Smithsonian Institution Logo The Geology of Chaco Canyon, New Mexico
In Relation To The Life And Remains Of The Prehistoric Peoples Of Pueblo Bonito
Smithsonian Miscelleanous Collections
Volume 122, Number 7


Discovery of the post-Bonito channel led to a search for a similar division of the flood plains of other streams in northwestern New Mexico. The data obtained are here summarized although it is recognized that the importance of the subject requires additional field study and more complete description.

In 1925 buried channels were detected in the walls of Arroyo en Medio and Arroyo Cedro, both tributaries of the Rio Puerco by way of Arroyo Chico. In 1927 a well-defined buried channel was found and mapped for half a mile in the arroyo of Rio Puerco, between the towns of Cuba and La Ventana. In neither of these localities were potsherds or other human relics found in the deposits of the channel. On Rio Puerco I picked up two sherds of black-on-white pottery that clearly had fallen with a portion of the arroyo bank, but the exact position in which they were deposited is not known. They merely indicate that part of the valley fill was laid down during a time when prehistoric Puebloan peoples inhabited the valley.

In 1929 buried channels were also discovered in the floors of Tijeras and Coyote Canyons on the west slope of Sandia Mountains. In Coyote Canyon many evidences of human occupancy during deposition of the valley fill were found. Hearths, bones, charcoal, and potsherds occur but the localities are so disposed that none provided the critical data that would date the channel.

In 1928 a buried channel was discovered on Galisteo Creek at the town of Galisteo, in Santa Fe County. A similar one occurs west of the road crossing and rock falls on San Cristobal Creek, just below the pueblo of San Cristobal. The channel on Galisteo Creek was carefully traced and mapped. It obviously underlies and therefore must be older than Pueblo Galisteo (Bryan, 1941, p. 231). This particular ruin (Nelson, 1914) contains potsherds which are all of glazed types and no part of it appears to be older than the Pueblo IV period, comparable to Pecos Glaze II (personal communication from A. V. Kidder).

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