Of Stone and Stories: Pueblitos of Dinetah Timeline
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cradleboards
Cradleboards
Navajo, ca. 1650-1750
Gobernador
Courtesy of the Jicarilla Ranger Station, Carson National Forest
This cradleboard pair, found together in the Gobernador, has one full-size cradleboard and one made about two-thirds size. Traditional Navajo today still make cradleboards from juniper or cedar wood. The cradleboard, a gift of the Holy People, embodies a child's mother, the earth, in the long boards. The crossboards are their father, the sun. Blankets of clouds and ties of sheet lightning and lightning bolts hold the child fast. Over their head, a shade bent like a rainbow keeps them safe.

beads
Beads
European trade goods, ca. 1650-1750
Three Corn Pueblito, LA 1871, and Frances Canyon Pueblito, LA 2135
Morris excavations, 1915
Photograph by Blair Clark, Museum of New Mexico
Burials at Three Corn Pueblito and Frances Canyon Pueblito contained hundreds of European trade beads. Strings of small green, purple, blue, and red glass beads manufactured in the early and mid-1700s were the most common, but some types are as much as 100 years older. Although the Navajo lived far beyond any regular trade route, some goods moving up the Camino Real on supply wagons from New Spain (at first every three years, then yearly) eventually made their way to the Gobernador. Olivella shell beads and abalone shell pendants, valuable aboriginal trade goods, were found as well, along with bone, shell disk, and stone beads.

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Crosses
European trade goods, ca. 1700-1750
Three Corn Pueblito, LA 1871
Morris excavations, 1915, #369
Photograph by Anne Jeffrey, Alaska Bureau of Land Management
These two "potmetal" crosses were placed in the grave of a child buried at Three Corn Pueblo. One has an image of Christ on one side and the Virgin Mary on the reverse. Given to acolytes and converts at the Spanish missions, these may have been used simply as decorative pendants in the Gobernador. Spanish attempts to establish missions among the Navajo failed first in the early 1600s, and again in the mid-1700s even though the Navajo had moved closer to Spanish settlements to escape Ute and Comanche raiders.
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