New Understandings:
When Archaeology and History Work Together

Pueblitos in Time  |  Why Did the Navajos Leave Dinétah?  |  The Legacy of Dinétah and the Gobernador

Nearly a century of research in the Gobernador region has answered old questions and raised new ones. When did the Navajo arrive in the Southwest? Or, as Navajo oral history suggests, were they here already? When did the Navajo become the expert farmers known to early Spanish explorers? Who built the pueblitos? What happened in the Gobernador over the last five hundred years?

As archaeologists have learned new ways of working in the Gobernador, they have found Navajo hogan sites which are nearly five hundred years old. In Navajo oral history, though, their story starts long before the first hogan is built. What archaeologists see in the Gobernador is only a small part of the story of Dinétah. Each new study, whether of archaeological sites or traditional knowledge, brings us closer to the many worlds which meet here.

Even the earliest hogan sites in the Gobernador tell us that these settlers were farmers long before the arrival of the Spanish. They depended as much on corn, beans, squash, and other crops as the Ancestral Pueblo farmers who first broke ground here. Sheep and goats, horses and mules, and a livestock-based lifeway came later.

What about the pueblitos? Some were built to shelter farm families during raids, others shielded religious leaders and the elderly, still others served as lookouts and signaling sites. Each tells us more about a time when frontiers were crossed, alliances made and broken, the worlds of Pueblo, Navajo, Spanish, and Ute met, and the Southwest was changed forever.

Navajo History | Early Archaeology | Pueblito Architecture | Clothing & Tools
New Spain (1600-1700) | Modern Archaeology | Timeline | Acknowledgements
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