From Folsom to Fogelson:
The Cultural Resources Inventory Survey of Pecos National Historical Park
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Thomas C. Windes


Sampling Strategy

The Early Puebloan Sample
     Early Park Pithouses
     Arrowhead Pueblo
     Forked Lightning Ruin
     Rowe Pueblo

Pecos Pueblo
     The Sample
     Structure Dating
          North Pueblo (Figure E.3)
               West Roomblock
               East Roomblock
          South Pueblo (Figure E.5)

Pecos Mission Church
     History of Construction
     Reuse of Mission Beams in Pecos Pueblo
     Wood Implications of the Pueblo Revolt
     Church Deterioration and Reuse of Beams
     The Mission Sample
     Previous Sample Proveniences
     Interpreting the Sample Results
     The Convento

Early Hispanic Settlement along the Upper Pecos River
     The Sample
     San Miguel del Vado
          The Church
          The Plaza Structures
     Park Homesteads
          Village of Pecos
          Las Colonias
          Terrero Rivera Homestead
     Kozlowski's Stagecoach Stop and Trading Post
          The Sample
          Structure Dating
               Main Building (Structure 20; Figure E.30)

     Tree-Ring Dating Success
     Harvest Timing
     Labor Investments


References Cited

List of Tables

E.1. List of tree-ring symbols and abbreviations

E.2. Tree-ring samples from the park pithouses, Arrowhead Pueblo, Forked Lightning Pueblo, and Rowe Pueblo (PDF Format)
E.3. Wood elements sampled from Pecos Pueblo prior to 1970 (PDF Format)
E.4. Wood specimens inventoried at Pecos Pueblo in 1998 (PDF Format)
E.5. Wood elements sampled from the Pecos Mission Churches and Convento (PDF Format)
E.6. Wood structural elements sampled from San Miguel del Vado (PDF Format)
E.7. Wood elements sampled from the Hispanic homesteads along the Pecos River (PDF Format)
E.8. Wood structural elements sampled from the Village of Pecos, Las Colonias, and Terrero (PDF Format)
E.9. Wood specimens collected from Kozlowski's Trading Post and Stagecoach Stop (PDF Format)
E.10. Use of tree species through time in the Upper Pecos River Valley (PDF Format)

List of Figures

E.1. Early pithouses excavated at Pecos National Historical Park
E.2. Layout of Pecos Pueblo and the associated Spanish structures
E.3. Plan of the Pecos North Pueblo and the adjacent earlier structures to the north and west
E.4. The North Pueblo and the location of visible posts
E.5. Plans of the South and West Pueblos and the location of visible posts
E.6. Section of a Pecos Mission beam collected by Col. Luddington in 1869 while chief quartermaster for the New Mexico Military District
E.7. Pecos Mission Church and Convento
E.8. Pecos Mission Church, looking east through the nave to the sanctuary and apse
E.9. Elevation view of the interior south wall of the apse, sanctuary, and nave, Pecos Mission Church
E.10. Elevation view of the interior north wall of the nave, sanctuary, and apse, Pecos Mission Church
E.11. Elevation view of the interior south and east walls of the northeast sacristy (Room 58), Pecos Mission Church
E.12. Elevation view of the interior west wall of the southeast sacristy (Room 57), Pecos Mission Church
E.13. Elevation view of the interior north wall of the main sacristy, Pecos Mission Church
E.14. Elevation view of the interior east walls of the sanctuary and apse, Pecos Mission Church
E.15. Plan view of the San Miguel del Vado plaza area
E.16. San Miguel del Vado church. View looking west from near the crossing of the Pecos River along the Santa Fe Trail
E.17. San Miguel del Vado church
E.18. The San Miguel del Vado church sanctuary
E.19. San Miguel del Vado church
E.20. Plan of sampled structures at San Miguel del Vado
E.21. Plan of the Territorial House in San Miguel del Vado bordering the Santa Fe Trail
E.22. Plan view of the PECO-540 homestead
E.23. Plan view of the Village of Pecos
E.24. House behind Harrison's (now Adelos Town and Country Store and the Shell gas station) similar to the Pablo Martinez House sampled next to the St. Anthony's Parish in the Village of Pecos
E.25. Plan of Martinez House on the grounds of the Pecos Catholic Parish
E.26. Decorative designs carved on corbels in the Las Colonias church, which were probably taken from the Pecos Mission Church
E.27. Sketch plan of the Rivera homestead buildings near Terrero in 1994
E.28. The initial cabin and barn at the Rivera homestead near Terrero
E.29. Plan of the structures at the Kozlowski Stagecoach Stop and Trading Post except for the main building
E.30. Plan of the main building (Structure 20) at the Kozlowski Stagecoach Stop and Trading Post
E.31. Plan of the outlying buildings at the Kozlowski Stagecoach Stop and Trading Post
Appendix E: 1,100 Years of Construction Wood Use in the Upper Pecos Valley Thomas C. Windes

When the Spanish passed north through the Galisteo Basin in A.D. 1580 (all dates herein are A.D.) and entered the Pecos country, they encountered "a forest with many pine trees which appeared to be the largest that had been discovered in New Spain" (Hammond and Rey 1966:94). Thus, the Spanish had encountered the southern reaches of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, a heavily forested region spiked with numerous peaks over 11,000 feet (3,353 m), including the highest in New Mexico, Mt. Wheeler, at 13,161 feet (4,011 m). Numerous valleys are incised into the range, including the Pecos Valley, through which flows one of the few permanent streams in the state. The Pecos River, with headwaters near the 13,102 foot-high (3,993 m) Truchas Peak, 46 km north of Pecos Pueblo, extends far south across the length of the state and into Texas. The area around Pecos Pueblo and the national park, at an elevation of 6,900 feet (2,103 m), experiences a growing season of only 127 days, although precipitation is a bountiful 15.6 inches (396 mm) annually (Levine 1999:3; Nordby and Creutz 1993:1-7).

The Pecos Valley is covered in piñon and juniper (Juniperus monosperma, J. scopulorum, and hybrids) that have always provided much of the wood resources for inhabitants. In addition, cottonwoods, elms, and willows grow along the Pecos River, while economically important ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, aspen, spruce, and true fir grow nearby on the mesas and in the higher elevations of the surrounding mountains. These trees provide a variety of woods suitable for construction purposes and fuels.

The primary goal of this work was to systematically document all the dendrochronological wood sampled within the study areas and to bring new chronometric results to the individual structure construction episodes. This study provides data, much of it new, on 1,025 tree-ring samples. A broader goal, however, is to examine the use of woods found in a variety of construction settings within Pecos National Historical Park and the Upper Pecos Valley, and to determine their chronometric relationships to cultural events. Potential structural wood for dating is found in only a few areas of the park, mostly associated with Pecos Pueblo, the mission church, and a few historic structures inventoried during the survey. As part of an historic structures' report, the Kozlowski stage coach stop and trading post and outlying buildings were sampled. Samples taken during earlier research are discussed here as well. The present work incorporates the materials sampled from two earlier pithouses in Pecos National Historical Park excavated in the 1970s (Nordby and Creutz 1993). It also encompasses the dendrochronological study begun in 1974 by National Park Service archaeologist Gary Matlock on the earliest historic buildings in the villages of Pecos and San Miguel del Vado. Matlock's samples are reported on here as are samples from these villages taken by the author in 2000 and 2001. This report also includes a historic homestead sampled by the author in the Upper Pecos canyon near Terrero in 1994.

Sampling Strategy

A number of different sampling strategies were utilized for this study. The primary emphasis for the recent wood survey was to establish a chronological framework for the Hispanic homesteads inventoried along the Pecos River. At the same time, historic structure and cultural landscape reports were prepared by Jake Ivey and Katherine Colby (1998) for the newly acquired Kozlowski's stagecoach stop and trading post and outbuildings, with dendrochronology used to assist the interpretation of construction and use. Coevally, Jake Ivey (1996) has prepared a detailed report on the mission architecture, construction, and stabilization of the Pecos Mission buildings. Chronometric assessments of these activities would help confirm or alter the historic record. Finally, along with new maps being prepared for the North and South pueblos at Pecos by Shawn Penman, numerous post remains were inventoried and sampled to tighten chronology of the protohistoric occupation.

Each of these tasks provided different challenges for study. The homesteads revealed numerous badly weathered juniper specimens, which were sampled exclusively by cutting to provide the greatest chance at dating success. The fresh-cut ends left in-situ were stamped with the field specimen number with a steel die set. Time, funds, and the numerous large-diameter pine vigas, reached primarily by ladder, made an extensive sampling of Kozlowski's difficult. A small volunteer crew and the expected high success of the pine specimens resulted in sampling about every other viga or post. After the initial results were received, the front offices were re-sampled to identify any remaining nineteenth-century vigas. Additional samples were also taken from the outbuildings and other features. Samples were extracted with a 5/8-inch diameter hollow drill and plugged with maple dowels stamped by die set with the field specimen (FS) number.

At the mission church, all architectural elements were sampled by drilling, with the resultant holes plugged with 5/8-inch stamped dowels. Finally, the badly weathered visible architectural posts in the pueblos were drilled with 5/8-inch or 7/8-inch diameter drills and plugged with stamped dowels. Badly weathered, split, or rotted wood was sometimes cut because drill cores often fragmented. A few v-shaped cut samples were removed, with the remaining element stamped for identification. In all cases, the stamped field numbers were blackened by permanent markers and sealed with a lacquer coat, but direct solar exposure has eradicated the ink and lacquer on most samples two years later. All of the samples were analyzed by the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, Tucson, Arizona. Symbols and abbreviations used in the present study for the tree-ring results are listed in Table E.1.

As with most historic samples, the church beams had been altered on the exterior by bark shaving. Thus, effort was made to sample these elements in locations deemed closest to the original exterior surface. Sometimes, spots of bark were left after the debarking process and these spots provided the most secure results reflective of the actual tree death date. Because it is difficult to tell the actual or near actual outer ring from a core sample in the laboratory, field observations listed here help provide determination of this critical attribute.

The Early Puebloan Sample

Early Park Pithouses

Preparations for the 1977 Pecos Conference resulted in the discovery of a pithouse site near the park administrative offices, while a second was discovered during testing of a Euro-American structure following an archaeological survey of the park (Nordby and Creutz 1993). Both structures were cleared and revealed burned roofing on the floor and in the floor fill (Table E.2). These yielded a number of specimens submitted to the tree-ring laboratory for dating. In addition, both were sampled for archaeomagnetic dating. Hoagland's Haven (PECO-53; LA 14154) was a circular pithouse 65 cm deep and about 10 m across (79 m2) (Figure E.1). It burned near the end of its use, perhaps at abandonment, producing 29 roofing tree-ring samples, 19 (66%) of which dated. An archaeomagnetic sample of nine cubes (Earth Sciences Observatory #1561) from the central hearth, later remodeled, failed to produce datable results. At least two tree-cutting episodes were evident from the roof remains: at A.D. 832 (4 cutting dates) and 841 (2 cutting dates). It was not possible from the small sample to determine if 832 was the initial harvesting event for the pithouse with remodeling in 841 or if the structure was built during or shortly after 841 using some reused beams. The latest date is 841. Two non-cutting dates postdate 832, which suggest that at least four samples could be from the 841 harvest.

The sample is dominated by piñon, sprinkled with a few juniper and ponderosa pine—the three species most likely to have been represented in immediate proximity to the site, as they are now. It is possible that the piñon was locally abundant and preferred over juniper for construction purposes. Ponderosa pine provides more desirable construction elements, but suitable young trees probably were widely scattered, as they are at present. Analyses of soil samples by Paul Minnis, however, revealed that charcoal, presumably from firepit use, was dominated by juniper and piñon, with occasional oak and grape (Vitis) present (Nordby and Creutz 1993:4-41, 4-46).

The Sewer Line Site (PECO-207; LA 118808) consisted of two superimposed large (77 m2), subrectangular pithouses, about 9 m across and one meter deep (Figure E.1) with a mere eight carbonized floor samples. Although samples came from four of the five main roof supports, none of these dated. Only one of the measured samples (Table E.2), however, seemed large enough to have been a roof support post. All samples were piñon, producing three dates (38%). The single cutting date at 801r, followed by two non-cutting dates at 777vv and 785vv, tentatively suggest construction around 801. An archaeomagnetic sample of 10 cubes (Earth Sciences Observatory #1560) from the burned adobe remains yielded a date by Robert DuBois of 920 ±38, which seems late given the single tree-ring date and the probable short-use life of pithouses. However, it does postdate the construction timbers, as it should, and the temporal spread, while large, is not unreasonable. Two surface rooms, which attracted the initial testing, were interpreted from ceramic evidence as occupied at about 1550.

Arrowhead Pueblo

This Coalition/Classic pueblo (Figure 5.15; Holden 1955) consists of five roomblocks, of about 100 rooms arranged around two quadrangles, on top of a mesa overlooking Glorieta Arroyo and the Civil War Glorieta Battlefield. Between 1933 and 1948, one block of 79 rooms and at least one kiva were investigated by William Holden of the Texas Technological College (Holden 1955). Later tests in 1-2 unburned rooms (Rooms 80-81?) near the north trailhead were conducted in 1966 by the author under the auspices of the Methodist Church Conference. Holden's samples (Table E.2) came mostly from the excavated corner kiva along with a few room specimens excavated in 1933 and 1935 from the southern roomblock adjacent to the kiva.

The site sample indicates reliance upon small, young ponderosa pine trees for roof construction, suggesting the relative local abundance of pine. Age diversity is evident among the samples suggestive of a relatively pristine forest stand unimpacted by previous harvesting until the pueblo was built. Today, moderate- and large-sized ponderosa pines and juniper cover the mesa. Either the occupants selected small, young trees in a more diverse setting or young pine trees were common nearby, perhaps covering the mesa until it was cleared for occupation. The majority of the sample derives from burned roofing, mostly from the corner kiva (65 of 101 samples; 64 percent) and several rooms excavated by Holden. Although Holden (1955:104) describes the room roofs as being constructed of primary beams covered by small poles, the measured sample yielded almost all small poles. If large-diameter primaries had been common, surely pieces of them would have been well represented and the more likely choices for tree-ring collection.

Samples from the kiva clearly mark construction in 1390 or shortly afterwards, which may have replaced an earlier plaza kiva found under the roomblock (Holden 1955:107). Twenty-six dates at 1390, all with incomplete outer rings except one, and a smaller batch of cutting dates in 1389 with incomplete and complete outer growth rings suggest that the wood harvests occurred in at least two events: the late summer/early fall of 1389 and the summer/fall of 1390. The latest date of 1391 +vv may indicate the final harvest for a needed beam or two or a later replacement beam.

The earliest rooms are in the southeastern section, but only a mere seven rooms yielded dates. Unfortunately, the room numbers published in Holden (1955:Figure 1) do not match those assigned to the samples (n=23). A mix of cutting dates in 1370 and 1390 suggest either the original harvesting for the pueblo started in 1370 and, after a hiatus, was completed in 1390, or that construction was initiated at about 1370, with some remodeling or repairs in 1390. Given that the corner kiva was either later remodeled or built in 1390, the areal extent of the sample suggests major construction or refurbishing at the pueblo—perhaps heralding the arrival of a new immigrant group.

Forked Lightning Ruin

Located on the Glorieta Wash about one kilometer below Pecos Pueblo, this large Coalition-period site, with about 140 ground-floor rooms, probably was abandoned by 1300 as proposed by Kidder (1958:42-43) and Stubbs. These inhabitants probably comprised one of the new groups that later moved to Pecos Pueblo. Despite considerable excavation, only charcoal was recovered, which yielded non-cutting dates in the 900s, 1000s, and 1100s (Table E.2). All but one of the 26 samples were of piñon, a species commonly used for firewood. All the pieces were small and fragmented, suggestive of fuel rather than architectural remains. In contrast, both Arrowhead and Rowe pueblos yielded whole or partially intact cross-sections of burned roofing. None of the Forked Lightning sample were given provenience data, although Stubbs (in Kidder 1958:43) thought the samples may have derived from reused beams—probably emphasizing the earlier-than-expected dates rather than their potential use for firepit fuel based on species and size. There is some confusion over the reference to the unsuccessful search for datable material from Kidder's burned rooms, implying that the sample came from rooms other than the burned ones. Thus, the dates probably do little other than indicate some activity at the site in the 1000s and 1100s.

Rowe Pueblo

A third Coalition pueblo, with roomblocks enclosing three plazas, was first tested by Carl Guthe in 1917 at Rowe, New Mexico. W. S. Stallings collected one datable sample from Guthe's test trench in 1931. Excavations between 1977 and 1980 by Walter Wait (Wait and Cordell 1980) of the National Park Service yielded piñon (3) and ponderosa pine (2) samples from Room W-1, but none dated because of short (<20) ring series and apparently these were discarded. In 1980, 1983, and 1984, Cordell (1998) also excavated at the site, recovering the remaining tree-ring samples (Table E.2). Rowe Pueblo yielded 35 pieces of wood, mostly pine, with dates in the 1300s. Cordell (personal communication 2000) believes that all the samples, except perhaps Guthe's, came from roofing. Measurements of these samples confirm probable use as roofing elements, mostly from small, secondary poles. Only a single specimen, from Room 22, was large enough to suggest a primary roof beam or roof support post. Wood charcoal identified at Rowe Ruin from flotation samples revealed the use of juniper, piñon, oak, and willow for fuel (Cordell 1998:61; Toll 1998). Corn analyzed by Toll (1998:160) at Rowe indicates crops grown under marginal conditions, as might be expected for the area.

The majority of samples came from rooms in the middle quadrangle, with wood preservation best in the eastern roomblock. Samples from Rooms 21 and 22 came from subfloor tests that encountered the underlying roof material of Rooms 23 and 24, respectively. The sample from multistory Room 30 derived from fill above the roof layer and cannot be associated with the curved-wall kiva construction (Cordell 1998:19). Roofing material from Room 112, in the north roomblock, failed to date, although radiocarbon dates of 898 and 1286 were obtained (Cordell 1998:53). The sample from Test Pit 307 came from the south of the south roomblock in an earlier adobe-walled pueblo. A more varied set of dates was obtained from radiocarbon analysis (Cordell 1998:54-57); three archaeomagnetic dates were also obtained. Overall, the small tree-ring sample represents only a small part of the overall construction activities that must have taken place at this large pueblo.

Pecos Pueblo

The Pecos River Valley experienced a lengthy occupation by Puebloan peoples, but between A.D. 1425 and 1450 inhabitants had coalesced into a single, large building, the North Pueblo (Figures E.2-E.3). Massive excavations were conducted by Kidder (1924, 1958) at Pecos Pueblo between 1915 and 1929. Dendrochronology was in its infancy during these years, but material collected by Kidder produced numerous tree-ring dates from collapsed structural elements (e.g., Robinson et al. 1973:26-29). Given the prolific finds of architectural wood recovered, however, only a small sample of poorly provenienced wood was ultimately kept and analyzed (Table E.3). Unfortunately, specific proveniences were often unreported because such information was deemed useful to only a few (Kidder 1932:12). In 1998, volunteers and the National Park Service staff reexamined the South and North Pueblos to document and sample the numerous upright posts observed scattered throughout the site. Although the ground was covered in thick grasses, 105 pieces of wood from the North Pueblo, all upright portico posts for ground- and upper-floor roofs and roof support posts, were inventoried and 104 sampled (Figure E.4; Table E.4). In addition, fourteen wall support posts still evident within and adjacent to the exteriors of rooms excavated at the north end of the South Pueblo and in the West Pueblo were also recorded and sampled (Figure E.5; Table E.4). Finally, the nine ventilator tunnel lintels in Kiva 16, presumably prehistoric because of their burned condition, were sampled (Table E.4). This kiva was rebuilt and now serves as a tourist attraction along the North Pueblo trail.

The Sample

Tree-ring samples were extracted from the North and South Pueblos by a number of investigators. At the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, notes, letters, photographs, and maps, some of them conflicting, help identify the function and proveniences for many of the early samples. The majority of the North Pueblo samples were collected by Kidder during his work in the 1920s. One hundred and four came from the North Pueblo, concentrated in and adjacent to the main interior plaza. These came from rooms primarily in the middle of the West Roomblock, where much excavation took place, and from the burned E-series rooms near the southern end of the East Roomblock (Figure E.3; Kidder 1958:99-103). Few came from kivas, while many samples were obtained from poorly identified interior plaza contexts in the northern, eastern, and southwestern areas. Another 118 specimens from upright posts protruding above the present mounds and nine more from the Kiva 16 ventilator were sampled by the author and helpers in 1998.

Material (84 samples) from the South Pueblo is better documented (Figure E.5; Tables E.3-E.4). Kidder first excavated several rooms there in 1920 that were designated the "K-100" series rooms. He returned in 1924 and dug a six-room unit (Rooms C-C 39, 62[63], 66, 67, 79, and 82), which yielded almost no tree-ring material. Samples labeled "DL" were also obtained by Kidder, from the "mid-ruin," while others later were obtained by Stallings ("RG" samples). This was followed by massive clearing of rooms in the north half of the pueblo in 1939 by the Civil Conservation Corps, led by J. W. Hendron, John Corbett, and Marjorie Tichy-Lambert (Ivey 1996:Chapter 4:9-10; Kidder 1958:106), for display during the 1940 Coronado Cuarto Centennial Celebration. This work yielded samples for the Gila Pueblo, Arizona, tree-ring laboratory: GP 1380-1384 from Corbett and the School of American Research (SAR; in Santa Fe) in November 1939; GP 2389-2410 from the SAR in March 1940; and GP 2645-2646 from William Witkind in September 1940. Two PEC samples (#3-4) samples were also assigned from Hendron's work in 1940.

Finally, to help resolve dating problems for Kidder, ten tests (#1-10) were cut across several dispersed rooms in the southern half of the South Pueblo by Stubbs, Smiley, Wendorf, and Ellis in 1956 to secure new specimens. While many were simply narrow east-west trenches, two areas, which became Rooms 5 and 7, were apparently expanded to secure suitable material. These duplicate room numbers at the north end of the pueblo. George Carr and John Corbett mapped the South Pueblo in 1940; their room numbers are used here along with the prefix designation C-C. In 1972, Gary Matlock tested for wall foundations below floors in Rooms 1-3, 5, and 9-10, followed in 1976 by Larry Nordby, but neither project produced tree-ring specimens because most of the materials had been cleared out decades before. Finally, in 1998, thirteen samples were taken by the author from posts, primarily in the excavated rooms.

As a group, dates from the North Pueblo span A.D. 1299 to 1678, with some clustering in the 1430s and early 1500s. These came primarily from eleven or so rooms that dated. The South Pueblo, where about 26 rooms dated, revealed considerable clustering of dates from the northern rooms between 1420 and 1448. Dates at the southern end (two rooms) were later and scattered between 1427 and 1613, with some clustering in the 1480s. The latter came from charcoal and roof fragments but were not cutting dates.

Although dates are numerous from the two pueblos, caution in their interpretation is necessary given the longevity of occupation on the mesa, from at least the A.D. 1200s, and the movement of peoples joining together from other valley pueblos. Two large sites occupied just prior to Pecos Pueblo seemed to have been stripped of construction timbers. Forked Lighting Ruin yielded no intact roofing material (Kidder 1958:24-25), nor did Rowe Ruin (Cordell 1998). Given the arduous task of procuring timbers, it is likely that much of the former material was hauled to Pecos and reused. Once at the site, considerable movement of roof beams occurred (see Ivey 1996:Chapter 4). Yet, there is a surprising lack of early dates in the sample. The poor quality of the construction at Pecos as time passed (Kidder 1958:59, 68, 71, 79) would also have impacted the architectural integrity of the structures as the use of support props for walls and roofs increased. Unfortunately, many of the samples were assigned no structural context. There may also have been indiscriminate use of the term "viga" in the lab notes to identify both roof primaries and secondaries. Finally, a few pieces designated as "lata" in the records were assigned to secondary beam (latilla) status for this report.

Remarks by Kidder (1958:108), the recent sampling of visible posts, and culling of the lab notes, indicate that tree species is highly indicative of structural element function. The vast numbers of posts were usually of tough, resilient juniper (98 percent of 124 posts), a species seldom used for other structural elements, except perhaps for kiva ventilator lintels and roof closing material. Three vigas were also noted as juniper. Conversely, the tall, straight conifers (ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, spruces and true firs) were commonly used for roofing beams. Of those assigned functions, 91 percent (of 76 elements) were used for roofing, with occasional use for lintels (4), posts (2), and a corral door or gate jamb (1).

Structure Dating

North Pueblo (Figure E.3)

West Roomblock

The most extensive excavation was done in the West Roomblock. There, a series of east-west aligned rooms were excavated. The best sampled was Connie's room in the middle of the West Roomblock, possibly either Room 18, 39, or 50a according to a sketch map at the tree-ring laboratory. This room yielded six dates, with two cutting dates of 1513. Another five dates, all cutting dates between 1510 and 1514 came from "north of Connie's room." Subsequent inspection of the laboratory notes suggests that "Connie's room" was later appended to the original record label of "Plaza length N of," thus, suggesting additional samples from Connie's Room or one adjacent to it. Two other samples came from north of Connie's, but on the eastern side of the quadrangle, possibly near or in Room 46, yielding one cutting date of 1513. Another room in the East Roomblock, south of the East Entrance, also had cutting dates at 1512 and 1513. Only one room on the map south of the entrance reveals four walls, indicative of excavation: Room 42, the most likely origin of the latter dates.

The remaining best-dated batch came from Rooms 26 and 30. For most samples, notes indicate "Room 26 or Room 30," although it might mean beams were common to both rooms like those in Rooms 106-107 in the South Pueblo. Kidder (1958:Figure 31b), however, shows Room 26 stacked with beams from four stories, a sampler's delight. At least 17 specimens are visible in the Kidder room photograph, but only six samples were obtained. Both rooms are part of the same east-west series of rooms and next to one another, with a cluster of four cutting dates at 1434, probably from reused beams. However, a fifth date is much later, at 1589vv, suggesting a late replacement beam. Two undated samples came from Rooms 20 and 21 but clearly one of the two Room 20s on the map (Figure E.3) is a misprint.

Finally, a group of wall or portico juniper posts aligned east-west across Rooms 71 and 79, near Guardhouse Kiva H, yielded a surprising group of dates, given the extreme paucity of dated juniper specimens from the site. Despite the weathered and split post exteriors, all four clustered between 1448 and 1467, suggesting a late 1400s harvest date for the group. These dates are similar to others in the north part of the West Roomblock.


Numerous samples were obtained from the interior plaza, but without specific provenience. These dates span four centuries. Our two earliest dates from the mesa, A.D. 1299, came from here (perhaps representing the same tree), with two others at 1348—all cutting dates. Another pair of cutting dates at 1434 came from the western side, matching those from Rooms 26 and 30. The west and north sides yielded 1501vv and 1558v dates, respectively. Finally, the seventeenth century was represented by 1612v, 1669vv, and 1678vv dates, all in the north area. These do little for interpretation except to broaden the span for some eras of pueblo construction or remodeling.

East Roomblock

Excavations centered upon two areas in the East Roomblock: adjacent to the east passage through the roomblock center and two tiers of six-room units in the southern area designated as the E series rooms. Room 42, adjacent to the passage, is discussed above. The E-series, however, was heavily burned (Kidder 1958:99-100). Samples were obtained primarily from a single room, E-11 (undoubtedly E-II or, less likely, E-XI), the most thoroughly sampled room at the site with 18 samples collected in 1929 from the roof. Unfortunately, Kidder does not refer specifically in his published accounts to the wood in this former multistory room. Beams comprise roughly two diameters of about 10 and 18 cm. Fourteen were in the small category and probably were latillas (secondaries) despite their designation as "vigas" in the lab archives; the others must be primaries. Overall, the numbers suggest all or nearly all beams were sampled from the single roof present in the Kidder (1958:Figure 35) illustration. One small beam (KL-29/11) appeared squarish, although a second massive pine beam 10 by 29 cm in cross section is a more likely candidate for a former mission church viga. Unfortunately, it did not date. Seven cutting dates at 1501 came from Room E-II, followed by the latest date of 1515c, a cutting date. Four of eight others predated 1501 by a mere 5-16 years, suggesting tree harvest for the room in 1501 followed by a single replacement beam in 1515. A single cutting date of 1496 from deadwood in probable adjacent Room E-10 (E-X; Figure E.3) suggests that it was part of the same wood harvest. The E-series rooms were occupied until "well into the historic period," perhaps into the 1800s (Kidder 1958:99).


When Castaño de Sosa arrived at the pueblo in 1591, he noted 16 kivas and 5 plazas (Hammond and Rey 1966:277-278). Kidder (1958:143-226) later recorded 23 kivas and excavated 17 of them, along with four late above-ground "guardhouse" kivas (H, I, J, and K) that may have protected access along the passageways leading into the main quadrangle. Kessell (1979:381) feels that the latter are part of the fortifications mentioned in a letter by Governor Vélez Cachupín in 1750. Certainly, the passageways needed protection against the Comanche assaults at the gates, especially during the worst period of strife between 1739 and 1786 (Levine 1999:67), when formidable attacks by as many as 500 warriors occurred (Kessell 1979:395-396). Cordell (2001), however, does not believe that these kivas served a defensive role.

Because many excavated kivas failed to yield surface clues of their existence, many more must exist. All kivas investigated had their roofing materials removed, although upright posts to support the roof timbers and the mouth of the ventilator tunnel were commonly encountered during excavations. At Hopi, the kiva roofs were deemed too valuable to abandon. Thus all roofs were routinely removed for reuse after the kiva was no longer used (Montgomery et al. 1949:66). Also common at Pecos was the use of upright juniper slats for lining, or embedded within the kivas walls, and juniper and pine ventilator tunnel roof slats. Despite the problems with warfare and the burning of kivas by the Spanish, surprisingly only Kiva 7 had burned, early in its use.

Unfortunately, despite a wealth of potential dendrochronological material, few samples were collected from the kivas. True, much material was rotted and, in the early days of tree-ring analyses, juniper was considered unworthy of collection; the unsavory reputation of juniper, notwithstanding, a fair amount of it was collected anyway. Still, many beams were discarded unsampled that would have proved insightful today. Only a mere 11 pieces were sampled, yielding five dates. Most of the specimens were not given specific provenience information, but Kidder's published notes (1958:143-226), records at the tree-ring laboratory, and sizes help identify probable proveniences (Table E.3; those marked with a question mark are provenienced by this author).

Kidder (1958) excavated three kivas (5, 6, and 10) constructed during the earliest occupation, when black-and-white pottery was made, but used much later until apparently filled in during later suppressive measures (Kidder 1958:238-239). However, it is unlikely that they survived over three centuries of use only to be part of the four destroyed and filled in by the Spanish in 1714 (Kessell 1979:314). One undated specimen (DL-7) labeled "old kiva" certainly represents one of these three kivas. In addition, wood was recovered from Kiva 5 in 1920; the size and species approximate that given by Kidder (1958:155, Figure 42) for the kiva ventilator tunnel roof slats. Unfortunately, no date was obtained.

The remaining specimens were obtained from Glaze IV through VI period (a.d. 1475-1700) kivas in the North Pueblo. Sample RG 107 came from the "SW corner kiva," which must be Kiva 14. The large size of the specimen matches the south roof support post (see Kidder 1958:214) obtained from the mission after its 1680's destruction. The northern rectangular support was too rotted for dating. Kidder (1958:215, 264) considered this one of the last kivas built, postdating the construction of adjacent great Kiva 12. The rectangular post dated at 1634vv, but the amount of sapwood loss (i.e., Nash 1997) indicates a date of about 1682 for the specimen. This specimen came from the same tree as a viga found in nearby Room 37-0. Presumably, the same group scavenged the mission beam and then cut it for construction reuse in structures built and used in common sometime after the Pueblo Revolt.

Kiva 12 yielded one juniper post sample that failed to date. Kidder (1958:186, 264) found a monstrous 686 cm long and 66 cm diameter beam lying across Kiva 7, a structure which incorporated yellow adobes from the Lost Church construction of 1620. The kiva's second floor may have been placed by the time of the Revolt in 1680. Two fragmentary samples from this burned kiva evidently came from rotted elements—Kidder (1958:186) states that the monstrous beam was "too rotted to tree-ring date," which means either that it was not sampled because of its poor condition or, more likely, that its condition precluded dating. Only one (DL-34) of the two fragmentary laboratory specimens could now be measured, at about 21 cm diameter, suggesting that it was from the specimen described by Kidder. Two rotted squarish roof support posts were found in Kiva 7 during excavation (Kidder 1958:182, 195, Figure 52). Sample RG-2571 is described as from a kiva in the north quadrangle, but only Kiva 7 was excavated in that location. The 21 by 28 cm rectangular cross section nearly matches the Kiva 7 roof support posts described by Kidder as 9 by 12 inches (23 by 30 cm) and, thus, this sample is interpreted as a Kiva 7 specimen; RG-2571 dated at 1587+ +vv, but exhibited no sapwood. The estimated date for this sample, therefore, is after 1722, marking a late use of the kiva.

A large pine specimen (KL-25/3) supposedly from Guardhouse Kiva H is probably mislabeled because Kiva H contained only a juniper-slat liner along its walls (Kidder 1958:223). More likely, the rectangular 14 by 21 cm specimen came from one of the rectangular roof support posts in Kiva I noted by Kidder (1958:221) as 6 by 8.5 inches (15 by 22 cm) in size. Based on the amount of sapwood left in the 1552vv specimen (i.e., Nash 1997), its estimated cutting date was 1694. Mold-made adobe bricks used in construction also confirm the late construction of Kiva I. Two other "guard house" specimens undoubtedly came from one of the four excavated guardhouse kivas but the size, species, and dates of the two timbers, at 1354vv and 1358c, indicate only that reused vigas from the earlier black-and-white pottery period were utilized. Kivas J and K yielded no wood, leaving H and I as the only possible candidates. But the latter yielded no other wood than that mentioned above, leaving the two samples' provenience in a quandary. Perhaps the field notation meant a provenience associated with a guardhouse kiva. Kidder (1958:225) noted "well-preserved remains of a first- and second-story roof" adjacent to Kiva K, presumably Room 7 (Figure E.3), where samples might have been taken. The only other samples dated to the 1300s came from the western side of the quadrangle.

Finally, Kiva 16, excavated by Charles Amsden in 1929, is located about 23 m north of the South Pueblo and was abandoned probably by the late 1600s (Kidder 1958:202). It yielded an unsampled roof support post and an intact ventilator in "excellent condition" with nine "cedar" pole lintels (five intact) and a pair of posts supporting a larger lintel at the ventilator mouth (Kidder 1958:202, Figure 46). Nothing is mentioned of burning by Kidder but when the author sampled the nine roofing splints, they were heavily sooted and burned. Although the kiva was reconstructed in 1939 by J. W. Hendron, presumably the ventilator tunnel would have needed only partial refurbishing. It seems unlikely that stabilized elements would have been burned to induce an older appearance, especially considering that the kiva was not documented as burned. The mortar around the splints also appeared original and heavily sooted. Four of the nine lintels must have been replaced, but it a mystery why the entire tunnel roof appears as a burned, sooted original unit. No dates were provided from the sampling, so the origins of the lintels remain in doubt. Two pine "ventilator" samples (PEC-3, -4) were obtained by Hendron and sent to the tree-ring laboratory in 1940. Their diameters are much too large for ventilator lintels (which are usually juniper splints) and they are the wrong species. Nevertheless, they only could have come from Kiva 16, stabilized by Hendron in 1939. Their ventilator designation, size, and species suggest these were the two posts in front of the ventilator tunnel first discovered by Amsden. Unfortunately, neither dated, leaving all the wood from Kiva 16 with uncertain origins.

South Pueblo (Figure E.5)

The best date clusters come from the South Pueblo (Table E.3), a house with a complicated construction history meticulously discussed by Ivey (1996:Chapter 4). Kidder's work revealed an initial Coalition pueblo of 40 rooms built at about 1300—one of several on the mesilla top. It was abandoned in the early- to mid-1400s and possibly much of the structural wood robbed for construction in the North Pueblo (Ivey 1996:4-24 to 4-26). Ivey (1996:4-7) is uncertain about events in the South Pueblo but believes that parts were constructed between 1425 and 1490, then rebuilt in the Spanish period using scavenged beams, and then remodeled between 1714 and 1718, referring specifically to the K-100-series rooms excavated by Kidder in 1920. According to Ivey (1996:Chapter 4:26; 1998:128), the Franciscans came to some agreement with the Pecoseños, abandoning the "Lost" Church just as it was nearing completion in 1620 in favor of a more protected location on the mesilla top. The Franciscans moved into the northern end of South Pueblo, rebuilding their quarters with salvaged Puebloan beams in the northern 3-4 rows of rooms—a pattern also noted for Las Humanas (Hayes 1981:28-32). Within 2-3 years, the Franciscans built a new convento at the south end of the South Pueblo, probably using beams from the Lost Church.

South Pueblo was shortly thereafter greatly expanded into its present size by Christian Pecoseños, presumably abandoning their rooms in the North Pueblo, bringing their house beams with them, and using many of the yellow adobe bricks taken from the Lost Church (Ivey 1996:4-26 to 4-27). The abandonment by a large segment of the North Pueblo inhabitants under the banner of a new faith probably was a source of friction to the remaining North Pueblo inhabitants that later helped flame the seeds of rebellion in 1680. With the Reconquest in the 1690s, pro-Spanish Pecoseños then took control. The center of power at Pecos in the 1600s apparently rested within South Pueblo (Ivey 1996:4:28). The last occupied rooms at Pecos before abandonment in 1838 were in the seven rows of rooms south of the old Franciscan-occupied rooms at the north end of the South Pueblo, attesting to the shift in residency from the North Pueblo to the South Pueblo.

Tree-ring dates do little to corroborate the above history, although a more thorough sampling, particularly of smaller elements employed for secondaries, splints, lintels, jambs, etc., might have marked many of the above constructions and remodelings. Kidder (1958:106) excavated the K-series rooms in 1920 in the South Pueblo and then a single east-west suite (Rooms 39, 62(63), 66, 67, 79, and 82) in 1924. Although, Kidder indicates Room 62 as part of this suite (some tree-ring samples also were labeled such), the Carr-Corbett map indicates that it should have been labeled Room 63. Adding to the numbering problem, however, is that the map has no Room 62 (nor, conversely, if Room 62 is correct, Room 63 is thus absent). For this report, Room 62 is discarded in favor of Room 63.

While many tree-ring samples from South Pueblo are not given a specific room provenience, samples obtained from 12 identified rooms yielded dates; 35 of the overall 37 dates were between 1420 and 1448 and all were cutting dates, mostly from roof vigas. The earliest date, obtained from deadwood, was only slightly earlier, 1415+ +v. The tight clustering of dates normally would indicate that construction of the northern rooms was mostly between 1433 and 1444—a period Kidder (1958:107) thought was too late for the ceramic evidence. In addition, three samples listed as "north of K-106" must be from Room C-C8. None of these dated, although two were juniper and suggest samples taken from the roof support posts still evident. These may be from the same juniper post group sampled in Room 8 by the author (FS 205-207; Table E.4). The only beams discovered during excavation that spanned two rooms came from Rooms K-106 and 107 (Kidder 1958:Figure 34); these rooms yielded the best set of dates from the South Pueblo and were found in extremely good condition when excavated. Unfortunately, they were left open for a future tourist exhibit, which never materialized, and fell to ruin (Ivey 1996:4-6).

Room C-C52 yielded the latest date of the group, 1673vv, which correlates temporally with the Spanish-era cultural material associated with the rooms around the period of the 1680 Revolt. Another late specimen occurred in Room C-C92, where a juniper post yielded a non-cutting date of 1525vv. It is indisputable that a major occupation of the South Pueblo occurred during the Spanish era. As Kidder (1958:107) observed, the tight clustering and preservation of the 1400s beams seem to allay suspicions that the beams were reused from the North Pueblo. Only a few like dates came from the North Pueblo—all apparently clustered in a few rooms on the west side of the quadrangle, but mixed with dates centuries later. While it is conceivable that entire roofs could have been moved en masse to the South Pueblo, we would expect that some upgrading of deteriorated timbers would have occurred and that stain, soot, and latilla- and wall-crush patterns from previous use would have alerted excavators to their reused condition. Unfortunately, the poor excavation records from 1939 and 1940 leave us with little to ponder.

At the south end of South Pueblo, a different pattern emerges. A number of tests for new dates to cross-verify those from the north end were conducted in 1957. All but one of the samples obtained from testing yielded dates later than those in the north end of South Pueblo. However, the majority were fragments or charcoal, which may not be roofing material. Besides a single non-cutting date at 1427, the remaining six non-cutting dates ranged between 1468 and 1488. Two dates from under the fallen floor in south-end Room 7 suggest structural wood cut at about 1488. Three other pieces from the room were piñon charcoal and probably represent firepit fuel. One dated at 1613, indicative of either late room use or later refuse deposited in the room.

The fine-tuning of events at Pecos Pueblo, however, is not possible given the present tree-ring sample. If smaller elements had been provenienced and sampled, then much more about remodelings and shifts in construction would have been known, resulting in more thorough insights into the corresponding cultural events.

Pecos Mission Church

History of Construction

The most prominent architecture in the valley is the massive mesilla-top ruin of the colonial Spanish mission church at the south end of the Pecos Pueblo mesilla (Figure E.2). Oral history and historical records provide a background in which to assess and correlate the tree-ring dates for the many constructions and repairs of the churches. There have been four churches near Pecos Pueblo, with the first, the Lost Church, built in about 1619/1620 below the north end of the mesilla by Fray Pedro Ortiz (Hayes 1974:19; Hewett 1943:142-143; Ivey 1996:3-9; Stubbs et al. 1957). Shortly afterwards, the church was relocated to the south end of the mesilla and a massive new church was constructed between 1622 and 1625/1629 (Hayes 1974:3-5; Ivey 1996:11-8; Levine 1999:19). This imposing structure, built in cruciform by Fray Pedro Ortega and Fray Andrés Juárez, was the largest mission in the Southwest until it was destroyed during the 1680 Pueblo Revolt. Excavations revealed that much of the convento had burned, along with the church roof, choir loft, door and window lintels, and the interior furnishings and woodwork (Ivey 1996:11-27).

Kessell (1980:223) graphically describes the mission destruction:

The destruction of the mammoth church at Pecos in the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 must have been a grand show. The Pecos Indians later blamed the Tewas. Whoever threw it down, they did so with a vengeance. As a start they probably heaped piñon and juniper branches and dry brush inside the cavernous structure. Then they set it afire. When the roof caught and began burning furiously, a strong draft was created through the tunnel of the nave from the clearstory window over the chancel thereby blowing ashes out the door. It was like a giant furnace. When it died down, the blackened walls of the gutted monster still stood. To bring it low Indians bent on demolition clambered all over it, like the Lilliputians over Gulliver, laboriously but jubilantly throwing down adobes, tens of thousands of them. Unsupported by the side walls, the front wall toppled forward facade down, covering the layer of ashes blown out the door.

It is uncertain, nevertheless, if the church and mission were completely burned at this time (Vetancurt in Hayes 1974:22-23, 32; Kubler 1972:85), before some architectural wood had been salvaged. It would have been difficult to fire the high roof, covered in thick adobe, without some dismantling before the fires described by Kessell could have taken place. During the Reconquest, a more modest temporary chapel was erected on the grounds between 1692 and 1696 along the south side of the destroyed church. Finally, the fourth and final church, the one now standing, was constructed by Fray Zeino between about 1705 and 1706 over the ruined foundations of the 1620's church. A century of strife and hard times followed (Kessell 1979; Levine 1999). A final remodeling occurred after 1776, probably between 1794 and 1798, when the sacristy and apse roofs were replaced (Ivey 1996:12-18 to 12-19) during a brief period of prosperity following peace with the Comanche in 1786. The last inhabitants of the mesilla left in 1838 for Jemez Pueblo leaving the pueblos and church to their fate.

Reuse of Mission Beams in Pecos Pueblo

Kidder encountered several squared timbers in his work in Pecos Pueblo, often in association with mold-made adobes (Kidder 1958:113) that may have been procured after the razing of the mission church during the 1680 Pueblo Revolt. At least nine or ten squared timbers are reported by Kidder (1958:112, 221, 264, Figures 31b, 32b, and 62) or were observed at the tree-ring lab from the North Pueblo (Table E.3). Six were found as kiva roof support posts in the interior plaza and in the West Roomblock: Guardhouse Kivas H and I beside the north and southwest passages, Kiva 7, Kiva 14, and an unknown north plaza kiva. Room 26 also contained a pair supporting the walls (Kidder 1958:112). Because of the provenience confusion between Rooms 26 and 30, it is suspected that the squared timber (KL-9) observed at the tree-ring lab from Room 30 (Table E.3) actually came from Room 26. If they were taken from the church/convento, then room construction or remodeling must have occurred after 1680 despite the four viga cutting dates for Rooms 26 and 30 at 1434. Given the 42-foot span of the 1620s church vigas, these must have been cut into shorter lengths for use in the pueblo. The other specimens also dictate some construction or remodeling after 1680 along the western side of the pueblo. Kidder (1958:219) believes that all the guardhouse kivas were probably built after 1600 and perhaps at least two (with squared beams) after 1680. No squared timbers came from the South Pueblo. According to Stubbs et al. (1957:84), squared vigas from the first and second churches were salvaged for use in the pueblo in Kiva 7 and used to repair sections of the west wing of the North Pueblo—these may also have been reused a third time in the post-Revolt church constructions.

Wood Implications of the Pueblo Revolt

The widespread fame and skill of the Pecos Pueblo carpenters (Chavez 1971; Kessell 1979:292) undoubtedly provided them with opportunities to obtain or to fashion their own squared vigas. Kidder (1958) failed to note the presence or absence of any decorative carvings on the squared timbers that would help confirm their mission origins. Little note has been made of squared timbers used in the convento except for steps (i.e., Ivey 1996:Appendix I-18, Appendix III-7). On the other hand, the rising discontent of the pueblo inhabitants with Spanish rule and the dichotomy between their respective religions may have discouraged use of squared timbers in the pueblo as markers of oppression until the church had been destroyed. The five squared beams from the pueblo observed at the tree-ring laboratory (a sixth was small and uncertain) had dimensions comparable to those from the mission church and are much larger than almost any other structural elements measured for the pueblos. Thus, a strong case can be made that these were all probably salvaged from the mission buildings.

The inevitable factionalism inherent in puebloan society would have smoldered with the Christianization and relocation of many North Pueblo inhabitants into the South Pueblo as suggested by Ivey (1996). Subsequent friction over the Franciscan presence probably allowed the North Pueblo inhabitants to gain brief control during the Pueblo Revolt. The South Pueblo exhibited no kivas, as might be expected for an occupation by Christianized Pecoseños, considering the Franciscans aversion to kiva ritual and ceremony. With the Pueblo Revolt in 1680, a spate of new kiva building took place throughout the Spanish province (Kidder 1958:238). This may have manifested itself in architectural symbols—squared timbers and black adobe bricks—taken from the mission after its destruction and reused in kivas in the North Pueblo. The apparent absence of these material goods in the South Pueblo remodelings may suggest tacit resistance by the Christianized Pecoseños to the anti-Spanish faction during destruction of the mission. Thus, the finding of mission beams primarily in the North Pueblo kivas suggest that such timbers symbolize Puebloan triumph over Catholicism and, perhaps, the center of anti-Spanish resistance. Although the tree-ring sample is poor, the absence of squared timbers in the South Pueblo might signal passive participation by the Christian faction during the Revolt and non-participation in the mission's destruction.

This interpretation might be strengthened if there were also an absence of salvaged black adobes used for remodeling in the South Pueblo. The interpretation, however, is weakened by the estimated dates (see Nash 1997) from three of the four squared timbers found in the North Pueblo that place cutting after the 1680 Pueblo Revolt. These three yielded estimated dates of 1682, 1694+, and 1722+, which places their harvest period at around 1700. The late dates, then, suggest timbers used for the 1705 or 1706 or later church constructions unless native carpenters uncharacteristically fashioned their own huge squared beams for use in the pueblo. The fourth timber, however, is estimated to have been cut at about 1626, placing it well within the possibility of a salvaged timber from the Ortega/Juárez 1620s church.

Church Deterioration and Reuse of Beams

With the abandonment of the pueblos and mission in 1838, many activities detrimental to the preservation of the buildings occurred. By the late 1700s and early 1800s, a Hispanic population had founded the small town of Pecos and encroached on the puebloan lands (Hall 1984; Hayes 1974:17; Levine 1999:25). Later in the mid-1800s, soldiers camped in its ruins, used it as a prison, and burned much of its wood; it also became a rest stop for travelers along the Santa Fe Trail while the local inhabitants scavenged and burned many of its materials (Hewett 1943:140-141; Kessell 1979:474; Kidder 1926:6, 1958:225; Weigle and White 1988:68).

For this report, the fate of the structural wood is of particular interest. The majority of the remaining in-situ original Pecos church viga stubs have been saw cut, attesting to their purposeful removal. Kidder (1924:87) remarks that locals habitually robbed the structures of beams and timbers for firewood, a sentiment echoed by Governor Prince (1915:328): "Every 'vecino' who desired a massive timber or one with ornamentation upon it, naturally came to the Pecos church as to mine wealth." Prominent in the destruction of the church, however, was a Polish immigrant, Martin Kozlowski, who came to the area as a Missouri volunteer in 1846. Nearby, he built a stagecoach stop and trading post (see below) using timbers from the mission roofs (Gustafson 1997:12; Hewett 1943:140-141; Kidder 1924:87; Lange and Riley 1966: 412; Weigle and White 1988:68). Between the 1840s and 1870s, much of the convento had been converted to corrals and sheep pens (Ivey 1996:9-12). By 1882, Father Mailluchet had fenced the cemetery and church for some protection (Lange et al. 1984:119, 504n757). But as late as post-World War II, a local Pecos dude ranch ran pothunting forays to the ruins (Ivey 1996:Appendix II-17). A detailed description of the structural wood and its loss is provided by Ivey (1996:12-20 to 12-25).

Finally, some remains were carted off to other buildings, churches, and museums: Kubler (1972:Figure 158) illustrates Pecos Mission corbels (see Las Colonias below) photographed in 1931 adorning the chapel sanctuary of Lower Las Colonias, located 10 km to the east, built without parish sanction in 1867 (Residents of Las Colonias 1867). If roofing was transported to Las Colonias, then surely others went to the church in the Village of Pecos, which burned at about 1900, destroying any possibility of verification. A new church was started in 1903. Other beams were secured for the National Museum of Natural History (see below), in Washington, DC, and the Museum of New Mexico in Santa Fe (Kessell 1979:133; Morley 1915:287). Others may have been carted off for vigas in Santa Fe homes, like the two documented from nearby San Miguel (see Table E.6) and the Pecos Mission beam relocated to the Hollenbeck home (Ivey 1996:12-30). Others (e.g., PEC-2) were cut for souvenirs (Figure E.6) and carted across the country (Douglass 1936).

Dede Snow (personal communication 2000) states that beam collecting was common among prominent Santa Fe anthropologists of the time; Morley (1915:289-290) describes many salvaged corbels ("capitals") used in Santa Fe buildings. Scavenging at Pecos was not dissimilar to that at Taos, where the discarded corbels and railings from the Taos Pueblo Mission church found their way into village homes (Hooker 1996:50-51). Vigas, corbels, and other timbers from the San Juan Pueblo Mission church were sold during remodeling and reinstalled in the Fred Harvey Hotel El Ortiz in Lamy, New Mexico (Anonymous 1914:335; Morley 1915:290).


By the late 1800s, photographs document the deterioration of the church (Hayes 1974:Figures 7, 9; Kessell 1979: 476-477; Kubler 1972: Figures 55, 66, and 90; Weigle and White 1988:66, 71), when many of the roof vigas and door lintels had collapsed. Ivey (1996) has recently completed a thorough detailed analysis of the church remains from the early photographic record. Clearly, the church was in a much-ruined state before the first repairs occurred in 1915 by Jesse Nusbaum of the New Mexico State Museum. Another round of stabilization took place in 1939 and 1940 by the Civilian Conservation Corps and the National Youth Administration led by Edwin Ferdon and William Witkind (Hayes 1974:xiii; Hewett 1943:226-229) after it became a state monument in 1935. Additional repairs were made to the church between 1966 and 1970 by Jean Pinkley and Alden Hayes (Hayes 1974:xiii-xiv). Stabilization of the mission buildings has continued since. Despite the scavenging and repairs, many original structural elements still exist, only one of which had been previously sampled before this project.

The Mission Sample

The earliest ("Lost") church (Figure E.2) was excavated by Stubbs et al. (1957), but only a small sample of wood was collected (Table E.5) and none dated. A total of 124 tree-ring samples have been collected from the last mission church (Figure E.7, Table E.5); of these 97 have dated (78 percent). By 1940, Witkind felt little original wood was left in the church (Ivey 1996:8-25), but of the total reported here, only 24 (19 percent) were modern stabilization replacements, although it is possible that original timbers were reset out of their original position. With some exceptions, modern replacements were obvious because of their condition, preservation, degree and method of treatment, and lack of surface ornamentation. While every piece of in-situ structural mission wood (n=116) was recorded in 1996-1998 and given field specimen (FS) numbers, not all were sampled. Those ignored (n=23; 22 percent) were small, tabular pieces (obviously modern), were too rotted, or were original roof boards in the northeast sacristy.

A few timbers collected in the nineteenth century ended up at the National Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC, where they were eventually sampled for tree-ring dating by A. E. Douglass. These had been collected by Dr. F. V. Hayden in 1869 or 1870 (KL-6 and KL-7) and by Colonel Luddington in 1870 (KL-8).

Many more samples were collected by Kidder during his excavations in 1925 (KL25/series) and by the New Mexico Historical Society in 1931 (RG series); at least one (RG 323), if not others, was obtained by W. S. Stallings in 1932. In 1939 and 1940, Marjorie Lambert and Deric O'Bryan collected samples for Gila Pueblo (GP-series) and then Stanley Stubbs in 1956 for the Laboratory of Anthropology (RG-series). Unfortunately, other than provenienced as "mission" samples, it is uncertain whether these previous samples came from the church or surrounding mission buildings. Large-size, squared beams, however, almost certainly derive from the church nave. These samples must have come from fallen timbers because only one of the recent samples collected in the church matched these earlier samples. The majority of the new samples (PEC-43 to PEC-134, 289-290) came from corbels, lintels, and wall intramurals (bonding beams)—architectural wood that was anchored into the walls and, thus, the least likely to have been dislodged in the past unless the walls had tumbled. Still, it is odd that more duplicate matches were not achieved given the present sample from the 28 vigas and support beams, which all have broken or were cut off next to the walls. The lack of matches suggests that the majority were cut for salvage rather than for tree-ring dating.

Dominguez's 1776 visit to the Pecos Mission documented the numbers of vigas employed in the post-Revolt church (Adams and Chavez 1956:209). The nave exhibited 38 vigas, the transept 20, the sanctuary (apse) 10, and the sacristy 10. None of the nave or transept vigas now remain except for the modern ones marking the division between the nave and transept. In 1880, however, vigas were photographed collapsed on the floor and on debris in the nave (Figure E.8) (Kubler 1972:Figure 55; Prince 1915:335) where fragments may have been sampled decades later. Ivey (1996:12-36) describes corbels littering the nave in an 1882/1883 photo by A. F. Randall, while even Witkind's 1940 excavations exposed several beams in the northeast and main sacristies and the convento (Ivey 1996:7-10 to 7-21). None of these were sampled. Stabilization has altered the original placement of vigas in the apse and sacristy because the vigas and viga holes do not now match the numbers reported by Dominguez.

Previous Sample Proveniences

Samples collected from the mission prior to this study can only be interpreted at face value without the added strength of provenience. Seventeen of these samples were squared and presumed to derive from the mission church. Many were badly weathered and just three exhibited carvings, thus suggesting viga fragments from the nave or transept. Only a single specimen was given specific provenience ("the balcony"; KL25/15), and this was the only sample matching a recent specimen from the tribune (balcony; PEC-74/FS 41). The lack of matches suggests that the remainder came from the church roof beams in the nave or transept—a probability supported by records at the tree-ring laboratory.

Interpreting the Sample Results

The recent sample has been interpreted by Jeffrey Dean (1998), Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, and his apt findings are paraphrased here. A few rules of interpretation, however, are necessary first. Several of the samples (Table E.5) include the transition year between the tree's heartwood and its sapwood. Because almost all of the mission elements were squared, eliminating an unknown number of outer rings and preventing an accurate assessment of the tree death (cutting) date, the number of sapwood rings provides a relative assessment of closeness to the true death date. In short, a large number of sapwood rings (i.e., between 50 and 90 rings) is cause to suspect the true outside death date is near. Samples with few, if any, sapwood rings must be far later than the given laboratory date, probably by a century or more (Nash 1997). When Nash's formula for estimating the number of sapwood rings once present was applied to the church sample, many produced results earlier than the known outer date. This problem is not unexpected given the statistical error generated by the Nash formula. Others extended the outer dates to periods within the known historical records when various churches were built. Thus, while many samples failed to fit the Nash formula, none produced large additions of rings to the given outer date. While our sample is small (n=43), it does suggest that ring loss is generally minimal. Given that the historic record indicates three major mission construction and renovation periods at about 1620, 1706, and 1795, one can assign many of the non-cutting early-dated samples to the proper construction period.

Provenience can also help in assessing probable tree death dates if a series of associated samples generate roughly similar dates—like those from the southeast sacristy. To minimize the amount of labor spent squaring beams, wood cutters would probably have felled trees close to the size needed for the desired squared construction element. Thus, although larger, older trees add many narrow outer rings during growth, which would be lost by squaring the element, we still might expect that with an adequate sample some clustering of dates near the actual death date might occur. Squared beams from a log cabin along the upper Pecos River near Terrero (see below) yielded dated samples with a loss of 6, 14, 16, and 51 rings from the probable cabin construction date. These pine beams were similar in size and growth age to those in the Pecos Mission. On the other hand, squared beams with massive loss of exterior rings suggest either excessive laborious trimming or trees cut for multiple products. The northeast sacristy exhibits a pine board planking covering the vigas (see specimen PEC-52, dating at 1473vv), although shakes covered the nave vigas (Ivey 1996:12-32). If boards were common for roofing, as Kubler (1972:43) suggests, then these may have been adzed from the same logs that produced the vigas, massively reducing the outer rings in the vigas and producing dates far earlier than the actual harvest event. On the other hand, boards and planks may have come from timbers specifically cut for such use. Of course, the single board sample is inadequate to suggest one alternative over the other.

Another aspect of the squared-beam problem arises from the samples themselves. Unless bark is present, cores are seldom given cutting or near cutting dates because the analyst rarely can determine such from the cores limited exterior surface (Table E.1). Note in the present sample how often "non-cutting" dates have been assigned to group clusters that almost certainly represent the actual cutting date. Field observation helps to assist in the outer ring determination. In all church cases, a near or actual outer surface noted in the field corresponds with other evidence for the near or actual cutting date. In the tables, the field observation is listed as a subscript to the given laboratory designation (e.g., 1500vvr, where "r" is the field observation). In some cases, the squared beam still exhibits a rounded edge that reflects the true or near-true outer tree surface. All samples from squared beams were taken from corner edges to obtain the fullest series of rings possible. Sometimes, observing the ring pattern at the end of the element allowed selection of the corner with the greatest number of rings present. Conversely, the inner date determination and its nearness to the pith ring is treated in the same manner as above—the field observation is listed as a subscript. These notations are important for assessing the true age of the tree (or specimen), the use of the heartwood/sapwood formula (Nash 1997), and the relative completeness of the specimen size (e.g., diameter).

Deadwood is sometimes found among the samples. These are marked by the laboratory with "+ +" outer rings for dated specimens, which are compressed and difficult to read—evidence of a stressed or slowly dying tree. One would not expect such trees to be suitable if they were long dead because of their poor physical properties and the difficulty of working them. In one large prehistoric sample, such trees routinely did not exceed dates a decade or two prior to their probable collection date (Windes et al. 1994); such is also the case here. Thus, although routinely dismissed as unworthy of temporal interpretation, deadwood samples may date relatively close to the actual harvest event.

A subscript of the field observation for both the outer ring and innermost ring has been appended to the laboratory dates (Table E.1). A subscript "C" or "I" for church samples, however, denotes, in the few rare cases, the laboratory-determined complete or incomplete condition of the outermost terminal ring at tree death. In some tables, the terminal ring is listed in a separate column. This ring identifies whether the tree was cut during the summer growing season ("incomplete" outer ring) or the dormant ("complete" outer ring) season (see Ahlstrom [1985], and Windes and McKenna [2001] for a fuller explanation).

Replacement beams reflect each of the three major periods of stabilization conducted at the present mission church. Major repairs were made for the south wall of the transept by Nusbaum in 1915, at which time, judging from photographs (Hayes 1974:Figure 10; Weigle and White 1988:66), the entire south door and the main sacristy beyond it required substantial stabilization. Dates between 1811vv and 1910vv for the first story south door lintels (Figure E.9) indicate that all (Field Specimens [FS] 59-65: PEC 92-98) were added during Nusbaum's work. On the other hand, the upper window lintels in the north (FS 1-6: PEC 43-48) and south (FS 67-71: PEC 99-102, and 289-290) walls (Figures E.9-E.10) probably are the original beams placed by Arranegui during the 1706 construction. The only tree-ring dates of 1706 from the sample came from these lintels. The PEC-47 sample (1706vv), whose heartwood/sapwood boundary is at 1632, is suggestive of a procurement date (Dean 1998). The present author noted that this church sample in the field as one of the few with a potential original outer surface. Other lintel dates of 1697vv and 1698vv (PEC-100 and PEC-45), with estimated harvest dates of 1707 and 1699, respectively, are supporting evidence for beam procurement in 1705 or 1706.

Fortuitously, a window lintel in the south wall (PEC-99) shares the same distinction: a 1706vv date with a field observation of an original outer surface, although it appeared modern. The lack of sapwood in this specimen indicates to Dean (1998) that it was procured much later (estimated at 1813+) than the date, probably an historic replacement by Nusbaum or from remodeling in the 1780s. Bennett's 1880 photographs (Kessell 1979:479; Weigle and White 1988:66) reveal that the outermost second-story south-window lintel or two had fallen out (PEC-99/FS 67 is next to an outermost lintel), while repairs to the interior were also carried up to the interior second-story south window lintel in 1915 (Hayes 1974:Figure 10). Both outer lintels (PEC-289 and -290) were noted as recent introductions during field work, but these dated at 1630vv and 1680vv (estimated cutting dates at 1673 and 1685+, respectively), attesting to post 1680s Revolt harvests and probably from the 1705/1706 church construction.

Finally, several of the corbels and support beams on both sides of the south wall of the transept were clearly recent additions (Figures E.9 and E.13). Among the balcony (tribune) supports, PEC 77-78 (FS 44-45) did not date, but they were clearly recent. PEC-83 (FS 50), however, dated at 1937vv, with a field observation of an original outer surface linking it to the Ferdon-Witkind stabilization period. Several nearby corbels set to carry vigas separating the nave and the transept also dated at 1937B (PEC 69-70, 72: FS 32-33, 35). These yielded complete terminal rings that place the felling of PEC-69 and -72 between the ponderosa pine non-growing seasons of 1937 and 1938 (between September 1937 and June 1938). Although Ferdon began his stabilization work in the fall of 1938 (Hayes 1974:xiii), the terminal rings indicate that beams were procured in anticipation of the project at least as early as the spring of that year and perhaps even late in 1937 (Dean 1998). The incomplete outer rings for PEC-83 (FS 50) and PEC-106 (FS 75), however, suggest that procurement occurred in the late summer/early fall of 1937, probably giving the beams a needed year to cure before installation. Two beams cut from the same tree dating at 1939vv (PEC-62 and —64: FS 25, 27; Figure E.11) installed in the northeast sacristy, however, indicate a final procurement by Witkind late in the stabilization project.

Nusbaum and Ferdon-Witkind also carried out repairs in the main sacristy. Dates of 1784vv and 1882vv reflect replacement by Nusbaum in 1915 of the main bounding beams under the corbels. Ferdon and Witkind later replaced several of the corbels with new ones, which yielded dates between 1921vv (see below) and 1937vv (PEC-106) (Figure E.13). During the present project, stabilization crews attested to the placement of PEC 114-115 corbels in the main sacristy, cut from the same tree, in 1966. These dated at 1921vv and 1928vv, however, and can only confirm placement during either the Ferdon Witkind or the Pinkley-Hayes stabilizations.

Four architectural clusters of dates remain from the sample for interpreting initial construction events: the three sacristies and the tribune between the south door and window. The best preserved are the partial roof remains in the northeast sacristy (Room 58; Figure E.11; FS 8-17). Ten of the eleven non-cutting dates were compatible with procurement and use in the early 1700s (Dean 1998). Those closest to their probable procurement in 1705 or 1706 dated at 1687vv, 1692vv, 1693vv, and 1695++vv. The latter represents deadwood, but fits the prehistoric model for deadwood collection (Windes et al. 1994) that suggests that only recent deadwood is suitable for monumental architecture. The estimated outer ring date for specimens with sapwood counts (see Nash 1997) yielded dates of 1571+, 1665, 1710, 1711, and 1723+, which suggest that the latter three, at least, were derived from the 1705/1706 church construction (as suggested above). The sacristy still contains a partial roof covering of boards over the vigas with dirt on top. These boards (FS 10-15) are clearly original based on the one sample that yielded a date of 1473vv (PEC-52). Dominguez (Adams and Chavez 1956:251) observed that this room or the southeast sacristy was used to store church belongings.

The southeast sacristy (Room 57; Figure E.12) yielded eight non-cutting dates from the first story roof that probably came from the early 1700s, although it is possible they were reused (Dean 1998). As a group, all produced dates in the 1400s (1) and early 1500s (7). The latter are remarkably temporally consistent for beams that exhibit massive ring loss: 1522, 1528, 1529, 1537, 1539, 1542, and 1556. All estimated cutting dates (Table E5; see Nash 1997) except one place these in the mid- to late-1600s, evidently salvaged from the mid 1600s convento construction after the 1680 Revolt. The main sacristy north wall (Figure E.13) revealed a similar set of clustered early non-cutting roofing dates to those in the adjacent southeast sacristy suggesting origins in the 1620s: 1466, 1504, 1506, 1515, 1523, 1527, and 1539. None contained sapwood, indicating massive ring loss, but estimated dates from these range between 1570+ and 1639+ and may represent beams salvaged from the destruction of the 1620s church during the 1680s Pueblo Revolt, if not from remodeling in the mid 1600s.

A different set of dates is evident for the tribune (Figures E.9 and E.14) on the opposite side of the baptistery north wall (south wall of the transept), where dates of 1521, 1526, 1532, 1549, 1567, 1572, 1577, 1579, 1602, 1650, 1659, and 1665 were recorded. Dean (1998) placed the tribune supports to the early eighteenth century based on the heartwood/sapwood boundary for PEC-85 and PEC-86 (FS 52-53). On the other hand, the spread of dates could reflect mixed elements from constructions in both the 1620s and the early 1700s. PEC-85, dating at 1659 with 54 sapwood rings, could easily be a 1690s or early 1700s element. But PEC-86, dating at 1521 with 37 sapwood rings and an estimated outer ring date of 1579, suggests a much closer affinity to an early 1620s procurement. Otherwise, it would have an unusually high number of 222 sapwood rings to place it within the 1706 era—this for a element that now exhibits only 102 rings, well within the normal range for the overall sample.

The potential reused elements in the southeast and main sacristies, suggestive of origins in the 1620s construction(s), have two things in common that the later (e.g., probable 1705/1706 construction) groups do not share. None of the potential 1620s specimens contained sapwood and many had inner dates in the 1300s. Trees that started growth in the 1300s might be explained by procurement of extraordinarily old trees or that their growth ages were relatively normal and the early inner dates reflect trees cut in the early 1600s.

The temporary construction of the third church in the 1690s period has not generally been considered here because of its closeness in time to the 1705/1706 construction. Without cutting dates, distinguishing the two episodes is not possible here except when the non-cutting dates post-date 1696. Only some of the sample had sapwood determinations that made it possible to estimate the original outer date. Many of these lacked a pith date, indicating a loss of heartwood rings, although the loss is probably not substantial. Nevertheless, an accurate heartwood ring count is essential to the Nash (1997) date estimation formula; estimated dates appended with a plus symbol (+) are under-estimated.

Forty-three of the original mission pine beams yielded estimated dates ranging between 1565 and 1745+. Only one produced an estimated date younger than the given laboratory date (1683 verses 1706). A small group of six estimated dates in the late 1500s suggest origins from the initial Lost Church or the 1620s church built by Ortega and Juárez that was destroyed during the 1680s Pueblo Revolt. This group of dates is separated from all other estimates by 32 years but even with the standard error of 24 years for ponderosa pine (Nash 1997:265), it still falls mostly decades short of the anticipated harvests for the 1620s church construction. Three of the six, however, had missing heartwood rings, while the latest two specimens, with 24 rings added, would date at 1610 and 1603, not unreasonable for 1620s harvests. Given the size and shape of the beams, they only could have been procured after the arrival of the Spanish at the pueblo rather than from reused Puebloan beams.

The remaining 37 samples date between 1618+ and 1745+. Dropping those with missing heartwood rings reduces the span to 1665 and 1739. Of these, most (14 of 17; 82 percent) date between 1683 and 1717, as would be expected for timbers derived from the Fray Zeino church construction between 1705 and 1706 and keeping in mind the standard error for the pine calculations. Only a few dates in the overall batch suggest beams that might have derived from later remodeling in the 1790s.

Another way to interpret timbers from potential 1620s reuse is to examine the tree growth. In the overall sample from the Upper Pecos Valley, large-diameter pine timbers seldom exhibit growth over 200 years. In fact, a large percentage are less than a century old before being harvested. The church sample reveals no timber element over 265+ years, with the oldest modern sample (after 1900) revealing 144+ rings. Of course, all these have lost an unknown number of outside rings but how much loss is reasonable? Use of the proxy date of 1706 for the present church construction (with perhaps some beam replacement at about 1790), means that the 1500s non-cutting sample clusters from the southeast and main sacristies have lost between 150 and 184, and 167 and 202 rings, respectively (mean of 170 and 187 rings, respectively). This ring loss added to the remaining material pushes the sample (n=13) age between 228 and 355 years (mean=299 years)—excessively old trees considering the overall valley sample. If the timbers had come from the 1620s construction, however, the ring loss would drop about 80 rings, putting the overall growth pattern more in line with the valley sample. Obviously, if these had been harvested during the 1780s/1790s remodeling, the growth would be even more askew.

None of the cutting dates from the valley sample (70 pine elements over 18 cm diameter) exceeded 175 years of age (giving some allowance to those that did not quite have the pith ring) except one (at 250 years), although a few non-cutting and undated samples exceeded 200 years (7 of 109). Most (60 percent) were under 100 years of age. Many very large vigas from the Pecos and San Miguel village samples exceeded the size of the mission timbers and yet were less than a century old. Although some old trees were harvested, it would be extremely unusual to have selected a group that were all extremely old—such a sample does not exist in the pueblo nor the Terrero samples, where we might expect old trees to have been still available before logging was prominent. Of course, the vexing problem of cutting boards from the exterior of squared timbers remains an unresolvable factor. The single board sample from the church (PEC-52) has lost so many rings (estimated outer date of 1571+) that it might be assumed that it came from the interior of the original tree—that is, it suggests entire logs were cut into boards rather than that boards were removed from just the exterior of viga-destined elements.

On a final note, four small-diameter, unshaped pieces of wood once projected from the mission walls. These were designated as wall pegs, although most were high in the walls (277, 340, 412, and 608 cm above the ground) and only one dated. PEC-68 (FS-31), a peg 608 cm up on the west facing wall in the northeast area of the transept (Figure E.14), dated at 1660vv. Despite its non-cutting date, it is a mere 8-cm diameter element with 43 growth rings. It was field recorded as having the original outside surface, and it is clearly a cutting or near-cutting date. This may mark a minor addition to the church or part of a wider effort of some construction in adjacent buildings ushered in by the new missionary, Juan González, in 1660. A second story was added to the convento in 1655 or 1663 (Kessell 1979; Ivey 1996:Chapter 11:17, 19), possibly when an adjacent hacienda complex was built (White 1996:352).

Overall, the present structural elements in the Pecos Mission Church represent a mixture of origins. The majority probably date from the 1705/1706 construction of the present church, along with some modern additions from stabilization. However, as a group, elements from the main and southeast sacristies probably came from church buildings built before the 1705/1706 church and may represent elements salvaged from the 1680s church destruction. These appear to represent materials from two construction episodes: from the massive 1620s construction and from expansion of the mission in the mid-1600s.

The Convento

Tests and excavations in the Pecos convento (Figure E.7) started with William Witkind in 1939-1940, followed by Jean Pinkley, Alden Hayes, and Gary Matlock in the 1960s and 1970s, then Larry Nordby and Todd Metzger in the 1980s and Jake Ivey and Courtney White in the 1990s. Several pieces of wood were documented by the author in 2000, although notes on the majority of these attesting to their originality were largely absent. Only Kiva 23, in the convento, was excavated during the last five decades. Juniper ventilator tunnel roof slats were discovered by Matlock in 1971 (Ivey 1996:Appendix IV-61), the only wood noted for the ventilator. Several rotted upright posts between 15 and 20 cm in diameter (Ivey 1996:Appendix IV-61) were found in the north kiva wall, but were left unsampled. The use of a specific mortar and black adobes suggested to Ivey (1998:138-140) that kiva construction by Franciscans between 1620 and 1640 and may have been used as a teaching facility for new converts to Christianity.

Several posts in the adobe convento room walls or fragments scattered around the stone-lined postholes in Area F were sampled in 2000. The loose ramada posts rotting in the stone-lined postholes and lying on the ground nearby probably are from the Witkind excavations, based on the single dated specimen of 1885vv, which yielded an estimated cutting date after 1926. The post incorporated in the wall of Room 22, may also date to the same period; this specimen dated at 1932rG, the tree-death and probable harvest date. Finally, the rotted specimen lying within Room 11 dated at 1558vv, indicative of a former colonial piece. Based on sapwood rings, its estimated date of 1647+ places it during the mission renovations of about 1660. Ivey (1996:Appendix 11-1) records that Victor Ortiz of the park staff found the beam during excavations in Room 11 for Jean Pinkley in 1966 and Mr. Ortiz re-confirmed its identity in the 1990s.

Early Hispanic Settlement along the Upper Pecos River

The Hispanic settlement of the Upper Pecos Valley followed the Puebloan decline at Pecos, creating a new chapter in the history of the region. Official sanction was first given for settlement in 1784 when a large land grant and colonization was authorized for San Miguel del Vado (Saint Michael of the Ford), located 23 highway miles (37 km) southeast of Pecos along the Pecos River. Despite a lack of present-day name recognition, this settlement became one of the most important towns in northern New Mexico in the nineteenth century, becoming the sixth largest town in the state (Bancroft 1889:342). Soon, satellite communities at San Jose and San Juan, among others, were established nearby, and settlement slowly extended north along the river to Pecos, eventually reaching Terrero and the upper headwaters of the Pecos River by the late 1800s.

In 1973-1974, Gary Matlock, the National Park Service archaeologist at Pecos National Monument, instigated a tree-ring study of some of the earliest structures in the Village of Pecos and the Village of San Miguel del Vado to supplement John Kessell's (1979) work on Pecos and to investigate the extent of early settlement. Matlock's work was expanded for the present report. In addition, in 1974, the Historical American Buildings Survey (HABS) planned aerial photography of the two villages and selected structures; only those at San Miguel were completed.

San Miguel was one of many Hispanic settlements established along the frontier, which served to stimulate growth along the Pecos Valley (Levine 1999:90). The village was built as a plaza community, surrounded on all sides by houses with windowless outer walls and access into the plaza through heavy gates. By 1803, non-Indian colonists, along with some Pecos Indians, gen&icute;zaros, and a few converted Comanche, had settled along the Pecos River at San Miguel (Boyd 1967; Hall 1984:5), marking the death knell for Pecos Pueblo. Subsequently, San Miguel became the parent town of most if not all villages founded in the Upper Pecos before the arrival of the Americans (Nostrand 1992:77). The town later served as the prominent port-of-entry for travelers and goods of the Santa Fe Trail entering Old Mexico from the United States. By 1841, a few traders were living at San Miguel, where profits could be made by storing and repacking goods to avoid tariffs at the customs house in Santa Fe (Boyd 1971:22).

An expanding Hispanic community at San Miguel and a population decline at Pecos Pueblo finally forced the Pecos church offices to be relocated to San Miguel in 1829 (Levine 1999:26). When the United States took possession of New Mexico in 1846, the grant fell into the hands of unscrupulous land dealers, depriving the settlers of their common lands and resources and, eventually, the livelihood of the town itself. San Miguel served as the county seat until it was moved to Las Vegas (founded in 1835) in 1864 (Nostrand 1992). By the early 1920s, only about 200 people still inhabited the town from a high of at least 2,000 listed in the 1827 census (Boyd 1971:19). Photographs of some of the older San Miguel buildings are illustrated by Boyd (1971), whereas HABS drawings of the Territorial House and the warehouse can be viewed on the WEB at ammem/hhhtml/hhhome.html (search for HABS NM-139). Most structures, however, are in serious disrepair, with some roof collapse.

During the 1995-1997 survey of Pecos National Historical Park, four Hispanic homesteads occupied in the 1800s along the Pecos River were documented (Figure 10.6). Cultural materials on these sites often included an array of wood construction materials from house remains, fencing, and other features. Three of these sites, evenly spaced and adjacent to one another near the south end of the park, exhibited enough wood remains to warrant tree-ring sampling. All specimens were sawn for sampling at these sites because of the poor condition of the wood.

The Sample

One-hundred and twenty-eight samples were obtained from San Miguel, 61 from the Village of Pecos, one from Las Colonias, 27 from the Terrero homestead, and 65 from the three homesteads in Pecos National Historical Park (Tables E.6-E.8). Two other timbers from San Miguel were found in the Amelia Hollenbeck House in Santa Fe but their former location within San Miguel is unknown. These two timbers were taken from San Miguel by J. G. Meem in 1932. Ten structures in the Village of Pecos were sampled in 1974, generally a few vigas or wall logs from each structure. Only two structures were resampled in 2000-2001, while three have disappeared in the last 25 years. Those from the Village of Pecos came from several buildings reputed to be old and scattered on both sides of the Pecos River and in nearby Rincon.

A final sample was obtained by the author in December 1994 from Terrero, 19 km up the Pecos River from the Village of Pecos, during a U.S. Forest Service land dispute with descendants on Christino Rivera's homestead tract, settled in the 1880s. This sample provides evidence for settlement in the Upper Pecos River canyon by the late 1800s and provides a small sample from which to assess the interpretation of construction events from squared logs, similar to those used in the Pecos Mission Church.

Overall, this far-flung sample from scattered old buildings in three different communities along the Pecos River reflect the historical record of Hispanic settlement (e.g., Levine 1999). Despite oral tradition that Pecos Pueblo and Mission were scavenged for beams in the mid-1800s, evidence for this was not confirmed by the present sampling. Kidder's (1924:87) notes that locals ravaged the ruins for firewood cannot be discounted, although if the beams had been in good condition, as undoubtedly many were considering the pueblo was used in 1846 for army quarters, and there were large, ornately carved mission beams available, it is probable that many would have been curated and reused for structural purposes, as Prince (1915:328) implies. Only a single specimen, from the Martinez House at St. Anthony's Parish, yielded a 1700s date (none were earlier), but an unknown number of outer rings were missing. The sampling was sparse, however, so that unsampled early beams are still profuse in many old buildings. Unverified rumors also suggest that some beams from the Pecos church were taken to Santa Fe and reused in buildings there.

San Miguel del Vado

The Village of San Miguel was the earliest Hispanic settlement in the Pecos Valley but was in an exposed frontier area subject to intrusions by French and American traders and from raids by Indians off the Staked Plains to the east. By 1821, the perilous position of the village necessitated a resident detachment of about 21 soldiers (Spanish Archives of New Mexico, Santa Fe, microfilm roll 21, frame 419). But even the Navajo, located far to the west, raided the village, leaving five dead in November 1843 (Locke 1992:195). At one time, the entire plaza might have been enclosed with buildings and by a defensive wall (Julian Bustamonte, village resident, personal communication 2001) to resist raids. A 1936 Soil Conservation Service aerial photo shows two plazas in the village, a large central one and a smaller one in front of the church, which may reflect the original layout of the village. Wood sampling at San Miguel concentrated around the old central plaza east of State Road 3 and in the church (Figure E.15, Table E.6).

The Church

The fortress-like church (Figures E.16-E.19) may have been built first to serve as protection. Records suggest that the church was built between 1805 and 1811 (Boyd 1971:17; Hill 1992:159-160; Kessell 1979: 122-123, 550n14), while a state historical sign on State Road 3 in the front states construction occurred in 1806. Bandelier (in Lange and Riley 1966:351), however, states that the church was "begun" in 1796, which has some support from new tree-ring dates. The bell towers were rebuilt in 1866 (Kubler 1972:122-123), although the present bell in the south tower was cast in 1830. The exterior plaster was recently removed from the church in preparation for a new lime-stucco coat, which has not been added as of January 2002. This work exposed a former blocked door in the north wall and the original round steel-ax-cut choir-loft vigas visible above the front east door (Figure E.19). Under the pitched roof are the original roof vigas but these are now covered by insulation and planked over. A large square bonding beam above the east door and below the vigas is carved with a "rope" design (as described by the caretaker) symbolizing some aspect of Christ's crucifixion, perhaps the ropes that tied him to the cross or the crown of thorns. Permission granted by Father Ortiz allowed recent sampling of the church before the renovations took place.

The round nave and choir-loft vigas appear as physically distinct sets of harvested beams (Figure E.19). The earliest church dates derive from the four choir-loft samples, the underlying bonding beam set within the east wall, and the north door lintel, all which dated in the 1790s or earlier. Field observations suggest that most samples were taken with the original exterior rings or close to them, yet analyses reveal that the two groups of beams were not harvested at the same time. Thus, one of two probable interpretations are likely. The underlying bonding beam, dated at 1793vv but inscribed "1805" suggests that the beam was installed in 1805, but still predates the nave harvest dates by two years (see below). If the inscription is reliable, then the choir loft beams may have been harvested in the late 1790s but installed in 1805 or later. Two choir-loft beams (SMV-20 and -21; FS 2 and 4) were cut in 1769 and 1797, while two others (SMV-23 and -24; FS 8-9) were probably cut at about 1793. The diverse harvest dates for this batch suggests that the group was not cut for a single construction episode. Because the church probably was the first village structure to be built, these early beams may have come from some non-local structure(s). The remodeling at the Pecos Mission Church between 1794 and 1798 (Ivey 1996:12-18 to 12-19) and the subsequent deterioration of the mission is a likely source for the San Miguel beams, especially in view that the Catholic Church was responsible for the care of both buildings.

On the other hand, the choir-loft beam dates match Bandelier's assertion (in Riley and Riley (1966:351)) that construction started in 1796. The early construction also is supported by mention of a chapel that was present before license was given to build a church in 1804 (see below). Given the small sample, it cannot be determined which interpretation is most likely. Were the beams reused from some other structure elsewhere and placed in 1805 or do the dates mark the initial construction in the late 1790s?

Eight of the nine sampled nave and apse vigas and one sanctuary corbel dated at 1807 (a fifth was 1798+ + B), although all but one reflect a "+" symbol that indicates one or two years may have been missing from the outer ring dates. The presence of one 1807 date without a plus (SMV-103/FS 72), however, suggests that there are no missing rings and that all the trees were cut in 1807 (Dean 2001). The mix of complete and incomplete outer growth rings places the cutting of these timbers at the end of the ponderosa pine growing season in August or September 1807 (Dean 2001). Dates from the nave seem to confirm Boyd's (1967) notes from the Archives of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe (Baptismal Records for Pecos 1776-1829) for a license to build a church at San Miguel in 1804, where a chapel had already been started. Actual construction was ongoing by at least 1805, however, based on a letter detailing the refusal of a local resident to the order to help with the church construction (Kubler 1972:105).

Twelve pairs of massive round vigas (25-36.5 cm in diameter) and rectangular, undecorated corbels roofing the sanctuary (visible in the attic; Figure E.19) are salvage materials taken from other architectural sources. Most reveal weathering and considerable variation in size and shape; three exhibited worn mortise holes in their ends. However, of the nine samples, the four latest dated at 1816 or 1817, which marks the harvest date or shortly afterwards. We have no records suggesting remodeling at the Pecos Mission in this era, although it would have been the closest source for such materials in the early nineteenth century. Thus, the 1816/1817 sanctuary beams and corbels suggest a re-roofing episode in 1817 or shortly afterwards. Given the lengthy period over which the church was built and remodeled, it is not surprising that the historical documents are unclear as to the specific church construction date.

The Plaza Structures

Eight of the old plaza buildings have been dated, although more remain to be mapped and sampled. These eight structures have yielded a range of beam harvest events spanning 1807 to 1936, but with the majority clustering between the 1820s and 1870s, when most of the village may have been built. The earliest village dates come from Structure 8, an abandoned house across State Road 3 from the church (Figure E.20) and attached to Structure 7. Beams in Room 7 were cut during the non-growing season of 1807, meaning that the harvest occurred sometime in the late fall of 1807 to early spring in 1808. The Room 7 beams may have come from remodeling the church sanctuary at about 1817, when some sanctuary beams and corbels from presumably the 1807 harvest period were removed in lieu of more massive timbers. The older beams, about 9 m long, could have been cut into shorter lengths for reuse in house construction, but only one piece from each cut would have spanned Room 7's 5.3 m width. Room 7 beams differ from the in-situ 1807 church beams, however, in procurement season, lack of "+" rings, and the presence of bark. Nevertheless, some link between construction of Room 7 and remodeling at the church can be suspected.

The long subdivided room (Rooms 1-5) later attached to the north of Room 7 yielded two cutting events. Two vigas on the ground within the structure (FS 16 and 18) dated in 1823 (SMV-97 and 98), consistent with building elsewhere on the plaza. Although several in situ beams were also sampled, only two dated (SMV 96 and 96; FS 6 and 10), and these suggest remodeling of the structure after 1898. More rooms were abutted to Room 7 on the south (not sampled) and to the east (Structure 7). Structure 7 (Figure E.20) yielded three rooms (Rooms 3, 6, and 7) with visible ceiling beams, but the roof of Room 3 was rebuilt in about 1990 using beams taken from a building in a nearby village (El Ancon) to the north. Those beams suggest construction in the late 1870s or 1880s. Rooms 6 and 7, with beams physically distinct from the Room 3 vigas, also suggest construction in the 1870s.

The largest house complex still existing is the Territorial House (also called the Custom's House although it never served in this capacity) comprising Matlock's Structures 2-4, in part, on the northeast side of the plaza (Figures E.15, E.21). This house, consisting of 16 rooms enclosing a courtyard, had wagon access directly onto the Santa Fe Trail. It served as a saloon and dance hall and later as a general store, becoming the social hub of the town through the Great Depression in the 1930s (Boyd 1971:24). Behind the house were quarters for servants and animals, storage for hay, and a blacksmith shop. The building may also have housed a detachment of about 20 presidial troops by the 1820s (Harry Myers of the Santa Fe Trail Association and the National Park Service, personal communication 2001). Some renovations to the buildings were made in the 1970s. The adjacent Santa Fe Trail crossed the Pecos River nearby as it entered the village from the east and passed by the church on its way north to Pecos and Santa Fe.

This multi-room structure reflects construction in the 1820s, with additions in the 1830s, 1840s, and 1850s. A few 1820s dates from Rooms 1-5, bordering the alley and the Santa Fe Trail to the north, suggest that these and Rooms 12-14 were the earliest built. Room 6 appears to have been an open space later roofed over with 1936 piñon logs. Room 7 was reroofed with fresh juniper splints that appear recent but the 1830s vigas may be original. Reroofing or replacement beams cut in the early 1930s also came from Rooms 2 and 5, suggesting major renovations at the house.

Finally, a series of smaller buildings, some once part of larger structures that have disappeared except for stub walls and foundations, were sampled (Figures E.15, E.20). Structure 1, consisting of four rooms with large vigas often flattened on one side, presumably to facilitate a covering of boards, yielded dates in the 1860s. Bark dates in 1868 and 1869 indicate that all were harvested during the pine summer growing season, with Structure 1 built in 1869 or shortly afterwards.

Structure 5, once part of a larger hacienda building, contains three intact rooms with sequential beam dates suggesting construction (Room 1) in the 1830s and additions in 1834 (Room 2) and 1837 or later (Room 3). This building exhibits the most varied roof construction of any in the village. Room 1 was set with six widely spaced beams spanning the east-west walls. Room 2 was roofed with a multitude of closely-spaced beams also running east-west. Finally, Room 3 was composed of a multitude of beams wedged tight against one another and running north and south. Unlike the other rooms, beams in Room 3 had been carefully stripped of bark with a draw knife. Room 3 also had a rare south-facing window, lined with boards but partially screened by a series of short upright piñon posts (rejas). This style of window has been observed in several buildings in the village (e.g., Figure E.16).

Structure 6, isolated along the east edge of the plaza near the Pecos River, consists of a single room. It was roofed with beams and splints cut in the fall of 1851, undoubtedly its construction date. One beam was cut between 1837 and 1839 and represents a reused timber. The northernmost beam, cut in the summer of 1891, is clearly a later replacement.

The San Miguel buildings are an interesting mix of roof construction styles, reflecting temporal trends and individual tastes if not family-taught patterns. The earliest roofs are closely patterned after Puebloan techniques, with widely spaced beams covered by splints and mud. In no case were secondary poles used as an intermediate construction step common to pre-historic Southwestern construction. Most beams were trimmed with a draw knife, although the thoroughness of this varied, often allowing a bark date to be obtained where narrow strips or fragments of bark were left. Few elements were left with the bark intact. Late constructed rooms, probably dating to the late 1800s when saw mills were common, reflect a trend towards the use of board-like beams. These were set with the narrow end vertical and inscribed with grooves parallel to the edges in a decorative fashion that is similar to the early squared beams at the Pecos Mission. A switch from a splint covering to one of boards over the vigas also occurs but dendrochronological sampling from boards and milled beams has not been attempted.

The sampled plaza buildings (Figure E.20) reflect similar constructions and repairs as those found at the Village of Pecos in the 1800s. The concentration of cut timbers in the 1830s through the 1860s might be expected for village expansion in response to increased traffic along the Santa Fe Trail. The present sample, however, fails to support widespread construction in the 1820s or earlier at San Miguel that would correspond to the nearly 2,000 residents listed in the 1827 census (Boyd 1971:19). While the census probably reflects the regional population, it does suggest that San Miguel would have been a thriving village by the 1820s. Oddly, no dates have been obtained that indicate any house beam harvests in the 1810s, although a scattering of dates between 1821 and 1824 indicate some construction had started at San Miguel. Between the 1830s and 1870s, however, beam harvests for building construction were common. At San Miguel there is a long period without evidence of wood harvesting before two structures reveal possible replacement vigas cut in the 1930s.

Evidently, there has been some resurgence in population since 1974, with a number of new houses and trailers added to the plaza area. It appears that residents have generally abandoned the older homesteads or have used them for storage and, in many cases, have moved into trailers instead. None of the eight house buildings sampled at San Miguel are now used as residences.

Like Pecos, beams from San Miguel village found their way into distant towns as new roofing. Two vigas from somewhere in the village ended up in Amelia Hollenbeck's Santa Fe home, which was full of timbers from other places, including a huge inscribed dated beam from the Bernalillo convento (Dede Snow, Laboratory of Anthropology, email communication 2000) and a beam from the Pecos Mission (Ivey 1996:12-30). As more samples are obtained, a more thorough picture of construction and beam movement will become apparent.

Park Homesteads

Standing architectural remains were lacking at the three homesteads sampled in Pecos National Historical Park. Instead, wood was sparsely scattered about the site or mostly limited to upright posts marking corrals and other enclosed areas. The largest site, Pecos-540 (Figures 10.7, 10.8, E.22), just below the Cañon de los Trigos, fits the description for the original homestead in the area in perhaps as early as 1816 (though see Chapter 10). This was described as having small summer shacks (jacales) located at the bend of the Pecos River ten miles below the Pecos ciénaga (Hall 1984:26). By 1821, these locales had small gardens and some livestock, both which would have required fencing. Dates between 1858 and 1911 were determined from the survey artifact assemblage (Table 10.5). The site yielded 40 post stubs (Table E.7; not all were sampled), of which many linear sets, sometimes in pairs, were found. Paired posts suggest railed fencing of corrals and yards, while short linear sets associated with adobe and masonry mounds may have been porch and wall supports. All homestead specimens were juniper, presumably obtained in the immediate site areas. Many samples revealed complacent growth, unusual for junipers, that is detrimental for tree-ring dating. Three posts from the same possible corral dated at 1796+vv, 1807++vv, and 1832vv. Although all three posts were badly weathered, the latest date appears reasonable, in light of the artifact assemblage, for some activity at the site after 1832. This date would correspond with the interpretation given in Chapter 10 that most of the visible features relate to the 1840s occupation of the site.

A solitary sample from Pecos-541 (Figures 10.15-10.16), at the confluence of the Pecos River and Arroyo de los Torreones, dated, yielding a surprising date (despite much outer ring loss) of 1542vv. This date suggests that the specimen might have been procured from deadwood or from Pecos Pueblo. The latter origin seems unlikely given the large size of the post, distance to the ruins, and the availability of juniper within the immediate area. This site produced an artifact assemblage dated between 1865 and 1933 (Table 10.5). Finally, Pecos-175 (Figures 10.11-10.12), yielded no tree-ring dates. Samples were scattered near the stone structures and some distance away, perhaps in a corral. Survey artifacts suggested a temporal range between 1873 and 1928 for occupation of this homestead.

Village of Pecos

Along the Pecos River just upstream from the homesteads is the Village of Pecos. This village is dispersed into three sub-communities: Pecos, East Pecos on the eastern side of the river, and Rincon, just north of the village. Gary Matlock sampled nine of the 15 reputed oldest structures in Pecos (Figure E.23, Table E.8); additional samples were obtained recently from two of them. Three others that Matlock sampled no longer exist, with the most recent (PV 6) removed in May 2001 for a new trailer home. Without records of the specimen field condition where the samples were procured, it is not possible to assess the non-cutting dates with the possible harvest dates given the small samples. In addition, with reuse and remodeling, the small samples fail to provide the resolution necessary for detailed interpretations. Three community structures were sampled: a grist mill (PV 3 on the map; now gone), the Catholic church rectory garage (PV 9), and an old post office (PV 10). Of these, the religious building might be considered initially the most important for a Catholic community, and, therefore, the earliest structure, followed by the grist mill when enough grain was produced to necessitate community grinding, and then, finally, connections to the outside world with an official post office. Tree-ring dates follow this predicted temporal progression, with dates in the 1830s, 1880s, and 1913s, respectively, for the three structures.

Traditionally, structures were made with flat, dirt roofs (Figure E.24), but by the 1880s, pitched metal corrugated roofs became common (Weber 1972:19); often these were placed over the original flat roofs, thus preserving them. There would have been some prestige in having a pitched roof because it precluded problems of snow removal and the inevitable rain of dust dropping from a flat, dirt roof. Pitched roofs were built of imported lead and tin terneplate as early as 1850 in Santa Fe (Nostrand 1992:123) but it is unknown when smaller towns, like San Miguel and Pecos, constructed them. In 1844, at least, San Miguel had only flat roofs (Boyd 1971: 19).

The initial settlement of Pecos is poorly known (Weber 1972:25), but may have occurred by the 1820s. Pecos was a thriving community by the 1830s centered around the largest hacienda and central plaza. The county census of 1860 (Chapter 10, this volume), reports four mills (although some were for non-food products), many farmers, and a preference for corn crops. By the 1880s, hard times had apparently hit forcing the population to become more occupationally diversified. Perhaps, our sample mill was new or remodeled at this time—the tree-ring evidence is too sparse to know. The 1920 census appears to reflect the population "high water mark" at Pecos, and this is tentatively reflected in the new or remodeled houses with tree-ring dates in the 1910s, including the post office. But by 2001, a new influx of settlement occurred. The earliest dates overall came from the rectory garage, which was probably built at about 1835 or 1837. Afterwards, dates tentatively suggest a steady span of community remodeling and expansion through the 1800s.

Besides the rectory garage, only the Martinez hacienda (PV 7 in Figure E.23) next to the present Pecos parish was resampled, with 25 new samples added to the 9 previous ones (Table E.8). This structure (Figure E.25) has a pitched roof over it protecting the original flat dirt roof. The first rooms (Rooms 1-3, 5, and 8), built in an L-shape, were constructed at about 1840, with Room 4 added at about 1848. One viga, from Room 2, was a non-cutting date at 1763 and may have come from a Pecos Mission building—the only one in the village sample. Rooms 6, 7, and an unnumbered corner room may have followed in 1851 or shortly afterwards. Roof vigas in Room 1 dated between 1833 and 1841, although a series of small horizontal poles stacked over the north end of the vigas yielded bark dates at 1865 and 1868. These dates indicate some sort of secondary roof construction along the north side supported by two upright juniper posts. Otherwise, the room vigas were covered by planks and dirt. Eventually the interior courtyard was enclosed, probably early in the construction, but the other structures that form it are owned separately and could not be sampled. The interior eastern portico yielded dates in the 1840s and at 1850 for posts and vigas visibly older than the majority now present. The newer porch remodeling dated at 1933. Despite the increased sample, the overall structure is complex and could benefit from more sampling. In addition, ceilings in several rooms no longer have the vigas exposed, which prevented sampling.

A broader sampling program would provide a much clearer picture of the growth and decline of the village in the 1800s. The scattered dates do indicate that some building activity had begun by the 1830s, somewhat later than at San Miguel del Vado, with increased construction in the following four decades. A more detailed examination of the Pecos village community organization and development (i.e., Levine 1999) would provide deeper insights into linking various structures and their uses within the community. Unless this happens soon, many of the older structures will soon be gone, as has already happened to three buildings since Matlock's investigations.

Las Colonias

Across the foothills, a mere 10 km southeast of the Village of Pecos, is the small Hispanic community of Lower Colonias. Timbers in the small church there were examined in January 2001 with the kind permission of the Pecos parish priest, Father Bennett Voorhies. The church interior, 5.8 by 14.5 m, exhibits 18 round vigas (23-28 cm diameter) supported by corbels. Some change has occurred in the roof since a 1931 photograph (Kubler 1972:Figure 158), and the vigas, along with the corbels supporting the southern eight vigas, look fresh (yellowish in color). These corbels have been crudely cut to shape and exhibit no decoration. The northern corbels (n=24), however, are clearly old based on their rich natural dark color. These are all carved with an array of decorations that show considerable skill in carpentry (Figure E.26). Nevertheless, a mixture of sizes (14 small: 21 cm high, 17 cm wide, and 50+ cm long; 8 large: 24 cm by 21 cm by 62+ cm long), and decorative styles are evident—matched in pairs by style and size with each viga. In addition; two very long corbels set over small corbels divide the nave/transept from the apse. The different decorative styles and level of workmanship suggest multiple carvers and/or corbels produced at different times or for different rooms.

Although the author was not allowed to sample any corbels, the physical characteristics of the corbels support oral tradition that these were, indeed, salvaged from the Pecos Mission, consistent with collection from multiple rooms at the mission. Their carvings resemble the Pecos corbels illustrated by Morley (1915), primarily in their use of chiseled flutes and overall shape. But otherwise, there are wide differences in designs observed among the various vigas and corbels found in different locations reputed to be from the mission church. These might represent different sections of construction at the mission before its demise. Without tree-ring dating these various specimens, however, it will be difficult to verify their origins.

Tony Ruiz, an 84-year old resident (as of 2001) who lives near the Las Colonias church, said that the church roof had not been replaced during his life, but its appearance suggests otherwise. Certainly, the pitched galvanized steel roof postdates the original construction. The single viga sampled indicates that the roof was replaced at about 1922 or shortly afterwards. The corbels illustrated by Kubler (1972:Figure 158), however, are those observed still in place at the millennium.

Terrero Rivera Homestead

This homestead lies just north of the former USFS Willow Creek Campground, now closed for toxic waste removal from the Terrero mine just across the river (Darden 1967; Weber 1972:101-102). This mine was one of the nation's top producers of lead and zinc between 1926 and 1939, with the ore transported by aerial tram 12 miles to a mill west of the Village of Pecos. All structures on the Rivera homestead were in use in 1994. Three dwellings exist on the property while a fourth, a log cabin under construction that ignited the dispute, was being built nearby (Figure E.27). The latter was later dismantled. The owners' descendants describe the small log cabin as the kitchen and residence used during the construction of the larger log house. A large barn is located on a slight rise about 150 m to the south. The area was surveyed and monumented in 1883 and these monuments were relocated in 1925. The descendants claim the tract was homesteaded in the 1880s and the buildings built at that time.

Only a single December day was devoted to sampling the homestead (Table E.8), as a result the buildings were not sampled as thoroughly as possible. Nevertheless, the nine samples from wall logs and vigas in the small cabin (Figure E.28) confirm both legal documents and oral history, showing that the cabin logs were clearly cut during the summer of 1882. Walls in the adjacent large house were all trimmed square, so that the outer rings were lost. Despite a huge number of wall logs in the large house, time permitted only five to be sampled. These were drilled at the outermost edges in an attempt to get the maximum number of outermost rings. In some cases, the log ends were exposed that allowed sampling to proceed at the edge showing the rings closest to the original outer surface. Oral history suggests that the large house was built just after the small cabin was built in 1882. Thus, despite squared beams, two (at 1875vv and 1877vv) of the five dates are extremely close to the probable cutting period in the early to mid 1880s. This confirms the field estimate that perhaps 10-20 rings might have been lost from trimming. At least one, at 1823+ +vv, or two (1785vv), reveal that deadwood was also collected. A larger sample probably would have yielded more dates close to the true harvest event.

Finally, the nearby barn (Figure E.28) produced a tight assemblage of cutting dates at 1891. Probably the barn construction would have post-dated the house construction, thus bracketing construction of the large house between 1882 and 1891. Interestingly, all house construction was of ponderosa pine, not surprising given the site location, but the barn sample (n=13) consisted only of Douglas fir. Although Douglas fir might have been specifically targeted for harvesting, a stand might have existed nearby and supplied the bulk of the barn materials. Two employees of Pecos National Historical Park, long-time residents of Pecos and active viga craftsmen, related that Pecos Village tradition said Douglas fir was selected because it required far less limb removal effort than ponderosa pine (Steve Bustos and Joe Dalton, personal communications 2000). The sample is large enough to pinpoint harvesting of the barn logs in the late fall or later of 1891, when except for one tree, the bulk of the sample trees had finished growth for the year (see Windes and McKenna 2001).

Kozlowskis Stagecoach Stop and Trading Post

Martin Kozlowski came to the Pecos Valley in 1846 and by 1859 had set up farming and ranching operations a short distance from the Pecos ruins. He and his wife operated a stagecoach stop for travelers, which became a main stop in 1866. Oral history (see above) suggests that much of the construction materials obtained by Kozlowski came from the Pecos Mission Church. During the nearby 1862 Civil War Battle of Glorieta, the Kozlowski building was used for the Union headquarters, as a main encampment for troops, as a hospital for the wounded, and as a point for the advance on the Confederate supply train (Franzwa 1989:190-193; Haecker 1999; Kajencki 1990:47). Kozlowski moved to Albuquerque to be with his son in 1898. Later, his son, Tomás, reappeared in the community in 1911 (Chapter 10, this volume) and rebuilt part of the old trading post.

In time, the buildings (Figure E.29) and adjacent properties were taken over in 1925 or 1926 by rodeo producer Tex Austin, who formed the Forked Lightning Ranch (Gustafson 1997:13; Levine 1999:180) as a cattle and dude ranch and as a trading post. The ranch brochures offered the added enticement of digging in the four ruins on the property partially excavated by A. V. Kidder "if you are archaeologically inclined and care to dig in the past" (Forked Lightning Ranch 1920s: 13).

Recent interviews conducted by the park staff with surviving relatives of Tex Austin point to a 1923 ranch ownership instead, while Kajencki (1990:64-65) claims the property was lost for taxes in about 1924. The main ranch house was built above the Pecos River shortly afterwards, but was not been examined for this study. Bankruptcy shifted ownership of the ranch to Texas oilman, E. E. Fogelson, in 1939; ten years later Fogelson married movie actress Greer Garson. By this time the ranch had become locally famous (Alford 1952; Fitzpatrick 1960). The ranch was sold in 1991 and donated to the National Park Service in 1993. The shift in ownership to the Park Service prompted a historic structures' report of the former stagecoach-stop structure and adjacent outbuildings, which were being used as housing by the foreman of the ranch, Gilbert Ortiz. The foreman was then employed by the National Park Service, who turned part of his housing into offices. Gilbert Ortiz, nevertheless, continued to live in the same housing until 2000, when hired by actress Jane Fonda at a neighboring ranch.

The interpretation of the Kozlowski buildings was aptly covered by Jeff Dean (1998) in his report of the tree-ring analysis. This is paraphrased here, with additions from the architectural analysis conducted by Catherine Colby and Jake Ivey (1998).

The Sample

A large wood sample (n=115) was obtained from six buildings and attached architectural features at Kozlowski's (Figures E.29-E.31; Table E.9); the vast majority of these dated (101 of 115; 88 percent). From this sample, the tree-ring analysis revealed about nine tree procurement events, although the exact felling episodes are obscured by the profusion of "+" dates, indicating the possible absence of one to two rings near the end of the sample's ring series (Table E.9). Ten non-cutting and one cutting date from Structures 17, 20, and 21 suggest wood procurement in the late nineteenth century, probably the 1880s. The widespread distribution of these indicates that many were salvaged from earlier contexts and reused. Based on Windes observations of KTP-77 (FS 200) and KTP-114 (FS 201; which did not date) in the Carpentry Shop, the two juniper posts may be elements secured by Kozlowski from his original homestead. The nineteenth-century samples include Douglas fir, ponderosa pine, and the only dated junipers. The 1897+ +vv date (KTP 5/FS 31) probably represents a dead or dying tree acquired during one of the twentieth-century harvests.

One or two harvest episodes occurred during the 1907-1913 period, coinciding with Jones (1913) report that Kozlowski's son, Tomás, returned to Pecos and rebuilt part of his family's house. The possible absence of rings (for + samples) prohibits an unambiguous decision regarding the number of harvest events; the preponderance of evidence favored a two-harvest alternative: two 1902+ +vv non-cutting dates and two 1907+ B near-cutting dates probably represent cutting in 1907, 1908, or 1909, depending on whether 0-2 rings were missing. Two 1909vv, one 1910vv, four 1911+vv non-cutting dates, three 1911+v, and three 1911+B near-cutting dates indicate cutting in 1911, 1912, or 1913 depending, again, on how many rings were missing. Windes field observations suggested that all were near or actual cutting dates, with the possible harvest event in 1911. All these samples were Douglas fir with incomplete outer growth rings, indicating that cutting occurred during the growing season between spring and mid-summer.

Thirty-nine dates reflect strong evidence for wood harvests in 1924 and 1926. Although many 1924 dates were assigned a vv symbol, indicating an unknown number of exterior rings missing, Windes' field notes suggest that many of these were cutting dates. The fact that no dates later than 1924 occur in Structure 20, Rooms 2-7, while in all other rooms, 1924 dates are associated with later dates, strongly supports the assignment of major wood procurement in 1924. The 1924 procurement indicates that the Continental Insurance Company (see Levine 1999:179-181 for a summary of land ownership) allowed expansion of the original building just prior to its sale to Tex Austin in 1925 or 1926. Given the closeness of the two harvest events and their procurement from similar if not the same locales (see below), it is possible that both events were guided by Tex Austin. Alternatively and agreeing with recent interviews with Austin family members, Austin may have procured some of the property by 1923 and shortly afterwards expanded the Kozlowski building. Incomplete outer growth rings of the specimens indicate that procurement occurred during the growing season; the unequivocal cutting date of 1924 for KTP-55, a Douglas fir, places this episode during spring to mid-summer. The variety of species involved, unlike the sole use of Douglas fir in the 1907-1911 episode, reflects that the 1924 harvest occurred in a locality different from the 1907-1911 harvests.

Non-cutting and near-cutting dates in 1925 (many with a + symbol) and three non-cutting and one cutting date in 1926 identify another wood harvest in 1926. All but three of the seventeen 1925 dates was given a + symbol because of the probable but undetectable absence of the 1925 growth ring. Addition of this ring would shift all these samples to 1926. The mix of species suggests that procurement could have come from the same location as that of 1924, except for the unusual presence of piñon. The combined presence of incomplete and complete outer growth rings among the different species indicates a long or staggered procurement period from spring to late summer/early fall (incomplete outer spruce or true fir rings [spring] and complete outer piñon and ponderosa pine rings [fall]).

Non-cutting dates between 1914 and 1923, associated with proveniences yielding clusters of dates between 1924 and 1926, probably represent timbers acquired during those harvests. Several of these were dead trees (indicated by a + + symbol), apparently still viable structurally and procured simultaneously during the cutting of live trees. A short span between the natural death of trees and the harvest year has also been documented for prehistoric structural use of dead trees in the San Juan Basin (Windes et al. 1994).

A few dates specify minor procurements in the 1930s. Two posts in Room 9 (the Ortiz living room) have non-cutting dates of 1930, but field observations suggest they exhibit original exteriors. Three dates at 1932 indicate cutting in the spring/early summer (incomplete and complete outer rings from all three spruce/true fir specimens). One non-cutting date at 1933 and near (+) cutting dates at 1934, 1935, and 1937 probably relate to events in 1934 and early 1937, when some upkeep was continued despite financial failure and placement of the land into receivership in 1933.

Structure Dating

Main Building (Structure 20; Figure E.30)

The dating of Room 3 (natural resource and ranger office) depends on whether the original roof components were subsequently remodeled by replacement of some beams or were elements reused from older, perhaps demolished, structures. Assuming beam replacement, the room probably was roofed with timbers procured during the 1880s, of which KTP-4 and 7 (FS 28 and 36) are examples. Reuse of old timbers yields two alternatives that rest on how this room relates to Room 9 (Ortiz's living room). If the 1897+ + log (KTP-5/FS 31) is part of the 1909 or 1911 procurement episodes in Room 9, Room 3 could have been built in or shortly after 1909 or 1911. Otherwise, Room 3 could have been built in 1924 with a mix of freshly cut and reused timbers. The portico added to Room 3, however, yielded a single date of 1926, as did Room 2 (the chief ranger's office), suggesting that construction actually took place in 1926 with reused logs and a stockpile cut in 1924.

Room 9 (Ortiz's living room and the probable original home) was roofed entirely with beams from the 1907-1909 and 1911 episodes by Tomás Kozlowski, reportedly in June of 1911 (Jones 1913:14), which coincides with the tree-ring evidence. Two short partition walls indicate that either the room was once two rooms that subsequently were joined by demolishing a dividing wall or that the larger chamber was divided by addition of the partition walls. Dates from the posts indicate that this remodeling took place in 1930 or shortly thereafter. The dates also indicate that the two bedrooms (Rooms 10 and 11) were added or reroofed at the same time in 1911. The Ortiz kitchen (Room 8) appears to have been built in 1926 or it was a 1911 room (unlikely) or portico that was reroofed in 1926 to complete the rectangular arrangement of rooms.

Room 2 (Chief Ranger's office) probably was built in 1926. If it had been built in the 1880s, Room 3 would have connected it with Room 9 at the same time that the Room 3 roof was repaired. On the other hand, if Room 3 was added in 1926 with new and reused timbers, it and Room 2 would have formed a new western addition to the pre-existing Room 9 (living room) structure.

In 1926, a southern wing comprising Rooms 4-7 was added to form a J-shaped roomblock open to the south with timbers cut primarily in 1924 and with reused wood. At least one reused beam (KTP-16/FS 50) was used during this construction. The arrangement, with narrow rooms, two of them now used as bathrooms, next to three new square units suggests the addition of self-contained apartments for renting rather than use by a single domestic group. At the same time, a similar architectural unit (Rooms 12-15) was appended to the original living room structure (Rooms 9-11) in 1926. This suggests another two apartments were added, as, again, both large rectangular units were joined to narrow rooms that served as bathrooms (as of 1998). This completed structure was now U-shaped, open to the south. It appears, then, that the structure was being prepared as a dude ranch before the purchase by Tex Austin in 1925 or 1926, that Austin was responsible for the newer construction before he actually owned the property, or that the shift in ownership date is in error and occurred before 1925. At the same time, in 1926, porticos were added to the north side and facing east from the 1924 apartments into the courtyard, as well as the east side of Ortiz's kitchen.

The final room (Room 16; recreation room) was added to the south of the 1926 apartments. It produced a range of dates, but clearly the roofing came from the 1926 harvests. However, two massive roof support posts dated at 1918+ +vv (deadwood) and 1933, the latter a probable harvest date. It is unclear whether Room 16 once comprised two rooms built in 1926 that were later subdivided in 1933, or if it had been one room and the support posts replaced in 1933, or if the room had been built in 1933 using beams cut entirely during the 1926 harvests. It seems unlikely that the posts would have needed replacing after just seven years unless there had been modifications to the structure. On the other hand, a stucco-covered adobe and jacal wall extended south from Room 16 (forming the western or back wall of the roofed carport) has harvest dates indicating 1926 procurement. Thus, Room 16 and this stucco wall probably completed the overall structure and enclosing walls in 1926, when Austin's dude ranch was in operation. The post additions in Room 16 may have been a reconfiguration of the roof (to a pitched roof) using the same roof vigas. The size of Room 16 suggests it may have had kitchen and dining facilities for the apartment guests or served some other function for the ranch guests, as shown in the ranch brochure (Forked Lightning Ranch 1920s).

The only outlying building that appears coeval with the 1926 work is the carpentry shop (Structure 17; Figure E.31). Although it could have been built in the 1880s, with two wall posts yielding 1800s dates, the tree-ring evidence strongly indicates it was built with timbers from the 1926 harvests, along with a few timbers salvaged from earlier structures. The tack room (Structure 22; Figure E.31) next to it yielded a single viga date of 1936+v. The two juniper door posts may have been old wood or timbers salvaged from Pecos Pueblo—only one dated, at 1792vv. The building also contained a creosote-soaked railroad tie door lintel, the only such piece recorded. The 1936 date suggests construction of the room at the same time as the large barn or stable (Figure E.31) located nearby to the south. The stable was probably erected in 1937 or 1938, based on a 1937+B roof support post sample. Two other elements may have been leftovers from procurements in 1932 and 1934/1935 (KTP-80 and 83; FS 205 and 216), while two others were salvaged from late 1800s stock. The use of late 1800s timbers (n=12) throughout the buildings suggests a stockpile somewhere that contained the timbers from the late 1800s house. Finally, the root cellar or greenhouse (Structure 23; Figure E.31), cut into the bank just east of the main building, suggests construction during or shortly after the summer of 1932.


Changing aspects of wood use for construction (Table E.10) mark the temporal trends in the various sites sampled for this study. These trends may reflect different cultural needs of the groups that procured and used the surrounding forests for wood. While impacts to the local tree stands must have been severe given the large populations that once lived in the valley, the greater region is heavily forested permitting available resources for whatever construction was desired depending on the transportation restraints. As land passed from the community into private and federal hands, and wider markets became available with access to the railroad in 1880, fundamental shifts in access and procurement to wood resources occurred.

The earliest occupations in the valley should have encountered relatively pristine woodland conditions unaffected by the massive wood use that followed in later centuries. In this case, the Pecos Valley pithouse builders, as those on the Colorado Plateau, selected wood for construction that was in the immediate vicinity of the site. This seems borne out by the species represented in the burned roofing of the two pithouses (Sewerline and Hoaglund's Haven): mostly piñon, with some juniper and ponderosa pine. Charcoal, probably from fuel found in macro-botanical remains at the pithouses, confirms the ready availability of piñon and juniper, as well as the presence of oak and shrubs (Nordby and Creutz 1993:4-42, 4-46). Today, the valley bottom is dense with juniper, with scattered piñon and ponderosa pine.

Because of its long, straight stems, ponderosa pine is the preferred wood for construction, as is later evident. Its sparse numbers for the pithouse construction suggest that suitable numbers of the young stems were not immediately available for construction and that groups were not sufficiently organized nor large enough to travel any distance to specifically harvest ponderosa pine. Considering the environmental conditions of the valley today, ponderosa pine probably was scattered amongst the smaller juniper and piñon trees. While piñon may have been preferred over juniper for construction, both species have reflected much use for pithouse building throughout the Southwest. Thus, either piñon was selected from a dominant forest of juniper or it was common in the area, if not the dominant species. In the 800s the effort to gather construction wood was probably minimal and restricted to family-size groups suggesting that piñon trees were much more common than today.

The use of piñon for construction continued into the Coalition Period, based on our sample of roofing remains from Forked Lightning and Rowe Pueblos, when groups began to construct large pueblos with hundreds of rooms. Although larger cooperative efforts may have been under way in such communities, it is not reflected in the use of wood, which appears primarily local. Much of this supply would have been obtained as the area was cleared for cropland. A corresponding use of piñon for firepit fuel in future excavations would strongly indicate that the primary tree cover was piñon rather than juniper, marking the widespread succession-growth of juniper forest today as a result of centuries of tree clearing.

Some depletion of the piñon and juniper must have occurred before the founding of Pecos Pueblo. The size and complexity of the dwellings at Pecos Pueblo would have required a substantial cooperative effort in the new constructions on the mesa. Historic accounts reveal that the buildings were three and possibly four stories high, containing about 900-1,100 rooms (Kidder 1958:121-122; Orcutt and Powers 2001:Table 2). Kidder (1958:81) reports 4-6 pine vigas per room roof, with these normally covered by juniper or pine slats, rushes, or occasionally secondary poles (Kidder 1958:Figures 30-32). Secondary poles were sometimes set in pairs or covered the entire roof, employing up to 35 or more poles. Vigas in plaza-front rooms were commonly supported by a room-length beam along one wall, which in turn was support by 2-4 posts under each viga end (Kidder 1958:81, 83). Remains of many of these post tops are evident today in linear arrangements along the lower slopes of the buried roomblocks (Figure E.4, Table E.3). In addition, a similar series of vigas and posts supported the porticos that ringed the various levels of the roomblocks facing the inner quadrangle.

From these observations, one can extrapolate that approximately 3,300 vigas, 1,000 to 2,000 posts, and perhaps 1,000 to 2,000 secondaries were required during the construction of the 660 North Pueblo rooms (see Kidder 1958: Table IV). Altogether, approximately 5,000 to 9,000 wood elements may have been used. Overall, the effort could have been accomplished without massive control and organization of the pueblo population (see Windes and McKenna 2001 for comparative Chacoan examples). Multiple elements taken from the same tree, of course, would greatly reduce the true number of trees harvested, as well as those salvaged from earlier contexts. In addition, the large population at Pecos, estimated at between 900 and 2,000 at its height (e.g., Kessell 1979:12, 104, 129-130, 188; Orcutt and Powers 2001:4) would make the harvest of thousands of timbers relatively easy. The numerous variations in roof construction illustrated by Kidder (1958) may reflect individual household or clan responsibility (Orcutt and Powers 2001:3) for construction materials and building rather than oversight by a larger suprahousehold or corporate group. If most of the South Pueblo wood elements were obtained from the North Pueblo, then little additional timber harvesting would have been necessary for its construction.

Clearing the valley for farming would have thinned the former valley forest cover, increasing costs for future wood procurement in terms of travel and physical effort. Nevertheless, wood was probably always plentiful within relatively short distances. While piñon and juniper were suitable and desirable for fuel and early construction needs, construction beams tended to be selected from long, straight conifers (ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, spruces, and true firs) when they were easily available. In contrast, for example, the mission pueblo at Las Humanas, near Mountainair, New Mexico (Hayes 1981:42), located some distance from ponderosa pine forests, relied primarily on piñon vigas (101 of 113 specimens; 89 percent), whereas ponderosa pine and Douglas fir timbers were rare (2 of 113; 2 percent). Juniper, while readily available, was mostly rejected for such use (9; 8 percent).

By the time of the founding of the Pecos North Pueblo, construction in the valley reflected the use of these desirable resources for the last half millennium. The major exception is the use of rot-resistant juniper for posts, a standard throughout time still applicable today. At Pecos Pueblo, posts were almost always juniper, although many were used on upper stories where protection from the ground and natural elements would have allowed more easily-cut ponderosa pine to be used. Nevertheless, either tradition, practicality, or both helped to perpetuate the nearly exclusive use of juniper for portico posts (Table E.10). This tradition was wide spread in the Rio Grande region and can be observed in the mounds of other Pueblo IV sites (e.g., Sapawe and Tsama in the Chama River Valley, northern New Mexico) where juniper posts still are evident after 500 years. Ponderosa pine in porch settings facing south would quickly weather and lose its aesthetic appeal. In addition, the distance to obtain such pine may also have made the local juniper trees preferable for both construction and firepit fuel.

All the in-situ wood found at the Hispanic homesteads were juniper posts used for enclosing areas and for wall supports. Juniper may also reflect the harsh times, when raiding was common and isolated parties, wood cutters for instance, may have felt at peril harvesting wood far from their settlement. Homestead occupants also needed to clear the thick juniper growth from their lands for gardens, livestock, and defense. At Tex Austin's ranch, the small sample of fence posts was juniper, and it is evident that the remainder were also juniper. At Kozlowski's, however, porch posts, set on concrete slabs, were of ponderosa pine. This shift in species probably reflects the ease of obtaining commercial-cut timbers, the lack of soil contact when in use, and the esthetics of straight, uniform-shaped posts.

When the railroad arrived in 1879/1880 and mining became a prominent industry, the appetite for wood in the Upper Pecos Valley soared. Woodcutting provided the first widespread opportunity for wage labor for the inhabitants of Pecos (Weber 1972:29-30). The first camps for procuring railroad ties were established by 1881 (Hall 1984:176), but within twenty years, the federal government established the first New Mexico Forest Reserve to protect the surrounding mountains from ravage. The demand for railroad ties and mine shaft timbers led to extensive harvesting of the forests in the Pecos Valley. By the 1910s and 1920s, census figures (see Chapter 10) report that many residents in the region were employed in forestry. It is also probable that by the turn of the century (1900), milled lumber from local mills shipped via the railroad began the shift away from the use of local-cut logs for construction. Only one sample, from Kozlowski's tack shop, reflects this aspect of the railroad economy (although unsampled milled lumber is common). By the early 1900s, then, most construction probably relied on mill products rather than direct forest procurement, reducing specialized viga treatment to a few village craftsmen.

Tree-Ring Dating Success

Because of its tough, resilient wood and availability, juniper was favored for much of the construction material in the valley. Almost all posts were juniper throughout the ages, and it was also a favorite material for roof closing materials and slat wall liners in kivas. Unfortunately, in the Upper Pecos Valley juniper is exceedingly difficult to date. This is surprising given the presence of J. scopulorum, a species common north of the San Juan River and a reliable producer of tree-ring dates at Aztec and Mesa Verde. Precipitation at Mesa Verde (Erdman et al. 1969:19) is similar to that at Pecos. Only a mere 18 specimens of 257 juniper elements dated—a success rate of seven percent. Many of these were afflicted with the usual maladies that cause poor dating success: erratic ring growth was found in 52 specimens (20 percent), sometimes along with double ring growth (12; 5 percent).

Also surprising is the widespread growth of juniper with inadequate ring series for dating. In this study, these were tallied as "short" in the laboratory, generally meaning less than about 50 rings. Here, 100 specimens (39 percent) were short, products of rapid growth. These were particularly evident among the Pecos Pueblo posts (Table E.5) sampled recently: 59 of the 115 (51 percent) juniper samples had a short ring series. Fourteen others were noted with complacent growth (5 percent), many from the Hispanic homestead site PECO-175, where 5 of 13 samples (38 percent) were complacent. The location of this site along the Pecos River, where many juniper grow, may account for this unusual pattern. Other nearby homesteads, however, failed to repeat this pattern. Complacent and short juniper specimens are extremely uncommon in the drier San Juan Basin or in Mesa Verde. Perhaps less evapotranspiration of the available moisture in the Upper Pecos Valley allows for faster juniper growth. Clearly, the mountainous region in which Pecos is located has far less summer moisture deficiencies than the northwestern plateau (Tuan et al. 1973:128-142). However, piñon, with growth similar to juniper and favoring the same conditions, exhibited very little short or complacent growth (2 and 3 each, respectively; 2 and 3 percent).

Douglas fir provides the best dating success: 96 of 103 specimens (93 percent). Piñon, like juniper, sometimes suffers from erratic growth 14 of 94: 15 percent), here the chief cause of non-dating. Nevertheless, it yielded a successful dating record: 66 of 93 samples (71 percent). Unidentified spruces and true firs also were reliable specimens for dating: 10 of 18 (56 per cent). At Aztec Ruins, spruce and true fir seldom date, whereas in Chaco Canyon they are reliable at Pueblo del Arroyo, but poor at other great-houses. Ponderosa pine, a favored building material used primarily for roof vigas, also yielded an excellent return in the Pecos Valley: 423 of 554 specimens dated (76 percent). Naturally, the profuse use of ponderosa pine for vigas and other large-diameter items helped the dating success, which would have been considerably lower for smaller elements with few rings. Given the plentiful availability of trees preferred for structural uses, it is not surprising that the less desirable cottonwoods and aspens were not present in the sample. Their absence from the pueblos may stem from their unsuitability for tree-ring dating. Nevertheless, some aspen or cottonwood roof secondaries might be expected in the local puebloan construction.

Harvest Timing

Throughout the valley occupation, the harvest of building timbers was conducted primarily in the warmer months of the year. Certainly, much of the area was snowbound during the winter months, making tree-harvests a more difficult task in the higher elevations. Of the 1,025 samples, only 283 yielded determinations of the outer growth ring's completeness. Few historic samples yielded outer ring determinations because the vast majority were squared timbers (the mission samples) or had the bark removed with a draw blade, resulting in uneven outer surfaces that forced laboratory determinations of non-cutting dates. In addition, many historic samples were badly weathered juniper posts, which rarely dated.

Of the sample, the vast majority of timbers over the past 1,100 years were cut during the tree's growing season (77 percent; 220 samples). The highest percent (95%) of samples harvested during the growing season came from Kozlowski's. This could be skewed by the almost exclusive use of a draw knife to remove bark, which probably removed much of the outer growth ring and prohibiting seasonal assessment for most of the historic sample. The earlier Puebloan sample also follows a preference for summer tree harvesting (99 of 116; 85 percent). At the Hispanic villages of Pecos and San Miguel, however, the preference for summer growing season harvests was not as dramatic (54 and 61 percent of the sample, respectively). When Douglas fir and undifferentiated spruce-fir elements were found in the samples, notably at Pecos Pueblo and Kozlowski's, the majority reveal harvesting during the very short growing season in the late spring. If these were collected during the same period when other species were harvested, it suggests that much of the work was scheduled in the spring before major commitments to farming. The differences between the Puebloan and Hispanic harvests may reflect different levels of group cohesiveness or cultural preferences. Nevertheless, the overall trend in the valley was to harvest construction timbers during the warmer months when trees were in the growth stage.

Pecos Pueblo was one of the most prolific arenas for cutting dates, but the scattered results suffer compared to a more robust sample of clustered dates from individual proveniences. Two eras provide glimpses of harvesting schedules. Some harvesting of ponderosa pine, perhaps indicative of a massive effort, took place between 1433 and 1435. In 1433, the sole two samples were cut during the dormant season ("complete" outer ring) between about October 1433 and March 1434. This was followed by several cut during the growing season ("in complete" outer ring) of 1434—indeed, the two episodes could have been coeval in the late spring of 1434 (see Windes and McKenna 2001 for non-Pecos examples). Others yielded 1434 dates from the dormant season—again, sometime between October 1434 and March 1435. More samples were cut during the growing season in 1435, etc. Two probable harvest scenarios are indicative from this small sample. Either harvesting was a biannual event, occurring during the growing and non-growing seasons, or, as suggested here, harvests occurred in the spring, coeval with the beginning of the growing season between about April and May. Thus, most trees had started growth when cut, yielding dates for the year in which they were cut. Others, however, had not yet begun to grow, thus producing dates for the previous year.

Spruce/true fir and Douglas fir cutting dates can provide a narrow temporal window for dating harvest episodes. Of the 16 samples from Pecos Pueblo, 12 were cut during their extremely short spring growing season. Although studies have not been done to identify this exact period for the Pecos Valley, it probably mirrors other high-altitude, cool terrains—probably between late March and mid-June (Windes and McKenna 2001:124). The A.D. 1427 samples of spruce/true fir were cut during the growing season, too. Early spring is the ideal time to harvest trees to avoid scheduling conflicts with other activities and the best time to remove the bark by hand (Windes and McKenna 2001:125). Although tree resources were clearly always close and abundant, random or intermittent harvesting through out the year does not seem to be a prevalent pattern.

Labor Investments

The use of wood in the Pecos Valley sheds some light on the cultural organization of the various procurement groups. The settlement shift through time from scattered pithouses to a large communal dwelling housing hundreds of people and to a population scattered in hamlets about the valley might reflect shifts in labor demands for construction. The amount of structural wood needed for Pecos Pueblo would have been high, but spaced over centuries. Nevertheless, Pecos Pueblo does not seem to have been built by suprahousehold groups or highly organized labor gangs that characterize, for instance, Chacoan great-houses. Nevertheless, the wood data is poor from the pueblo, which prevents confident assessments of population dynamics and aggregations (i.e., see Crown 1991).

Construction of the mission churches, however, would have required a short massive effort on the part of the Puebloan Indians. Wood requirements alone would have required cutting and hauling large trees at some distance from the pueblo, though nowhere near the 30 miles required to haul in the 35-foot long beams used for the mission church at Acoma (Playdon and Vallo 2000:21). In addition, shaping the logs, splitting out boards, decorating the beams, and then hoisting them into place would require labor crews and supervisors. Given the mere 78 beams reported by Dominguez (Adams and Chavez 1956:209) for the 1706 Pecos Mission Church, such an endeavor would not have required extensive long-term demands on the populace.

Harvesting and transportation of the massive mission beams to the site would have required substantial coordination and effort, however. Construction at the Taos Mission Church in about 1815 is illustrative for understanding earlier events at Pecos (Hooker 1996:30, 34-37). The Taos church construction may have been primarily a warm-month effort. The 80 or more vigas and columns, up to 32 feet long, were cut in the fall before the snow fell or in early spring before the thaws and deep mud hampered progress. Logs were pulled from the mountains by teams of oxen. Whether such prized and valuable animals were available earlier on the Pecos frontier for similar tasks is not known. The Taos timbers were peeled of bark at the church with draw knives or hand adzes and then trimmed with hand saws. Those at Pecos were squared with a broad ax. Boards or split lengths of wood covered the Taos vigas (Hooker 1996:37), but these were hewn from juniper. The largest beams spanning the Taos church nave, weighing between 700 and 800 pounds, would have required teams of men to hoist them to the wall tops and carry them into position. The 42-foot-long Pecos beams, of course, would have been even more arduous to place. Beams needed to span the smaller rooms were sometimes brought to the work site two or three times longer than required to be temporarily employed for scaffolding and then later subdivided as need dictated (Montgomery et al. 1949:158).

Eight men would have taken about 70 days to produce the needed 85,000 adobe bricks needed for the Taos church (Hooker 1996:34); requirements at Pecos would have been greater, although a larger work force could have substantially reduced production time. The Pecos "Lost" Church required 82,000 bricks and 27 months to build (Ivey 1996). Construction of the Ortega/Juarez church, completed in 1625, could have been built at a rate of 5,500 to 6,500 adobe bricks a month (Ivey 1996:3-9, Chapter 11:10), utilizing about 224,000 to 300,000 bricks (Kessell 1980:224; Noble 1994:45) and taking 34-41 months to complete. When the Pecos church and convento were stabilized in 1939-1940, about 89,000 adobe bricks were required to complete the work (Hewett and Fisher 1943:229). Church building was clearly an arduous but short-term task.

All metal tools needed to facilitate construction had to be brought great distances by caravan (Montgomery et al. 1949:145), while engineering skills in building such huge edifices were borne by the resident friars. "Possessing little knowledge of the science of architecture, and no engineering background, the friars relied upon common sense judgment and casual experience. They depended particularly upon an over-abundant use of materials; this offset, so they thought, their ignorance of the exact strength and properties of the structural elements.... That any of this poorly constructed work stands today is rather miraculous" (Montgomery et al. 1949: 154).

The Pecos Indians, widely known for their skill in carpentry, did considerable finishing work and carving of the beams. Chavez (1971:32) remarks that all the vigas and corbels, on which the vigas sat, were "thickly decorated with carvings." Some carvings are still evident for in-situ specimens, although their workmanship cannot be considered superior. A distinctive set of corbels was carved for the temporary 1692-1696 Zeinos chapel sacristy (Ivey 1996:12-16). These were not reused later in the new church. Perhaps they eventually ended up in Los Colonias.

Their renowned skills drew the Pecos carpenters to projects outside the Pecos Valley (Kessell 1979:292). They worked on the Governor's Palace in Santa Fe in 1660 for Governor Lopez de Mendizabal, who failed to pay for the services (Dede Snow, email communication 2000)—surely an aggravation to the Pecos carpenters. They may also have provided the craftsmanship for the carved beams in the Salinas Province missions (Ivey 1988:219) and they worked on the mission at Santa Ana Pueblo (Kessell 1979:292) in 1696. The demand for skilled carpenters throughout the Spanish provinces may have been one factor in drawing away inhabitants from Pecos Pueblo, resulting in its population decline in the late 1700s and its ultimate demise (Chavez 1971:33).

This traditional skill failed to carry-over to the emerging Hispanic settlements, where building materials fulfilled expedient construction goals. Buildings from the earliest Hispanic period generally exhibited a range of finished wood suggestive of multi-family or community projects where neighbors and kin helped during construction. Much of this period, as reflected in the surviving buildings rich in Pecos River Valley history, is slowly being lost to building deterioration and to replacement by trailer homes and new frame houses.


Thanks to the many people who volunteered their time for documenting and sampling the wood at the park and outlying villages: Rachel Anderson, Eileen Bacha, Beth Bagwell and her parents (H. Roberts and Anne F. Bagwell), Bill Cruetz, Joe Cunningham, Stephen DeSutter (at Terrero), Hannah Fretwell, Genevieve Head, Vic Holmes, Art Ireland, Joan Mathien, Shawn Penman, Melissa Powell, Chris Simon, and Mary Jo Windes. Also thanks to the many staff of Pecos National Historical Park for their support of the project, including archaeologist Judy Reed and superintendent Duane Alire. Lesah Sedillo (Village of Pecos offices) was a big help in providing a new street map for Pecos. Finally, thanks to Fathers Bennett Voorhies (St. Anthony's Parish in Pecos) and Gary Ortiz (San Miguel) for their interest and permission to sample church buildings, Suzette Lopez Archuleta (Pecos) for her kind assistance and information about relocating Matlock's Pecos sampled buildings, and to Alice and Mary Bustamonte for permission to sample buildings in San Miguel del Vado. Background information about San Miguel was generously shared by Dr. Fran Levine and Harry C. Myers. The prompt laboratory analyses done by Richard Warren, Dennie Bowden, and Jeffrey Dean of the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, Tucson, are most appreciated. Most helpful editing was contributed by Eileen Bacha, Genevieve Head, and Melissa Powell.

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Last Updated: 13-Feb-2006