About 1300 C.E., a small pueblo located minutes south of present day Santa Fe, N.M., rapidly transformed from a 100-room hamlet to a 1000-room pueblo boomtown. Extensive archaeological research at Arroyo Hondo Pueblo, directed by Douglas Schwartz, a University of New Mexico alumnus, disclosed wide-ranging details about its origin, rapid growth, the inhabitants’ way of life, pathology, spirituality and its period of severe climate change and regional violence. After 125 years, these forces intertwined to cause the town’s demise.
Today, the School for Advanced Research (SAR) announces a new innovative website developed by Schwartz that presents the comprehensive results of 45 years of research on the Arroyo Hondo Pueblo archaeological project. The website includes the research results, publications, bibliography, archaeological summary, aerial and other photographs, project chronology and a series of current essays setting the project in the context of the most recent research. The material is presented at www.arroyohondo.org in an accessible format for both scholars and the general public and includes an artist rendering of what the pueblo may have looked like at its climax.
“The Arroyo Hondo Pueblo website highlights the emergence of a new architectural style that set in motion the rise of the Classic Rio Grande pueblo pattern. It presents the intricate details of Pueblo life during the 14th century,” said Schwartz, project principal investigator, and president emeritus of SAR.
The pueblo perched on the edge of the Arroyo Hondo canyon south of Santa Fe was determined to be an ideal location to obtain a more detailed understanding of northern Rio Grande history. In the late 1960s Schwartz, who had recently completed four field seasons of excavations in the Grand Canyon and had just become president of SAR, obtained support for the project from the National Science Foundation and the National Geographic Society.
Resulting from the Arroyo Hondo Pueblo project were several Master’s theses and doctoral dissertations as well as nine published monographs covering various aspects of the research. In 2006, based on the Project’s research, the Arroyo Hondo Pueblo site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places of the United States Department of the Interior.
The 20-acre preserve surrounding the Arroyo Hondo Pueblo physical site was transferred by SAR to the Archaeological Conservancy in 2003 and is not open to the public, except by permission. A special field trip for SAR members is scheduled for Thursday, May 19. If you would like to join SAR and take advantage of this opportunity, go to members.sarweb.org.