata River in San Juan County. The Holmes Group once had two great houses, two great kivas and two cobble masonry structures.
The conservancy also owns two other sites in the county — one near Flora Vista and the other north of Chaco Culture National Historical Park.
The Archaeological Conservancy in the past has donated preserves to be incorporated into National Park Service properties, including into Chaco Culture National Historical Park.
Walker said there are no plans to donate the Dein Ruin to Aztec Ruins National Monument.