Traces of Existence: Evidence of Prehistoric Populations in the Cibola National Forest of New Mexico
AuthorGregory, Teresa L.
New Mexico Archaeology
Southwest prehistoric pottery
AdvisorLukinbeal, Christopher, PhD, GISP
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractIs there more we can learn about the movement of prehistoric Puebloan people during the A.D. 900–1400 time period? In those moments of time when small groups of people dispersed across the landscape and formed aggregated communities. Some of the answers lie in the generally understudied landscape of the federally protected Cibola National Forest in west-central New Mexico. This area is on the eastern periphery of a well-documented Zuni region, and preliminary archaeological site data revealed the potential to further that knowledge. During a 10-day pedestrian survey, 42 archaeological sites containing a variety of traditional Zuni and local Lion Mountain pottery types were recorded. The presence of these Puebloan peoples was confirmed through analysis of the ceramics using the accepted Stanley South Mean Ceramic Dating techniques. Patterns of site locations dating from the Pueblo II to Pueblo IV time period were evaluated using ESRI ArcGIS mapping software. Specific data analysis including nearest neighbor, euclidean distance, and least cost analysis were used to relate the archaeological sites to each other and to the Pueblo communities in the southwest. This recently discovered settlement area near Lion Mountain revealed remnants of past Zuni populations and is further evidence of the expansion of these prehistoric peoples. The pottery shreds discovered at those sites, along with the architecture and specific kiva types, links the distinctive aggregated Zuni and Lion Mountain Communities together and allows for further investigations to explore settlement organization, exchange networks, and a facet of other archaeological questions.