The Mystery of Burnt Corn Pueblo and Petroglyph Hill

This Trip is Sold Out Guided by Dr. James Snead

Field Trip

Saturday, August 7, 2010, 8:00 am–2:00 pm

View of the Ortiz Mountains from Petroglyph HillView of the Ortiz Mountains from Petroglyph HillOriginally part of a stereoview, photograph courtesy Jason S. Ordaz.View of the Ortiz Mountains from Petroglyph HillOriginally part of a stereoview, photograph courtesy Jason S. Ordaz.

Archaeologist Dr. James Snead will take us on a journey into the Galisteo Basin to explore one of the great archaeological puzzles of the Southwest, the mystery of Burnt Corn Pueblo. The pueblo, which takes its name from the burnt corn that litters the landscape, was inhabited between AD 1200 and 1300 and is composed of eight separate room blocks and a larger plaza pueblo. Its location on a ridge above an ephemeral stream allowed for agriculture and excellent 360-degree views of the surrounding countryside.

Ancestral Pueblo people settled here, but for some reason they did not stay very long, and the entire village burned around the time they left. Was this by accident? Was the pueblo attacked? Or is there another explanation? To answer this 700-year-old mystery, Dr. Snead conducted archaeological fieldwork of Burnt Corn Pueblo over several summers. He will tell us why he thinks that the pueblo was purposefully destroyed and never reoccupied.

Dr. Snead’s team of graduate students has recorded more than 180 sites in this part of the Galisteo Basin, including the nearby Petroglyph Hill. This prominent geologic formation is covered by thousands of rock carvings and may have been a sacred site for those living at Burnt Corn Pueblo.

James Snead grew up in Santa Fe, and his research has focused on the archaeology of the northern Rio Grande valley, including the Pajarito Plateau, Nambe, and the Galisteo Basin. He is currently a professor of anthropology at George Mason University and has written several prominent books, including his most recent Ancestral Landscapes of the Pueblo World (2008).

Activity Level: Strenuous, involves a 2-mile round-trip walk to the pueblo, exploration of the vicinity, and an off-trail scramble up Petroglyph Hill. Participants must be in excellent health and physically active.

Cost: Per person, $70, includes transportation, picnic lunch, and guide honorarium. Please note that access to the pueblo is across private ranch land and permission was granted for our group tour.

Trip Registration: Participation in SAR field trips is one of the benefits of membership. To make registration equitable, we will begin accepting trip reservations Thursday, April 8, 2010, 8am to 5pm, for our Summer 2010 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.

Follow us: