Classic Period Pueblos of San Juan Mesa

Trip Leaders: Michael Bremer and Chris Toya

Field Trip, (this trip is full and closed to new registration)

Friday, April 18, 2014, 8:00 am–5:00 pm

From the 14th century into the early historic period the ancestors of the modern Pueblo of Jemez lived and farmed the mesas above the Rio Jemez. Living in large pueblos acting as community centers with extensive networks of field houses and agriculture fields the population thrived in an environment that looked very different from the ponderosa pine forest we see today.

The trip will focus on the ancestral village of Sayshukwa translated to mean Eagle Dwelling Place. Sayshukwa sits on top of San Juan Mesa overlooking San Juan Canyon to the east and surrounded by numerous field houses. It consists of around 800 ground floor rooms and stood up to three stories tall. Standing walls in the south end of the pueblo attest to the durability of the architecture and the craftsmanship of the builders. Occupied sometime between A.D. 1450 and 1650, the site was home to more than 500 people who lived and worked the lands surrounding it.

On the way to the pueblo we’ll visit a sister ancestral pueblo, Kiatsukwa with two different architectural units possibly representing different moieties or ethnic groups. We will also stop at field houses and other sites in the area to give participants a feel for what it felt like to live and work on the mesa during the 15th and 16th centuries.

Dr. Harry Mera of the Laboratory of Anthropology in Santa Fe originally recorded the sites in the 1930s. Tree-ring samples were taken at the same time confirming the late Classic and early Historic Period dating of the sites with a date of A.D. 1597 for Sayshukwa and A.D. 1616 for Kiatsukwa.

J. Michael Bremer, Forest Archaeologist with the Santa Fe National Forest and Chris Toya, archaeologist and Traditional Cultural Property coordinator with the Pueblo of Jemez will lead the trip.

Activity Level: Moderately Strenuous, with hiking distances up to two miles round trip.

Cost (per person): $80 includes transportation from SAR, picnic lunch, and guide honorarium.

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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