Category Archives: Other Peoples

The People of the Gila Watershed

Worth a read. Chaco is outside of this region but must have had contact with its people. 

Life of the Gila – Archaeology Southwest

In this new series of essays at the Preservation Archaeology blog, we will highlight the deep history of the Gila River Watershed, focusing on how archaeology and knowledge shared by Tribal citizens come together to tell a story of continuity and change that began millennia ago and continues to the present. Each Friday through the end of March, we will post a new essay in this series. Next up: Jeff Clark on identities, worlds, and ideologies.

Map of Archaeological Cultures of the Southwestern US

I’m linking to this capture the map by Catherine Gilman of these pre-Hispanic cultural areas. I have not heard of Patayan or Trincheras cultures.

Aaron Wright, Preservation Archaeologist

[Aaron Wright is] also in the midst of applying for a series of grants to continue our research along the lower Gila River. These efforts are designed to expand our knowledge of the Patayan tradition, at least how it was expressed in southwest Arizona. Patayan is the least understood late prehispanic cultural tradition in the U.S. Southwest. Some may even claim that Patayan isn’t even a Southwestern archaeological tradition: don’t believe them! Granted, Patayan isn’t covered in our college courses on Southwest archaeology, but this is because little research has even been done on this aspect of the past.

Map of Southwest Archaeological Cultures

Archaeological cultures of the Southwest. Map by Catherine Gilman. Courtesy of Desert Archaeology, Inc.

Along the lower Gila, Patayan is expressed in fabulous geoglyphs and extremely dense galleries of rock art adorning black volcanic cliffs and weathered granitic boulders. It is also found among the dozens of villages sites strategically placed to harness floodwater from the lower Gila in order to irrigate crops of corn, melons, gourds, and cotton. Yes, I’m talking about sedentary agricultural villages. Are we to believe that the rock art and geoglyphs were crafted by phantoms? The lower Gila contains some of the best-preserved, and most of the only extant Patayan villages. This is because damming and extensive agriculture have obliterated much of the Patayan signature from the valleys of the lower Colorado River, the epicenter of the Patayan World.

BLM acquires ancient pueblo site south of Santa Fe | Albuquerque Journal

By Mark Oswald / Journal Staff Writer
Friday, April 15th, 2016 at 6:38pm


SANTA FE – The federal Bureau of Land Management is purchasing the 365-acre site of an ancient pueblo in the Galisteo Basin south of Santa Fe.

The BLM will use $1.5 million from Land and Water Conservation Fund to buy the Burnt Corn Pueblo site, located east of the village of Galisteo and near the well-known Petroglyph Hill, a mesa topped with thousands of pieces of rock art that is owned by Santa Fe County.

“With this purchase, the entire Burnt Corn Pueblo will be protected for future generations,” said a news release from the members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation. U.S. Sen. Tom Udall said the purchase will open up new land for visitors interested in the Galisteo Basin’s numerous Native American and Spanish ruins, but no details on plans for public access were available Friday.

Petroglyph Hill was acquired by the county from the huge Thornton Ranch several years ago. Information on the seller of the Burnt Corn Pueblo area was not available.

U.S. Rep Ben Ray Luján said the new acquisition also will help with creation of “a long distance regional trail network” in the area. The news release said Land and Water Conservation money “will be used to promote preservation and open up access to more than 2,000 acres” in the Galisteo Basin.

The pueblo site on a ridge gets its name from burnt corn found across its landscape. Experts say it was occupied briefly between 1200 and 1300 and had eight room blocks and a larger plaza pueblo, and it burned — presumably with corn drying on drying on roofs — about the time its occupants left, raising questions about whether the village caught fire or was attacked. The high pueblo site is described as providing spectacular views of the surrounding basin.

Arroyo Hondo Pueblo Project

Arroyo Hondo Pueblo Project examines several attempts at establishing communities at site over the centuries

By Jackie Jadrnak / Journal North Reporter
Friday, February 5th, 2016 at 12:05am

From a settlement of about 100 rooms begun around the year 1300, the Arroyo Hondo Pueblo turned into a boom town of some 1,000 rooms and 10 plazas by 1330. But then, by 1345, it was abandoned.

People returned around 1370, building a more modest settlement of about 250 rooms on the remains of the earlier town, Schwartz said, but then disappeared again around 1425.

The boom and bust was not unusual for area settlements then….

Unlike many pueblo ruins found in the Santa Fe area, those at Arroyo Hondo haven’t been claimed as ancestral dwellings of any of the current Pueblo peoples, Schwartz said.

Learn more
Go to the new website for a treasure trove of information about the Arroyo Hondo Pueblo near Santa Fe, its excavation work and scientific findings.

Rock of ages: Up to 70,000 petroglyphs may exist along Mesa Prieta | Albuquerque Journal News

Slides at the link.

Rock of ages: Up to 70,000 petroglyphs may exist along Mesa Prieta | Albuquerque Journal News By Jackie Jadrnak / Journal North Reporter PUBLISHED: Friday, November 21, 2014 at 12:05 am

Along the entire Mesa Prieta, which stretches to the confluence of the Rio Grande and Rio Chama, and the first Spanish settlement of San Gabriel, some 70,000 petroglyphs are estimated to exist. They include abstract images, except for human handprints and animal footprints, from the Archaic Period (2,000 to 5,000 years ago), a host of human, animal, cosmic and geometric forms from the Puebloan Period (beginning in 1200 A.D.), and even more from the Historic Period, which begins with the Spanish arrival in 1598 around Ohkay Owingeh.

Rock of ages: Up to 70,000 petroglyphs may exist along Mesa Prieta | Albuquerque Journal News

The slack-jawed bird-gawker in Belize …

… stalking the Tawdry Motmot and Malodorous Blackbird

We made our first trip to Belize recently, staying there 9 nights. For five nights, we were in a jungle eco-lodge near the Guatemalan border. Three nights were spent in a luxurious condo on the beach. We traveled with two friends from Merri’s college days (Susan and Paul).

The jungle was my favorite location. DuPlooy’s was established years ago by Ken and Judy duPlooy. In many respects, they turned savannah into a jungle. The lodge ranges along a boardwalk from a veranda overlooking the Macal River at one end to our Casita at the other end, a sizeable two-story house with a large bedroom and bath on each floor. We had the upstairs which also had a wide, deep balcony porch wrapping around two sides facing the jungle. It felt very much like a posh treehouse, especially from the hammocks.

.down time is an upper

We’re mediocre birders. We know a lot more than people who don’t care about birds, but among people who do, we’re rather ignorant. Even equipped with a book, binocs, camera, and Internet access, we struggled to identify most of the birds we saw and we know we missed countless others. I think of myself as a bird gawker, rather than a twitcher (Brit slang for birders). But, we enjoy ourselves immensely and this was a great location for birds, bugs, and plants.


It’s remarkable that I could go this long without mentioning the rain. It rained every day and at different times of day for different durations. The Belizeans frequently apologized for this but we always replied that for desert-dwellers rain makes a vacation more special. In fact, when the rain did pause, the humidity was overpowering. Let it rain and protect us from this cruel sun.

The jungle, the lodge, the rain, the birds were all fascinating but I also greatly enjoyed the Belizeans we met. When we travelled in Guatemala, my ignorance of Spanish was an embarrassing barrier that kept me from really connecting with people there. In Belize, English is the official language. Moreover, everyone we met speaks at least English, Spanish, and creole. Many also speak one of several Mayan dialects. Belizeans are a polyglot and gracious people. We were well taken care of.

Phillip of DuPlooy’s picked up Susan and Paul a few hours before we arrived and drove them an hour to the zoo. Some of the best photos any of us took were theirs at the zoo. Paul escaped a toucan with fingers intact. They saw a harpy eagle, one of the birds I wanted to see. (I hear Panama is the place to see harpies.) Then, they all drove back to the airport for our arrival. It was thrilling to wall down an old-fashioned rolling stairway to the tarmac (just as I did in Africa 40 years ago and in Albuquerque almost 30 years ago) to be greeted by friendly calls and hoots from the observation area.

Phillip drove us across country in two hours. Before night fell, he pointed out the Sleeping Giant, high ground in Belize that is actually a former reef pushed up. Driving through rain, we passed a few small towns which always had at least on open-aired room with a big screen TV and a crowd of people watching.

We left pavement and drove up a steep, narrow, winding dirt road arriving at the DuPlooy’s office. There Mason greeted us and checked us in. In a light rain, he led us along the boardwalk past half a dozen cottages with screened-in porches to our casita. Then we walked back past the other dwellings — all of which were unoccupied — to the dining room, beyond which were the open-aired bar, bird feeding station and a few tables under a roof. We spent time every day in each of these areas, watching birds, eating, drinking Belikin stout and talking to employees as well as just a few other guests. Most of that time, we were well-attended to by Albert. That first dinner was the best coconut shrimp we’ve ever eaten.

The first morning, I awoke to a strange, deep drumming. One end of our upstairs porch looked toward an large dead tree that served as a bird magnet. The drummer was a woodpecker, nearly as large as a pileated woodpecker. Over the next few days, we would see other woodpeckers there, as well as toucans and parrots. Up the hill on a tower, we frequently saw bat falcons.

DuPlooy’s includes half-day and full day activities in their package, but that first day we didn’t want to get in a car again, so we hiked the trail along the river. That afternoon, we tubed from Judy’s house back down to the beach, which was completely submerged by the rising Macal River. In fact, it kept rising all week, though the lodge is well uphill and unthreatened.

Adjacent to the lodge, the duPlooys also built a botanic garden full of domestic and exotic plants, which, in turn draw more birds and insects. We walked through the garden several times. My favorite hours may have been those I spent alone wandering the grounds while the others drove to butterfly farm and a cave tubing trip that had to be cancelled due to high water. During my hike, I climbed the tower built to honor Ken DuPlooy. From this high vantage I looked out over dense green canopy and observed three flocks of plain chachalacas (a drab pheasant-like bird I want to call Boom-chack-a-lakas — Wanna take you higher!). Each group crow at once, then each group in sequence, first one group, then another across the valley, then a third, and around again the same way, each cacophonous chorus in turn. I also repeated the river trail and stumbled over the rugged trail Phillip had cut by machete, making me appreciate just how dangerous the jungle could be.

Next morning, we rode horses with Eryn up to a great vista of the jungle and the Macal. After lunch, we left for an overnight trip to Tikal in Guatemala. I’d been there a few years ago, but Merri missed it because she was sick on that earlier trip. Tikal is stunning and spectacular. As with Chaco in New Mexico, what we see is nothing like what it appeared in its heyday but is no less grand. We made a brief excursion to the Gran Plaza where we saw a fox, the indigenous colorful ocellated turkeys and only a few people.

ocellated turkey in Tikal

At the Tikal Jungle Lodge, we practiced restaurant Spanish under the tutelage of a delightful and delighted waitress. Next day at breakfast, we showed how little we’d learned — except for Merri, by far the most comfortable in her efforts. Then our guide Walter led us for hours through rain, mud, humidity and history. And howler monkeys. Walter does an amazing howler monkey call, as well as being an over-educated former lawyer. On our way out from Tikal, we were stunned to encounter our guide from 3 years ago, Miguel. After lunch, we left the Tikal Lodge and rewound our way back across the border to DuPlooy’s for a last night.

Next day, we left the jungle. Noel of DuPlooy’s drove us across country a couple of hours to Belize City and the port. En route, he stopped to point out iguanas (they mate for life, but the male has to keep up his good looks or the female may choose another), black thick-billed anis, lesser yellow-headed vultures, Mayan ruins, and so much more, all the while regaling us with great nuggets of info about what we were seeing. He was the only person I met there who address the women as ‘milady,’ but he made it seem a charming eccentricity.

It was quite a shock to leave the laid-back largely empty jungle lodge for the big city and all it entails. Stout eased my transition. We took a ferry to the tourist town of San Pedro on Ambergris Caye (pronounced key), known to some as Little America. Though San Pedro has no high-rises, it feels like a resort town. We checked into our condo then walked a few short blocks to El Fagon. During a pounding rainstorm that caused us to move from one table to the next and back, we enjoyed our meal. Next we walked to a small market for groceries, including local coffee and cashew wine (awful). I also bought a pair of flip-flops to replace the sneakers I had to abandon because they smell so bad after tubing the Macal and never drying out.

Much of our time in San Pedro was spent strolling a few short blocks or the beach. We wandered between shops, visiting a frozen custard shop three times before we found it open. We bought chocolate several times. I bought a nice short-sleeved shirt. We ate at several nice restaurants. Susan and Paul borrowed bikes for a long ride north while Mer and I walked a long way south with minimal birding.


We also took a glassbottom boat out to the reef that is a national park. Our guide led us snorkeling in a few places. The fish, the grass, the coral of every type were all beautiful. It was the sea turtles that almost made Merri cry. One moment of excitement came when the guide pointed out a moray eel. As Paul swam toward it the eel swam even faster toward Paul and the guide swam faster still to pull Paul back and repel the eel with a flipper. Our was also able to dive down and through a short coral cave.

For all the fun we had outside in San Pedro, we also spent time recuperating from the heat in the AC. And, of course, it rained here, too, although never enough to spoil an hour.

Our condos were a walkable block from the airport where where took a small plane to the mainland airport. Mer got to ride in the co-pilot’s seat. From the air, the keys look less like islands than like lagoons with small areas above water. Global warming may finish submerging this area in our lifetimes.

It is fitting that after all this, we encountered the heaviest rain of entire trip as we made our way to the plane. Recall, there aren’t any enclosed gangways. We lined up for umbrellas and the moment I stepped out from under a roof, I was ankle deep in water, glad I had my flip-flops. I laughed out loud, it was such fun. Up the rolling stairway to hand over an umbrella and return to the 21st century. They had to stop boarding the plane to keep water more water from entering the front and to return the stack of umbrellas for the next group of passengers.

She brought that smile home with her.

Now we are back a mile above sea level in a desert that once was underwater. Our miserly rain is bone-chillingly cold. Blue has replaced green and I can see a hundred miles again and, much closer, the mile-high Sandias that provide a backdrop for everything we do. It’s good to get out now and then. It’s good to come home.

Photos and videos

Three Rivers Petroglyph Site, New Mexico

Posted 20 photos from Three Rivers Petroglyph Park, south of Carrizozo, New Mexico. A short hike takes you past hundreds of glyphs, surrounded by magnificent scenery.


This site is managed by the BLM. Entrance fee was $3. There is a small, bleak RV campground on site. A dozen miles east toward the White Mountains takes you to a nice Forest Service campground and a trail into the White Mountains Wilderness Area.

For some history and other pix, see

History of the Sinagua written in the red rocks of ruins

History of the Sinagua written in the red rocks of ruins 

Oct. 24, 2008 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

Palatki Red Cliffs Heritage Site is a nice place to explore when the sun is out and the weather is nice. It might be even better on a stormy day.

"It’s really beautiful when it rains here," Coconino National Forest ranger Terrilynn Green said. Waterfalls spill over the cliffs, but the ruin, sheltered by an overhang, remains dry.

Because of this, Palatki (a Hopi word meaning "red house") is fairly well-preserved, although it never has been rebuilt and the site hasn’t been excavated, Green said. …

The hike to the ruin is about a quarter-mile. Some might find it challenging, but anyone in good physical condition should have no trouble.

To the left of the visitor center, another trail, also about a quarter-mile and with a gentle grade, leads to an overhang containing rock art and the remains of an old homestead.

About 2.5 miles down the road from Palatki is another ruin, Honanki. The site is watched over by Pink Jeep Tours Co., which signs in visitors and take clients to the ruin, pointing to various symbols on the rock.

Honanki has more walls standing than Palatki does, and it may have been one of the largest Sinagua population centers in the Verde Valley. Archaeologists believe it was one of the places the Sinagua went after they left Palatki.

There were more than 60 rooms on the ground floor, perhaps as many as 72 when additional stories are taken into account. The site was abandoned around 1300.

Some of the rock art is obvious; some of it is visible only in the right light. Archaeologists say they find something new every time they look at the site.

History of the Sinagua written in the red rocks of ruins

Coconino National Forest – Palatki Ruins

Tuzigoot – Ancient Sinagua Ruins in Arizona

Read Adventurous Wench’s brief account of Tuzigoot, in Arizona south of Flagstaff and not far from Montezuma’s Well and Castle — worth a visit.

Not far from Sedona, Arizona, lie the ruins of Tuzigoot, an ancient Sinagua town that was abandoned centuries ago.

Tuzigoot – Ancient Sinagua Ruins in Arizona

AW also has some cool Mayan photos:
Flickr: Adventurous Wench’s Photostream

[updated 10/28/08]
This marsh and park are in sight of Tuzigoot but miles away by road.

Arizona Hiking: TAVASCI MARSH

TAVASCI MARSH Dead Horse Ranch State Park Situated in the backwaters of the upper Verde River, Tavasci Marsh is a bird watcher’s paradise.

ABQjournal NM: Fight Over Mountain Emotional

peace, mjh

ABQjournal NM: Fight Over Mountain Emotional
By Leslie Linthicum
Copyright © 2008 Albuquerque Journal; Journal Staff Writer

Mount Taylor and its mesas rise from the desert, and its peak— often capped with snow— reaches 11,301 feet. The mountain can be seen from Albuquerque, 80 miles away, and beckons hikers, hunters, piñon gatherers, and skiers and bikers for an annual quadrathlon.
    Members of Acoma Pueblo call the mountain Kawesktima, "a place of snow." To the Navajo it is Tsoodzil, or "turquoise mountain." The Zunis call it Dewankwi Kyabachu Yalanne or "in the east snow-capped mountain."
    Members of those tribes, along with the Hopis and Lagunas, made the application for a traditional cultural property distinction for the mountain.
    The tribes hold the mountain sacred, and it plays a part in their traditional lives. It is a place where their deities live; where shrines are visited; where feathers, plants and soils are collected for religious uses; and where pilgrimages are made for prayers.
    Members of the tribes said they asked for the state designation after they saw a flurry of uranium exploration permits for the mountain and after some exploration activities disturbed religious shrines and ancestral graves.

ABQjournal NM: Fight Over Mountain Emotional

Besh-Ba-Gowah Archaeological Park, Globe, AZ

In the presence of the past at Besh-Ba-Gowah, by John Stanley, The Arizona Republic

A thriving community

In its heyday, from about 1225 to 1400, the village of Besh-Ba-Gowah was home to 350 people – hunters, gatherers and remarkably sophisticated farmers who grew corn, squash, beans and cotton and other crops, irrigating when possible and dry farming when not. They understood flood-plain farming techniques.

Archaeological evidence suggests the site was occupied from about A.D. 750, perhaps even earlier, as the thriving Hohokam culture established villages across the region. Over time, the residents of Besh-Ba-Gowah were influenced by the Ancestral Puebloans to the north and developed their own distinctive culture. (Ancestral Puebloans were formerly known as the Anasazi, a term now considered inexact and – to the modern descendants of the Puebloan tribes – offensive.)

Generation upon generation of Salado people lived here, more or less in peace with their neighbors, tending their crops and making ever more sophisticated pottery, including the intricate geometric designs of Gila polychrome.

Besh-Ba-Gowah was part of a loose-knit trade network that reached from tropical Mexico to the Pacific Coast and the Gulf of Mexico.

All that changed in the 14th century, when widespread drought brought increasing competition for food and water, spurring widespread social upheaval, war and large-scale migrations.

By 1400, Besh-Ba-Gowah was effectively a ghost town. …

Besh-Ba-Gowah Archaeological Park
Where: 1324 Jesse Hayes Road, Globe, AZ

Cave Creek Museum, Phoenix, Arizona

Worth the Trip: Cave Creek Museum exhibits area’s past |

Marija Potkonjak, Tribune

The Cave Creek Museum may be small, but it packs an afternoon.

“If people really get into it, they could be here two hours,” says Evenly Johnson, the museum’s executive director.

Hidden away on Skyline Drive in view of Black Mountain, the
volunteer-run, member-supported museum will open Oct. 3 for the fall
and winter season.

“This museum almost draws you back in time,” says Johnson.

The collection is split into two galleries covering the history of the people who have lived in the Cave Creek area.

A tour of the museum starts with the archaeology wing, which features
pots recovered from local digs such as the Livingston and Ocotillo

“This area is very rich in archaeology,” says Johnson. “If you know
what you are looking for, you will see it out in the desert.”

An entire wall is dedicated to the Hohokam, Anasazi and Mogollon
peoples. Their lives are dissected in a way that’s easy for children to
understand. The newly refurbished exhibit also features a replica of a
Hohokam house and an activity center where children and adults can
learn to grind corn for flour. …

Cave Creek Museum

6140 E. Skyline Drive. $3 adults, $2 seniors and students. Open 1 p.m.
to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, but opens at 10 a.m. Fridays. (480) 488-2764.