PUEBLOAN STRUCTURAL FEATURES AROUND PUEBLOS
NATURAL FEATURES, PUEBLOAN FEATURES, AND HISPANIC SHEPHERDING FEATURES AROUND PUEBLOS
Natural outcrops or unmodified natural alignments are routinely found around the villages. Mobile groups often used these
locations that were "almost perfect," thereby reducing the amount of effort needed to make a shelter. In fact, they sought such
locations, among the boulders, in cobbly areas, precisely because there was building material readily at hand.
There are several ways these natural occurrences can be distinguished from culturally prepared or culturally modified features.
For one, the locations must show actual evidence of cultural modification. This may appear as the addition of stone to a space
between extant boulders, or rocks may be stacked, piled, or pushed together. Or rocks may be aligned. Sometimes they show
differences in weathering after being turned up on end or moved. Sometimes these features have artifacts associated which
makes their identification more definite. Keep in mind, however, that oftentimes these structural features have no artifacts
directly associated, as is discussed in another venue. At other times mobile group features will have Puebloan artifacts
associated (see below).
The images below show naturally occurring arrangements that are suitable for mobile group use but were not modified or
used. These I sometimes refer to as "structure blanks," because they are perfect templates but were never used.
THE MATERIAL ON THIS PAGE IS COPYRIGHTED AND SHOULD BE APPROPRIATELY CITED (C) 2007-2008, Deni Seymour
GALISTEO BASIN PAGE
PORTION OF RECTILINEAR WALL NEAR SAN LAZARO
RUBBLE DOWN SLOPE, NEAR SAN MARCOS
NEAR SAN MARCOS
COURSED LAYERS OF ROCKS
RECTILINEAR ARANGEMENT TO WALLS THAT
WHEN MAPPED OUT ARE SQUARE OR
RECTANGULAR WITH CORNERS AT OR NEAR
RIGHT ANGLES; NEAR SAN LAZARO
SHEPHERDING FEATURES AROUND PUEBLOS
SUBSTANTIAL WALLS NEAR SAN LAZARO
Even in cultural features the sediment that may have once filled the interior sometimes washes away. Structures are often on
slopes so erosional processes can be severe. At Tabira/Pueblo Blanco/LA 51 the insides of clearly cultural structures are
devoid of sediment. In some cases the original structure was built on bedrock and so there was no sediment to begin with. In
other cases, the interior of the structure is inferred to have been sediment (because other structural features around it have
sediment on their interiors) but this has washed away. In other cases, such as at the Cerro Rojo Site and also at the Sharples
Site, naturally occurring boulders or cobbles were incorporated into the structure, perhaps as improvised furniture.
PUEBLOAN SHRINES AROUND PUEBLOS
People frequently ask me why I am inferring that these are mobile group structures rather than Puebloan visitors'
structures, shrines, or sheepherder's structures. This page is designed to answer these questions. The following
images are not mobile-group-related, but instead are Puebloan, Hispanic, and other.
One part of this question is answered by the fact that not only to mobile group visiting encampments look different
than Pueblo ones, but they are also positioned differently on the terrain and they use the landscape differently.
Many features are thought to be shrines owing to their placement at high points on the landscape, such as this cleared
area surrounded by cobbles and boulders and petroglyphs on Petrogpyph Hill, Galisteo Basin. Yet, the original purpose or
the ancient age of this feature is in question. Clearly it has been modified through subsequent use, as is indicated by the
rock cairns and "X" that is probably indicative of a historic or modern surveyors point and monument.
RECTILINEAR WALLS WITH UPRIGHTS,
UPRIGHT SLABS, NEAR QUARAI
The setting of the feature is crucial for identification.
But this is complicated by the fact that most mobile
group structures are on elevated terrain, as are
shrines. (Of course tipis tend to be on flat terrain
owing to design restrictions that limit their placement.
But most mobile group features found in the Eastern
Frontier Pueblos are the bases of wickiups or perhaps
in some instances small tipis. it is assumed that the
larger tipi encampments were on flat terrain that has
since been modified by ranchers, logging, and Park
Service and archaeological activities. For example at
Pecos Pueblo a flat area suitable for a large tipi
encampment, as was described in the documentary
record, has been bulldozed as part of former ranching
activity and then has also been chained as part of
Park Service site development and maintenance.)
SMALL CIRCULAR FEATURE NEAR QUARAI
THAT IS PROBABLY PUEBLOAN, JUDGING
FROM THE ASSOCIATION OF ROCK ART
CLOSE UP OF SOME OF THE ASSOCIATED
ROCK ART WITH FEATURE AT QUARAI
FOUR IMAGES OF PROBABLE PUEBLOAN OR HISPANIC SHRINES NEAR ABO
RECONSTRUCTED SHRINE NEAR SAN LAZARO
One way to tell the difference between mobile group
structures and Puebloan ceremonial features is the
presence of Puebloan rock art. Many shrines or ceremonial
features looks similar to mobile group structures but have
petroglyphs associated, clearly indicating another function.
PROBABLE SHRINE AT PETROGLYPH HILL, WITH
PETROGLYPHS IN AND AROUND THE FEATURE.
RUBBLE DOWN SLOPE, NEAR KOYOTI
SMALL CIRCULAR FEATURE NEAR SAN LAZARO THAT
IS PROBABLY PUEBLOAN, JUDGING FROM THE
ASSOCIATION OF ROCK ART
CLOSE UP OF SOME OF THE ASSOCIATED
ROCK ART WITH FEATURE NEAR SAN LAZARO
SHRINE OVERLOOKING GALISTEO PUEBLO
THESE FEATURES NEAR SAN LAZARO MAY HAVE
BEEN BUILT BY PUEBLOANS BUT WERE REUSED BY
THIS INTERPRETATION IS INDICATED BY THE PRESENCE OF
APACHEAN POTTERY AND STONE TOOLS IN THESE FEATURES AND
BY SMALLER CIRCULAR ROCK RINGED FEATURES NEARBY. IT IS
ALSO POSSIBLE THAT THE MORE SEDENTARY JICARILLA BUILT
THESE RECTILINEAR STRUCTURES, AS FEATURES OF THIS TYPE
ARE MENTIONED IN THE DOCUMENTARY RECORD.
RECTINLEAR OUTLINE AND UPRIGHT
SLABS ON PUEBLOAN FIELD HOUSE
AGRICULTURAL TERRACES ADJACENT TO A PUEBLOAN FIELD HOUSE. THE FIELD HOUSE
IS INDICATED BY RUBBLE, WITH CORNERS DISCERNABLE AND HIGH SHERD DENSITIES.
RECTILINEAR OUTLINE NEAR SAN LAZARO
90 DEGREE ANGLE TO CORNER
HIGH ARTIFACT DENSITIES OFTEN ACCOMPANY PUEBLOAN FEATURES THAT ARE FOUND IN THE
PERIPHERAL AREAS OF THE MAIN PUEBLO. MOBILE GROUPS USUALLY LEAVE VERY FEW ARTIFACTS AND
THESE ARE SOMETIMES MIXED IN WITH THOSE OF MORE VISIBLE AND STATIONARY GROUPS.