About The Pecos Conference

The purpose of the Pecos Conference, as Alfred Vincent Kidder put it in summing up the first such gathering, is to...

"...bring about contact between workers in the Southwest field to discuss fundamental problems of Southwestern prehistory; and to formulate problems of Southwest prehistory; to pool knowledge of facts and techniques, and to lay a foundation for a unified system of nomenclature."

Deliberately informal, the Pecos Conference affords Southwestern archaeologists a superlative opportunity to talk with one another, both by presenting field reports and by casual discussions. It is a chance to see old friends, meet new ones, pick up fresh information, organize future conferences, and have a great time.

In recent years, Native Americans, avocational archaeologists, the general public and media organizations have come to play an increasingly important role, serving as participants and as audience, to celebrate archaeological research and to mark cultural continuity.

About The 2007 Pecos Conference

The tradition of research collaboration and sharing that began in 1927 at Pecos Pueblo returns to it's home at Pecos National Historical Park, under the guidance of dedicated archaeologists, Federal, state and local agency sponsors, and tribal representatives...

This year, 2007, marks the 80th anniversary of the Pecos Conference, first convened by Alfred V. Kidder at Pecos Pueblo, New Mexico, in 1927. Because the Conference was not held during certain years (due to World War II and other circumstances [cf. * Woodbury 1993]), this year’s meeting will not be the 80th annual gathering. This year is, in fact, the 70th annual meeting of the Pecos Conference. In the early 1990s, the numbering of the Pecos Conference became confused, when the anniversary year was substituted for the actual count of prior conferences. Clearly, we cannot mend past problems with the numbering of the Pecos Conference. Our solution is to indicate that this year’s conference will be the 70th occurrence and refer formally to this year’s event simply as the Pecos Conference 2007.

* Woodbury, Richard 1993 Sixty Years of Southwestern Archaeology: A History of the Pecos Conference. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque. ( See also: Downum 1996 )

The Context of Southwest Archaeological Research

The 2007 Pecos Conference theme is Galisteo Basin Archaeology. The following research articles provide background data to help set the stage for understanding & enjoying presentations and conversations at the Pecos Conference:

Journal Articles

1914 Nels Nelson publishes Pueblo Ruins of the Galisteo Basin, New Mexico. Anthropological papers of the American Museum of Natural History ; ; v. 15, pt. 1

** 1916 A.V Kidder publishes Archeological Explorations at Pecos, New Mexico. The archaeological work consisted entirely of excavations in the great rubbish heap on the east side of the mesa. The most important results were of a stratigraphic nature. The pottery at the bottom was markedly different from that at the top, and there were several distinct types between.

1916 Nels Nelson reports on The Chronology of the Tano Ruins, New Mexico. His data consisted mainly of observations of the stratigraphic relationship of several widely distributed types of pottery.

1917 M.A Kidder & A.V. Kidder publish Notes on the Pottery of Pecos. They described how Nelson excavated a stratified rubbish heap at San Cristobal, and compared the types found there with types found at other sites. The Kidders noted that "Nelson's discovery, and his discriminating analysis of materials, constituted one of the most important contributions that has yet been made to North American archaeology." The Kidders use their Pecos materials to cross-reference and supplement the data secured by Nelson, to assist "the constantly increasing number of archaeologists working in the Southwest."

1932 Helen Roberts reports The Reason for the Departure of the Pecos Indians for Jemez Pueblo. It seems the Cicuye Indians had a snake god, which they kept in a kiva, and which enabled them to obtain all of the things they asked for. One day the snake god departed. The people of Cicuye moved and went to live with the people of Jemez.

1933 W.S Stallings reports A Tree-Ring Chronology for the Rio Grande Drainage in Northern New Mexico. Stalling's article was an announcement of some preliminary results of the application of A.E. Douglass' methods of dating to the New Mexico area. He cored his tree-ring samples from the early 1200s from the Pajarito Plateau, the Rio Ojo Caliente drainage and the Galisteo Basin.

** 1954 Walter W. Taylor comments on Southwestern Archeology, Its History and Theory. Archaeology-with-a-purpose in the Southwest began around 1880, and a major goal of this period of work was "to connect living Indian cultures with their archeological antecedents." According to Taylor, "Southwesternists were mightily disinterested in time and its problems." However, during the first part of the second decade of the twentieth century, a revolution occurred in time-space research -- "Southwesternists developed a strong consciousness of time and an impelling concern with cultural differences and their distribution is space... From the work at Pecos ruin came three of the most significant developments in Southwestern archeology: Kidder's An Introduction to the Study of Southwestern Archaeology (1924), the first Pecos Conference in 1927, and the Pecos classification, which three were to guide Southwestern archeology from that day to this."

1954 Fred Wendorf describes A Reconstruction of Northern Rio Grande Prehistory.

1960 In Nels C. Nelson and Chronological Archaeology, Richard Woodbury describes Nelson's important role in demonstrating that statistical analysis of data from arbitrary levels could reveal chronological change just as could data from physically distinct strata.

1960 Richard Woodbury comments on Nelson's Stratigraphy, noting that Nelson's immediate stimulus for stratigraphic technique in the Galisteo Basin, New Mexico, "was his participation in 1913 in Obermeier and Breuil's excavations in Castillo Cave," a Spanish Paleolithic site. These cave deposits "gave Nelson the inspiration rather than the exact model for his subsequent work in the Galisteo Basin of New Mexico..."

1964 Bertha Dutton describes the site of Las Madres In The Light of Anasazi Migrations. Galisteo Black-on-white pottery looks similar to the pottery found at Mesa Verde. Dutton's excavations produced an interesting re-evaluation of the meaning of pottery types.

1974 Polly Schaafsma & Curtis Schaafsma study rock art iconography and conclude the katchina cult arrived in the Pueblo Southwest in the 14th Century from the Jornada region of the Mogollon.

1981 Robert Dunnel reviews the archaeological literature for 1980 and concludes that the relationship of CRM archaeology to academic archaeology "is probably the single most significant element in the field... the vast majority of all new archaeological funding in the United States is associated with CRM programs. The gap between CRM and academic archaeology continues to grow..."

1989 Marta Weigle describes how the American public came to know the Southwest in From Desert to Disney World: The Santa Fe Railway and the Fred Harvey Company Display the Indian Southwest.

1994 Dale R. Lightfoot reports on the Morphology and Ecology of Lithic-Mulch Agriculture. Lightfoot surveyed the pebble-mulch gardens found in the Galisteo Basin south of Santa Fe. Enhancements offered by the strategy allowed more intensive cropping as a response to population pressures or prolonged drought.

1995 Dale Lightfoot and Frank Eddy describe The Construction and Configuration of Anasazi Pebble-Mulch Gardens In The Northern Rio Grande. Their paper focuses on pebble-mulch gardens in the Galisteo Basin. The technique allowed the Anasazi to expand agriculture from A.D. 1350-1500.

1996 Frank Eddy et al. report on the Air Photographic Mapping of San Marcos Pueblo.

1997 Frances Levine and Ann LaBauve review historical records while Examining the Complexity of Historic Population Decline: A Case Study of Pecos Pueblo New Mexico.

1998 Shawn L. Penman et al., in Will the Real San Marcos Pueblo Please Stand Up: An Examination of Bias and Error in Site Maps, take advantage of the existence of three, independently produced maps of one site, San Marcos Pueblo (LA 98) located in Galisteo Basin, to examine similarities and differences in the ways the maps depict the settlement.

1999 In The History of Attempts to Explain Southwestern Corrugated Pottery, Christopher Pierce discusses how, from the late tenth through early thirteenth centuries AD, ancestors of the modern Pueblo people across most of the northern part of the American Southwest adopted a variety of corrugated pottery. The technology continued until the fifteenth century when Pueblo potters returned to plain-surfaced cooking pots.

1999 Ann F. Ramenofsky and Christopher Pierce suggest, in a Proposal to Conduct Archaeological Research at San Marcos Pueblo (LA98) by the University of New Mexico, that, although continued historical research (documentary and oral) will produce new information, much new knowledge may only be accessible through archaeological research. Addressing questions about the early contact period in New Mexico requires that we know quite a bit more about the organization and size of Pueblo societies just prior to contact with the Spanish.

1999 Ann F. Ramenofsky and Christopher Pierce provide A Summary Report on Archaeological Mapping at Pueblo San Marcos (LA98), 1997 & 1998. In it, they report they completed their goal of updated mapping at San Marcos.

2006 Ann F. Ramenofsky & Christopher Pierce present Time and Population from the Surface at San Marcos Pueblo (LA98), North Central New Mexico. They noted that some types of data are difficult to obtain, and some types of work difficult to perform, because the methods used tend to either obscure fine-grained temporal distinctions or necessitate costly and politically objectionable large-scale excavations. Working at San Marcos Pueblo (LA98), a large, late site in the Galisteo Basin of New Mexico, using detailed mapping, systematic surface collections, and multiple seriations of midden deposits, they documented alternating periods of occupation and abandonment of the pueblo. This reconstruction challenges conventional wisdom regarding the occupational history of these late, large settlements as representing deep sedentism with population decline and abandonment occurring only after Spanish contact.

Miscellaneous Links

2004 PUBLIC LAW 108–208—MAR. 19, 2004 Galisteo Basin Archaeological Sites Protection Act
2005 Archaeology Southwest Highlights: Archaeology and the Public in the Galisteo Basin
2005 The Galisteo Archaeology Newsletter Galisteo Basin Archaeology November 2005
2005 Galisteo Basin Archaeology
2006 Cerrillos Hills/Galisteo Basin State Park Feasibility Study

Recent Media Articles About the Pecos Conference

2005 Lichtenstein (New York Times)
2006 Mendez (Christian Science Monitor)

Special Notes

2007 Pecos Conference Etiquette for Campers & Day-Use Attendees ( .doc or .pdf )
2008 Pecos Conference will be held in Flagstaff AZ

** Don't be confused by spelling variations: both 'Archaeology' & 'Archeology' are acceptable usage (U.S. federal government agencies tend to drop the second 'a' in official documents). You will see both spellings in these pages, just as in academic journals, news stories, and in popular writing.