New Mexico Office of Archaeological Studies

C. Dean Wilson

C. Dean Wilson
OAS Research Associate and former Director of the OAS' Ceramics Analysis Laboratory
(505) 476-4419

M.A., Eastern New Mexico University, 1985

I am currently involved in the analysis and write-up of prehistoric and historic ceramics from several projects in the Northern Rio Grande region. Pottery from most of the prehistoric sites in the Pojoaque Corridor Project in the Tewa Basin indicates an occupation during the Late Developmental period (A.D. 900 to 1200), with a few small components dating to later periods. Data from these sites provides an opportunity to examine trends associated with the earliest pottery produced in areas north of Santa Fe. Another project is the analysis of pottery recovered during investigations by Los Alamos National Laboratory on the Pajarito Plateau. Pottery from these sites reflect occupations during to the Coalition (A.D. 1200 to 1350) and Classic (A.D. 1350 to 1600) periods. I will also be examining pottery from Coalition and Early Classic periods from a pueblo currently being excavated near downtown Santa Fe.

Dean WilsonCeramic data from these and earlier OAS projects is being used to examine trends relating to the sequence and nature of the prehistoric ceramic occupation of the Northern Rio Grande. One important issue currently being explored is the origin of Pueblo groups in the Northern Rio Grande, who are often assumed to have migrated from the San Juan region during the thirteenth century. Instead, ceramic evidence from these various projects suggests a long, continual Puebloan population beginning by at least A.D. 900 that grew and expanded into other areas of the Northern Rio Grande during the thirteenth century. Ceramic data relating to characterization of pottery paste and style from various localities is also providing information concerning the nature and causes of increased pottery specialization and formalized distribution networks and alliances from the Coalition to Classic periods.

Ceramic data is also being used to examine the nature of historic Spanish occupations in Northern New Mexico. Native ceramics were among the most common artifacts in assemblages in the Palace of the Governors from the early seventeenth to the late nineteenth centuries. They were also common at Spanish homesteads dating from the late eighteenth to the early nineteenth centuries investigated during the Pojoaque Corridor project. This data indicates that most of the pottery at Spanish sites was produced by nearby Pueblo or Apache groups. Trends in the forms and style of Native pottery from historic sites are being used to examine changes in the relationship between Indian producers and Spanish consumers.