The Exhibit

This exhibit covers post contact history, beginning with the Spanish Colonial period, moving to the Mexican period, and ending with the present day in the American period. The Spanish Colonial period begins with Juan de Oñate’s exploration of New Mexico in 1598. The Mexican period begins with the Mexicans victory in the Mexican War of Independence against the Spanish Empire in 1821. The American period begins with the American victory of the Mexican American War in 1848 and continues to present day.

Centuries of complex, dynamic, and divergent relationships between the Spanish, Mexicans, Natives, and Americans create the New Mexican landscape. New Mexico is made up many different nations, each with their own cultural values, political systems, and complicated relationships with each other, the Spanish, Mexicans, and American through time. 

Examining Imperial forces from above, economic, political, and cultural trends appear straightforward. But re-evaluating these trends at a local level, we can better assess how global forces affect individuals at a ground level and how the individual played out these larger trends. This exhibit investigates local life in the Rio Embudo Watershed. It seeks to understand the individual’s role both in consuming larger social trends and their role in reproducing these social structures over time. Our investigations into the past should examine the multiple perspectives on contrasting phenomena. The exhibit unearths meaning in the minutiae of everyday life.  Ordinary people construct the course of events through actions which are shaped by and continue shaping the world around them. Examining lived experiences within the normative timeline of critical events creates a conversation between the global and local, in which ordinary people enact global trends in small ways through their everyday behavior.

The Exhibit opens a dialogue between the larger economic, political, and cultural forces at play in New Mexico through time and the lives of those occupying the Embudo valley from 1598 through present day. It pulls from primary documents, historic accounts, and oral history, grounds itself in the material record of the Embudo watershed. The archaeological record draws our attention to different phenomena happening in the area, allowing this history to become tangible. Grounded in a singular place, we can investigate the consequences global powers had on the lives of ordinary people and vice versa. Embudo’s material record helps us navigate the sociopolitical history of this place. Moving through multiple scales of analysis illuminates new perspectives on this colonial narrative, providing fresh insight to these historical events and its political landscape. The material past can further complicate this landscape, giving us a sense of what life was like within the sweeping scope of imperialism. 

*Please Note

The Dixon/Embudo community was originally named San Antonio del Embudo at its formation in 1725, the town was later renamed Dixon in 1901 after the first postmaster. A different town, also named Embudo, was established in1881down the road from Dixon. Despite the existence and proximity of this second town to Dixon, all references to Embudo within this thesis are made to the community of Dixon/San Antonio del Embudo.

Excavation Unit Map

The locations of the 2013 and 2015 archaeological excavations

The Material

The artifacts showcased in this exhibit draws predominantly from 2013 and 2015 archaeological excavations within and around the historic Embudo plaza. The excavations are conducted by the Gorge Project, an archaeological project based in Dixon, New Mexico, and afiiliated with Barnard College and Columbia University. The 2015 excavations took place in the historic Embudo plaza and the materials from said excavation can be found under "Plaza del Embudo excavations (2015)" collection. The 2013 excavations took place directly outside of the plaza in front of Severin Fowles’ home, the wildgoose. The materials from said excavation can be found under "Dixon Midden Excavations (2013)" collection.  This exhibit also uses materials from Picuris Pueblo stored at Fort Burgwin, which can be found in the "Picuris Pueblo Excavations" collection. It also draws from historical photographs, documents, and maps. The photographs were given to us by Levi Romero and can be found under the "Historical photographs." Lastly, the exhibit uses documents, maps, and archaeological material from the Library of Congress, Malcom Ebright's, "Land Grants and Lawsuits in Northern New Mexico,"[1] and, Johnson et al’s 2009report of the archaeological findings at the Battle of Cieneguilla[2]

[1] Malcolm Ebright, Land Grants and Lawsuits in Northern New Mexico. (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1994), 127

[2] D.M Johnson, C. Adams, C.Hawk C., and S. K. Miller, Final Report on the Battle of Cieneguilla, A Jicarilla Apache Victory over the U.S. Dragoons, March 30, 1854. Report No. 20. (Albuquerque.:USDA Forest Service, 2009)