Kin Sabe

Site Description:

A small great house once located on the south side of Chaco Wash about 450 feet (137 m.) upstream from Pueblo del Arroyo and 770 feet (235 m.) southeast of Pueblo Bonito. The site was first noted by William H. Jackson during his survey of the canyon in 1877.  At that time, Jackson noted that the Chaco Wash was starting to cut away one corner of the great house, “exposing well-laid walls extending down 5 or 6 feet below the general level of the valley.”

Photographs taken during the Hyde Exploring Expedition of the late 1890s show that the ruin continued to be destroyed as floodwaters eroded the south edge of Chaco Wash. However, enough of the great house was still intact in 1916 that Nels Nelson could draw a partial outline of the site plan.  Photographs taken during Judd’s fieldwork in the 1920s show some of the rooms along the eastern side of the pueblo had already collapsed into the wash. By 1931 it appears that only a single row of rooms of the western edge of the great house remained; two of these rooms were trenched by Postlethwaite.  Further excavations were conducted in 1941 by Charles Harding and Alden Hayes to save the remaining rock for the National Park Service and gather any remaining cultural material for the University of New Mexico.  At the time of the latter excavation only one wall stub remained visible in the bank of the wash.  Sometime over the next few decades, all remains of the great house were completely removed by the wash.

Nelson’s site plan shows a footprint similar to Casa Chiquita, with at least three rows of six rooms surrounding a kiva on the remaining eastern side.  Given the western side of the ruin had already begun to erode, another 1-3 rows of rooms might have existed on the western side of the kiva.  Instead of rows of six rooms, Postlethwaite’s (1931) found the remaining row had eight rooms.  It is thus possible that Kin Sabe was very similar to Casa Chiquita in size.

Alternative site numbers are  29SJ823, LA 40823, and Bc 263.

Excavation History

  • 1931: Excavated by W. W. Postlethwaite
  • 1941: Excavated by Alden C. Hayes, Charles Harding and the University of New Mexico/School of American Research field schools

Size and Dates

  • At least 18 and possibly as many as 35-50 rooms and a single kiva.
  • Most likely constructed in the late 11th century or early 12th century.