Ancestral Navajo: Rock Art & Pueblitos de Dinétah

Guided by Larry Baker and Alex Mitchell

Field Trip

Thursday, October 15–Saturday, October 17, 2009

Dinétah FortressDinétah FortressPhotograph by James F. Brooks.Dinétah FortressPhotograph by James F. Brooks.

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 18th 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, Gould Pass, The Wall, 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 Gobernador 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. He will be joined by Hataahli Museum Director/Curator Alex Mitchell, of Diné College, who will interpret the Navajo stories that are pictorialized in the rock art of this area.

Accommodations and Travel: Accommodations will be at the Marriott Courtyard, located along the Animas River in Farmington. We will travel in 4WD vehicles departing from SAR at 1:30pm on Thursday, October 15th and returning around 6:30pm on Saturday, October 17th.

Activity Level: Moderately Strenuous,, physically active trip, with off-trail hiking over uneven ground, and distances up to 1.5 miles roundtrip.
Please call the Membership Office at (505) 954-7203 if you are uncertain about your physical ability to participate.

Cost: $495 per person, double occupancy ($117 single supplement), includes transportation from SAR, 2 nights lodging, all meals, lecture and guide honorariums.

Trip Registration: Participation in SAR field trips is one of the benefits of membership. To make registration equitable, we will begin accepting trip reservations Wednesday, July 8, 2009, 8am to 5pm, for our Fall 2009 field trips. Beginning on that day, please call the SAR Membership Office at (505) 954-7203 to register or to receive additional information about any of these trips. Group size is limited. Reserve your space early.

For more information, visit the Field Trips section.

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