Ancestral Navajo: Rock Art and Pueblitos de Dinétah

Trip Leader: Larry Baker

Field Trip

Thursday, May 1–Saturday, May 3, 2014

Ancestral NavajoAncestral NavajoCourtesy of Larry BakerAncestral NavajoCourtesy of Larry Baker

The remote landscape of northwestern New Mexico is known as Dinétah by the Navajo people. Scattered in this ancestral Navajo homeland are small defensive sites— pueblitos— that the Navajos constructed in the eighteenth century to protect themselves from slaving raids by neighboring Utes. Over 217 stone pueblito sites were erected in this area, which includes Largo, Crow, and Gobernador Canyons, tributaries to the San Juan River. These impressive stone dwellings are built in defensive positions on isolated boulders, bedrock promontories, and mesa edges, giving unobstructed views of the surrounding countryside and line-of-sight connection with other pueblitos.

During our two full days of exploration, we will visit a number of these pueblitos, including Pork Chop Pass, Hooded Fireplace, Tapacito, Split Rock, Gould Pass and the Citadel. We will also have ample opportunity to view fabulous rock art panels with the ceremonial imagery of the Diné. These exquisite pictographs and petroglyphs depict corn; holy people, or Yeis; emergence symbolism; horned figures known as Gháá’ask’idii; and mounted soldiers representing the Spanish members of expeditions into the Governador in 1705 and 1709.

Larry Baker, Executive Director of the San Juan County Archaeological Research Center and Library at Salmon Ruins, will be our trip guide into this austere and culturally rich landscape. Larry Baker’s research focuses on prehistoric and historic architecture, archaeoastronomy, and the Ancestral Puebloan periods of northwestern New Mexico.

Accommodations and Travel: Accommodations will be at the Casa Blanca Bed and Breakfast in Farmington, NM. We will travel in 4WD vehicles departing from SAR at 1:00pm on Thursday, May 1st, and returning around 6:30pm on Saturday, May 3rd.

Activity Level: Moderately Strenuous, this will be a physically active trip, with off-trail hiking over uneven ground, with distances up to 1.5 miles roundtrip.

Cost (per person): $550 double occupancy and $700 single occupancy, trip cost includes transportation from SAR, 2 nights lodging, all meals, lectures and guide honorariums.

Trip Registration: To ensure that field trip registration is equitable, SAR will be using a lottery system. Please send your field trip requests (PDF, 484 KB) by mail—postmarked no later than November 29, 2013. Do not send any trip payment with your lottery registration. A drawing will then be held for each trip, and members will be notified of the results by December 9, 2013. Please note that memberships at or above the Galisteo level receive advance registration prior to lottery.

For more information, visit the Field Trips section.

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