Mystery of the Gallina People

Exclusive Field Trip for the SAR Board and President’s Council

May 6–7, 2011

Rattlesnake RidgeNogales Cliff House
Rattlesnake RidgeNogales Cliff House

The obscure ancient culture known as the Gallina occupied a remote region of northwestern New Mexico around A.D. 1100. The culture suddenly vanished around 1275, as the last of its members either left or were “wiped out.” Many of the Gallina burials show signs of violent death, as if their culture was being systemically extinguished. The mystery is why? Was it cultural genocide, tribal competition brought on by severe drought and limited food supplies, or something entirely different? Scientific research has been sporadic and little is known about these people and their relationships to the larger Ancestral Puebloan communities of Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde.

US Forest Service archaeologist Mike Bremer will be our expert guide on this back road adventure through the beautiful, remote canyon and mesa country of Llaves Valley, northwest of Abiquiu, New Mexico. Bremer has overseen archaeological investigations on the Santa Fe National Forest for over a decade and has focused much of his own academic research on the Gallina region.

Friday, May 6, 2011
12:45pm Depart SAR for Abiquiu
 2:00pm Tour of Georgia O’Keefe Home
 3:45pm Tour of Florence Hawley Ellis Museum at Ghost Ranch to view the Gallina Culture collection with Director Cheryl Muceus and USFS Archaeologist Mike Bremer
 5:15pm Check-in at Abiquiu Inn
 5:45pm Wine and Tapas in the Courtyard
 6:30pm Dinner
Saturday, May 7, 2011
 7:00am Breakfast
 8:00am Depart for Gallinas, a day field trip stopping at Rattlesnake Ridge Ruins, Nogales Cliff House, and other Gallina archaeological sites
12:00pm Picnic Lunch
 6:00pm Dinner at Angelina’s in Española

Our journey will begin at the Florence Hawley Ellis Museum at Ghost Ranch where Museum Director Cheryl Muceus will share the story of the Gallina culture through the artifacts that have been found in this area. We will spend the night at the beautiful and relaxing Abiquiu Inn, on the banks of the Rio Chama. The next morning, a full day of exploration awaits us as we visit several small Gallina settlements, including some that are noted for their stone towers, cliff homes, and terraced gardens with water-control systems. Our stops include Rattlesnake Ridge Ruins, which feature an excavated stone tower built along a high mesa, and the Nogales Cliff House, a 30-room, two-story dwelling situated in an inaccessible alcove formed by sandstone cliffs.

Our field trip will end with a hearty meal at Angelina’s, an Española favorite known for its local foods.

As a special feature of our trip, we have planned a private tour of Georgia O’Keeffe’s home and studio in Abiquiu. The 5,000-square-foot Spanish Colonial-era Abiquiu compound was in ruins in 1945, and for the next four years, O’Keeffe supervised its restoration, which was carried out by her friend, Maria Chabot. O’Keeffe moved from New York to make New Mexico her permanent home in 1949, and lived either at the Abiquiu or Ghost Ranch houses until 1984, when she moved to Santa Fe.

Activity Level: Moderately Strenuous, includes walking into archaeological sites, some with steep grades and uneven surfaces, over distances up to one mile.

Cost (per person): $425 (double occupancy), $500 (single occupancy), includes roundtrip 4WD transportation from SAR, museum entrance fees, overnight accommodation at the Abiquiu Inn and all meals starting with dinner on May 6 and ending with dinner on May 7, and a $150 tax-deductible donation to SAR.

Trip Registration: Please call the SAR Membership Office at (505) 954-7203 to register or to receive additional information about this trip. Trip will be limited to 12 participants, so call early. Payment must be paid in full at time of registration; 60-day cancellation policy is in effect.

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