From Mountain Top to Valley Bottom

Understanding Past Land Use in the Northern Rio Grande Valley, New Mexico

The American Southwest is characterized by environmentally and culturally diverse landscapes, which include the northern Rio Grande valley as it cuts through north-central New Mexico from Taos to Albuquerque. The region has a long and rich history of anthropological research primarily focused on the archaeological remains found along this valley corridor. Only recently has research involving large-scale surveys and excavations been conducted on the nearby mesas and mountains that form the rugged margins of the river valley. From Mountain Top to Valley Bottom incorporates this new research into a perspective that links the ever-changing and complementary nature of lowland and upland land use.

The essays in this collection are unified by three specific themes: landscape, movement, and technology. Landscape involves the ecological backdrop of the northern Rio Grande valley, including past and present environments. Movement refers to the positioning of people across the landscape along with the dynamic and fluid nature with which people—past and present—view their relationship with the “above” and “below.” Technology not only refers to the tools and facilities that past people may have used but to the organization of labor needed to cooperatively exploit a variety of subsistence resources and the exchange of products across the region. This volume provides both a cross section of current research from expert scholars and a broad perspective that seeks to integrate new data from lowland and upland contexts. From Mountain Top to Valley Bottom will appeal to those interested in obsidian source studies, geoarchaeology, past climatic regimes, foraging societies, early agriculture, ceramic technology, subsistence, early village formation, ethnogenesis, and historic multiethnic economies.

Bradley J. Vierra received his PhD from the University of New Mexico and is principal investigator and director of the material studies program at Statistical Research Inc.

Table of Contents:
List of Figures
List of Tables
Foreword by Severin M. Fowles

Bradley J. Vierra

Part I/Landscape
1. The Geochemistry and Archaeological Petrology of Volcanic Raw Materials in Northern New Mexico: Obsidian and Dacite Sources in Upland and Lowland Contexts, M. Steven Shackley
2. Surficial Processes and Preservation of Ancestral Puebloan Archaeological Sites on the Pajarito Plateau, New Mexico, Paul G. Drakos and Steven L. Reneau
3. Dendroclimatologic Reconstructions of Precipitation for the Northern Rio Grande, Ronald H. Towner and Mathew W. Salzer

Part II/Movement
4. The Cultural Ecology of Jemez Cave, Richard I. Ford
5. Transitional Archaic and Emergent Agricultural Settlement in the Lowland-Upland Settings of the Northern Rio Grande, New Mexico, Stephen S. Post
6. Ecological Uncertainly and Organizational Flexibility on the Prehistoric Tewa Landscape: Notes from the Northern Frontier, Samuel Duwe and Kurt F. Anschuetz
7. Living it Up: Upland Adaptation and High Altitude Occupation by the Gallina along the Continental Divide, J. Michael Bremer and Denver Burns
8. Upland-Lowland Corridors and Historic Jicarilla Apache Settlement in the Northern Rio Grande, B.Sunday Eiselt

Part III/Technology
9. Archaic Foraging Technology and Land-use in the Northern Rio Grande, Bradley J. Vierra
10. The Gradual Development of Systems of Pottery Production and Distribution Across Northern Rio Grande Landscapes, C. Dean Wilson
11. From the Land of the Little Birds to the Valleys of the White Rock, Tewa, Galisteo, Rio Grande and Santa Fe Rivers: Diet and Subsistence Meet the Challenges of a Changing Environment, Pamela J. McBride and Mollie S. Toll
12. Northern Rio Grande Faunal Exploitation: A View from the Pajarito Plateau, the Tewa Basin and Beyond, Nancy J. Akins
13. Discussion: Landscape, Movement and Technology in the Northern Rio Grande, Timothy A. Kohler

List of Contributors

Praise and Reviews:
“Brings a wide range of specialties commenting on a single region into a single volume. It covers thousands of years of human occupation in the Northern Rio Grande and spans an array of specialties.”—Michael Adler, author of The Prehistoric Pueblo World, A.D. 1150–1350

“This volume illustrates the richness of the Northern Rio Grande archaeological record, the rapidly expanding database being built by a large number of excellent archaeologists working in the region, and the fascinating debates on fundamental interpretations that result.”—Journal of Anthropological Research

“[This volume] is especially helpful as an example of a regional overview that synthesizes available data, addresses important research questions, identifies data gaps, and helps develop hypotheses for future research in Utah.”—Utah Archaeology