The Architecture of Dinétah
Kin Naa Dáá Pueblito | Frances Canyon Publito | Tapacito Pueblito

The most striking sites of the Gobernador are the "pueblitos" which guard the canyons and their memories. These stone fortresses, nearly invisible against the forested horizon or at the base of the canyon walls, sheltered families and their foodstuffs from about 1680 through the 1750s. Even earlier, though, are the mud and wood hogans, sweatlodges, windbreaks and ramadas which cluster on mesa tops throughout the Gobernador. The hogans--single room, earth-sheltered homes with a log and pole frame--have yielded tree-ring building dates going back to 1541 at least; future archaeological research may well reveal earlier houses still.

Inside a sheltered entryway, the hogans have central hearths and mealing bins for grinding corn flour and other foods. Much like the ancestral Pueblo "pithouses" built nearly 1000 years earlier, many of these housed a large family of farmers working the soils of the mesatops and canyons. Others seem to have been the homes of single, perhaps unmarried, men living near their families. These hint at the early development of the uniquely Navajo settlement pattern in the Southwest. Traditionally, the living group or outfit, changes size during the year, with families clustering in winter and scattering in summer. The local community changes as well over the long term as families grow, children marry, and elders are lost.

Photograph by Sarah Schlanger, New Mexico Bureau of Land Management.
Bare poles are all that mark hogans once shared by families in the Gobernador. Once the forked-stick structures fail, they collapse to the ground. Unless the wood was scavenged or recycled into another home or building, the fallen house beams create a "wheel spoke" pattern. These forked-stick hogans are at Old Fort Ruin, LA 1869.
Navajo History | Early Archaeology | Pueblito Architecture | Clothing & Tools
New Spain (1600-1700) | Modern Archaeology | Timeline | Acknowledgements
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