The Tewa Basin Archaeological Research Project is studying how population migration and coalescence (aggregation) affected the social landscape of the Ancestral Pueblos in the Coalition (AD 1200-1350) and Classic (AD 1350-1598) periods. We are primarily focusing on sites in the Tewa Basin, an area located in northern New Mexico north of the modern-day city of Santa Fe. The Tewa Basin is bounded by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to the east, the Jemez Mountains to the west and south, and the Pajarito Plateau to the south. The primary rivers, the Rio Chama and Rio Grande, are the lifeblood of the region, and contain the areas with the most ancestral villages and archaeological remains.
Our previous research has focused on sites along the tributaries of the Rio Chama. While the Chama only contains a sample of the many sites in the Tewa Basin, our research has learned much from intensely studying 16 large pueblos. Future work continues to address questions of migration and coalescence, and the relationship between human movement, landscapes, and worldview.
The physical landscape is composed of a mix of ecological zones, from high mountain peaks of the Sangre de Cristos to the riparian oasis of the river valleys.
The majority of the land is composed of rolling hills covered with piñon and juniper, along with cholla and prickly pear cactus.