Pueblos Largo and Colorado in the Galisteo Basin

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

Friday, September 6, 2013, 8:00 am–3:30 pm

Pueblo LargoPueblo LargoPhotograph by Jason S. OrdazPueblo LargoPhotograph by Jason S. Ordaz

The Galisteo Basin of northern New Mexico is one of the premier archaeological regions in the Southwest. Home to several large prehistoric and historic villages of Tano and Keres heritage, the basin was also the setting for Nels C. Nelson’s groundbreaking chronological research, which marked a major innovation in American archaeology. This region is less known to the public than the Pajarito Plateau because the land is primarily in private ownership and public access is limited.

Pueblo Colorado is an 800-room, fifteenth-century pueblo with traces of a smaller, adjacent, earlier room block. A Mexican-period homestead was superimposed on the pueblo, including a substantial reservoir. The setting is dramatic, nestled against red and white sandstone cliffs, and a small amount of rock art is present on surrounding sandstone cliffs and boulders.

Pueblo Largo is a 400-room complex of room blocks and plazas on a mesa overlooking a small valley. This site has a complex history, beginning in the thirteenth century and extending into the fifteenth century. There is no rock art at the site, but there is a shrine overlooking the fifteenthcentury portion of the pueblo. The Puebloan occupations of the sites were abandoned prior to the Spanish Entrada, and there is no evidence of significant seventeenth-century use of the locations.

These sites play important roles in the history of archaeology. Nels Nelson excavated rooms at both sites in 1912, and Bertha Dutton conducted excavations at Pueblo Largo with her Girl Scout program, veterans of which are known as “Dutton’s Dirty Diggers.” Dutton was searching for Mesa Verde migrants, and she focused on the earlier component at the site.

Dr. Eric Blinman, Director of the New Mexico Office of Archaeological Studies, will be our leader on this trip into the Galisteo Basin. His research activities have included climate change studies, the cultural affiliations between ancient and modern peoples, archaeomagnetic dating, and reconstructions of social and economic evolution in the Southwest.

Both sites are accessed by ranch roads that are impassable in bad weather, so the tour will be weather dependent.

Activity Level: Moderately strenuous, requires off-trail hiking to two undeveloped archaeological sites for a total walking distance of 3 to 4 miles.

Cost (per person): $80, includes round-trip 4WD 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, 54 KB) by mail—postmarked no later than May 3, 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 May 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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