The people of Pecos situated their pueblo not only so they could see, but also so they could be seen. Even as a grassy mound, Pecos Pueblo is visible from almost every part of the Upper Pecos Valley and from the rim of Glorieta Mesa. Parties following the Pecos River from the Plains and runners from the villages of the Galisteo Basin would have little trouble locating the center of the Pecos community. For at least 300 years, Pecos Pueblo was the physical, economic, and political gateway to the Upper Pecos and Rio Grande Valleys. Bison meat, hides, and horn, important in Rio Grande subsistence and ceremony, passed from the plains through Pecos; obsidian from the Jemez Mountains and vibrantly painted ceramics from the heart of the pueblo world were likewise funneled to the Plains through Pecos. The village produced its own ceramics, and its warriors were feared throughout the country. In the 1540s, the people of Pecos boasted "that no one had been able to conquer them, and that they conquer whatever villages they wish" (Winship 1896:523). The Spanish entradas and European colonization disrupted the political and economic balance that kept Pecos strong. By 1840, the pueblo of Pecos lay in ruins, but travelers were impressed by its lonely beauty. Stories of the might and glory of Pecos kept its memory alive and brought the attention of early archeologists.
Adolph Bandelier performed his first archeological fieldwork at Pecos. In 1880, fresh off the train from the Midwest, Bandelier spent 10 days describing the Pecos ruins. His work brought a measure of objectivity to the legend of Pecos and laid the groundwork for future research. In 1915, Alfred V. Kidder began stratigraphic excavations at Pecos Pueblo. By systematically linking changes in pottery forms to their stratigraphic position, Kidder created a relative chronology of Rio Grande glaze ceramic types that is still used today and changed the way American archeologists worked. For the next 14 years, Pecos was the intellectual and social hub of archeological investigation in the Southwest. Though Kidder and his colleagues explored other sites in the Upper Pecos Valley, Kidder's excavations and published work focused on Pecos Pueblo. Once again Pecos had become a center, this time of scholarly inquiry.
By 1935, the standing red walls of the church and the grassy mound of the pueblo were protected as a New Mexico State Monument. In 1965, the federal government designated Pecos as a National Monument. Initially, the monument contained 60 acres surrounding the church and pueblo. The monument was small; its purpose was to preserve the church and pueblo ruins and to interpret the cultural interactionstrade, cooperation, colonization, conflictthat had occurred there between late Pueblo, Plains, and Spanish peoples. Through generous donations from Colonel E. E. Fogelson and his wife, actress Greer Garson, the monument grew to over 360 acres by the 1980s. Its interpretive focus remained the interaction between Pueblo, Plains, and Spanishencompassing a time span of roughly 400 years.
In 1990, Pecos entered a new era. Through the donation of the northern portion of the Fogelson's Forked Lightning Ranch and authorization to administer the Civil War Battlefield at Glorieta Pass, the monument was expanded to over 7,000 acres. Pecos National Historical Park now encompasses almost one quarter of the Upper Pecos Valley, and its cultural resources span ten millennia. From the midsection of a Folsom point discovered in the oak scrub east of the Pecos River to the Forked Lightning Ranch house and its out-buildings, the park now embraces the full course of human endeavor in the New World.
This report summarizes the results of the first systematic and contiguous inventory survey of the cultural resources at Pecos National Historical Park, both archeological and historical. The survey includes the original state and national monuments as well as the newly acquired lands surrounding them. The detached park units protecting the Glorieta Battlefields are not included in this survey. Our objective is to provide information not only on the pueblo of Pecos, but also on the villages that preceded it. We also describe the Spanish, Mexican, and American occupations that followed. Pecos Pueblo no longer stands as a solitary archeological monument, isolated in space and time. Its environs, its progenitors, and its heirs are reported upon here.
Nevertheless, the analyses in this report focus on the prehistoric puebloan era, roughly A.D. 1200 to 1600, until recent times the interval of most intense occupation in the Upper Pecos Valley. Our analyses not only provide thorough descriptions of the major sites and trends in the prehistory of the valley, but also attempt to employ innovative methods for interpreting the data. The ceramic chronology applies techniques previously used with historic ceramics and radiocarbon dates to create a replicable and explicit means for ordering prehistoric sites temporally and to determine their length of use. The chapter on settlement investigates factors that may have influenced decisions on where to place sites relative to both the physical and social landscapes. The chapter on lithics presents the first systematic consideration of lithic technology in the Upper Pecos Valley. In addition to chronological analysis of the historic sites in the park, the chapter on Euro-American sites and artifacts offers descriptions of several Hispanic homesteads or ranchos found along the banks of the Pecos River. These sites are of a time period and realm little researched by archeologiststhe Territorial and early statehood eras during which New Mexico and the Southwest were incorporated into the wider commercial and cultural world.
The intent of this report is to provide professional scholarsarcheologists and historiansas well as interested lay readers with a better understanding of the trends and processes that shaped Pecos. The story of Pecos has been retold countless times. We hope these volumes provide the impetus for many new stories.
Copies of this report may be obtained by contacting Anthropology Projects, National Park Service, P.O. Box 728, Santa Fe, NM 87504, (505) 988-6747 or Pecos National Historical Park, P.O. Box 418, Pecos NM, 87552, (505)757-6414. Please direct all inquiries regarding the data and background information on the project to the above numbers and addresses.
Genevieve N. Head, Project Director
Robert P. Powers, Program Manager
National Park Service
Last Updated: 13-Feb-2006