This is the excavated hearth (fire pit) within the pit house. The builders of the pit house dug the hearth deeply into decaying limestone bedrock, and within this hearth archaeologists found a stone bead, a bone awl, and a charred juniper seed.
The hearth was intentionally filled prior to the destruction of the house, with charcoal, ash, and rock packed in around a large piece of wood placed nearly vertically within it. Additional ash and charcoal was mounded over the filled hearth, with several large limestone rocks then placed over the mound, and over this lay a layer of yellowish, clayey fill and small limestone rocks that had apparently been used to cover the floor.
Scientific study of the hearth fill indicates sagebrush and a woody member of the rose family (perhaps cliffrose)were burned in the hearth, as were juniper and pine. A few fragments of bone were also present, likely representing food remains tossed into the fire after a meal, one of which was a mammal—perhaps bison or sheep—roasted over the fire. Prickly pear and yucca may also have been cooked here, as was corn (Zea mays) and perhaps juniper, goosefoot, purslane, ricegrass, and wild licorice, as well as walnuts, acorn, and hazelnut.
Anthropology Laboratories, Northern Arizona University
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