The Tano Origins Project is an archaeological study of population movement and conflict among the Pre-Columbian Pueblo people of New Mexico's Galisteo Basin. Since 2000 field teams from the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at George Mason University, led by Principal Investigator James Snead, have worked in the region, a landscape rich in beauty and archaeological remains, just south of the city of Santa Fe. Our work is producing insights both into the complex lives of the ancient inhabitants of the region and into how the evidence of these activities can be managed in the modern day.
The particular focus of our research is the late 13th and early 14th centuries AD, a time of turmoil throughout the Southwest. During this era people left the old Pueblo heartland of the Colorado Plateau and moved to new lands, one of which may have been the Galisteo. Here they established new homes and interacted with those already living in the land in ways that reflected accommodation and conflict. In the process the foundations for much of the Pueblo world as we know it today were laid, and archaeology represents an important tool for understanding this era.
The TOP is supported by various granting agencies, in particular the National Science Foundation (BCS # 0352702) for the 2004-2006 field seasons; the Bureau of Land Management; and the New Mexico State Historical Preservation Division.
College of Humanities and Social Sciences,
George Mason University
Department of Geography and Anthropology,
California Polytechnic University – Pomona
Museum of Indian Arts and Cultures/Laboratory of Anthropology, Museum of New Mexico
Office of Archaeological Studies, Museum of New Mexico
The Bureau of Land Management, Taos Regional Office
The Archaeological Conservancy
The County of Santa Fe
Between 2000 and 2007 the TOP has worked in the western Galisteo Basin, emphasizing two areas: the Burnt Corn – Petroglyph Hill archaeological district (2000, 2002, 2004-2006), and the Lodestar Ranch (2005). In total we have surveyed more than 700 ha of land, recording 229 sites and 399 isolated occurrences. Excavations have taken place at Burnt Corn Pueblo, which has also been the focus of detailed GIS mapping, as well as at Cholla House, Slope House, Lodestar North, and Lodestar South.
Archival and Collections Work:
In addition to fieldwork, work on archaeological collections excavated at other Galisteo Basin sites that have been excavated over the past century. These include Manzanares, a major settlement near the modern town of Lamy, and Pueblo Largo, a site excavated in the 1950s but incompletely published. Our study of these collections has concentrated on excavated ceramics, which provide important sources of comparison for our own material, and using the field notes to re-establish the context of this neglected work.