Defending the Dinétah: Pueblitos in the Ancestral Navajo Homeland
Among the most striking features of the northwestern New Mexico landscape are the more than 130 fortresses and towers built on boulders, promontories, and mesa rims. These "pueblitos" in the traditional Navajo homeland of Dinétah have been a key piece of evidence used by archaeologists to infer a massive immigration of Puebloans into the Navajo country following the Spanish re-conquest of New Mexico (ca. 1700), yet they have never been comprehensively analyzed.
Using a database of tree-ring dates taken from beams and wood used to construct these pueblitos, Ronald Towner shows in this volume that most pueblitos are unrelated to Puebloan immigration or the re-conquest. He concludes that Navajos constructed the masonry structures and hogans contemporaneously for protection against Ute raiders and later Spanish entradas. Further, most were occupied for relatively brief periods and population density was much lower than has been assumed.
Towner points to a new model of Navajo ethnogenesis, based on a revised early population distribution and a variety of other means of incorporating non-Athapaskan elements into Navajo culture, making Defending the Dinétah a major contribution to Navajo studies.
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Laying a Foundation
The Dinetah Pueblito Sites
Temporal and Spatial Patterns
4 other sections not shown
abandonment archaeological Architectural Unit Athapaskan beams Big Bead Mesa broken end Brugge built Canyon Pueblito Carlson ceramics Chacra Mesa construction episodes cutting dates DATE NO DATE dead wood dendrochronological Dinetah Door lintel RM Douglas-fir end MA end end MA limb ends MA bark Figure forked-pole hogans Frances Canyon Ruin Gobernador Polychrome growing season inc MA ends indicate JUN JUN JUN JUN PNN juniper Largo limb MA ends limb MA limb limb SB log Loose log Loose log Loose Loose log RM masonry structures metal ax Navajo culture Navajo occupation Navajo Reservoir near-cutting dates noncutting dates Old Fort Ruin pinyon PNN JUN PNN PNN PNN PNN RM PNN Roof primary primomy Provenience pueblito construction pueblito sites Pueblo Pueblo Revolt Puebloan refugees RM 1 Roof RM RM RM Roof primary RM San Juan River suggest Tapacito Ruin Terminal Ring Three Corn Ruin Towner and Johnson tree-ring dates Unknown Unknown Unknown