Puebloan Archaeology & Apache History of Canada Alamosa
with Dr. Steve Lekson, University of Colorado and Karl Laumbach, Director, Canada Alamosa Project
Thursday-Saturday April 21-23, 2011
Join Southwest Seminars, Dr. Steve Lekson and Karl Laumbach for an archaeology and history field study trip to visit important sites of the Canada Alamosa, located in southwestern New Mexico. In the centuries before the Apache (Athapascan) migration in to this area, it was the setting for two large-plaza Pueblos, a migrant Mesa Verde village, a huge 500-room Tularosa town, the northernmost Mimbres village, the southernmost Socorro site, and a sizeable earlier Ancestral Puebloan pithouse community, all located on the Monticello Box Ranch. The area has been extensively studied by scholars for several years in recognition and interpretation of frontiers and migrations of peoples in the archaeological record.


Frontiers “the leading edges of contact and change between cultures” and boundaries are important because they recognize that social systems are open and provide perspective on the more intensely studied central places, such as Chaco Canyon, Mesa Verde, and the Mimbres River. Studies suggest that the Pueblo populations of the Cañada Alamosa were at times strongly linked to a central place(s) and at other times were reorganizing in an independent effort to adapt and survive. Dr. Lekson and others have made a strong case that the Canada Alamosa was the destination for a migrant community from the Mesa Verde culture area.

This important cultural area embraces the entirety of the Rio Alamosa drainage, from its headwaters at the Plains of San Agustin to its mouth on the Rio Grande including its tributary drainages and was the home of Ancestral Puebloans for more than 800 years. Rio Alamosa is fed by a perennially flowing warm spring (Ojo Caliente), home of the Warm Springs Apache, the hot springs are located three miles northwest of the ranch headquarters.


Pueblo Archaeology & Rock Art of the San Juan River with David Grant Noble
Wednesday-Sunday, May 18-22, 2011
What could be better than a spring float down the mighty San Juan River, legendary cultural resource in the heart of the Four Corners region? Enjoy an educational and relaxing 3-day trip down the scenic San Juan River between Montezuma Creek, Utah and Mexican Hat. We’ll camp for 2 nights, learning about the cultural history and archaeology of the region with David Grant Noble. He has guided educational and archaeological groups down the San Juan River for more than twenty years. In addition to providing commentary on each site visited, he will offer us interesting facets of Puebloan and Dine (Navajo) history. David is the author and editor of many books relating to Southwest archaeology and culture, including Ancient Ruins of the Southwest: An Archaeological Guide and most recently, In the Places of the Spirits.

Our expedition outfitter is Wild Rivers Expeditions with its staff of expert and well-informed river guides, who tell the local stories, row the rafts and prepare all our river meals, and also furnish our camping equipment and supplies. On-your-own transportation to Bluff, where our adventure begins. Comfortable overnight motel lodging the night before and after our 3-days and 2-nights on the river at Desert Rose Inn, a log lodge recently built on the edge of the town of Bluff, Utah. Check-in by late afternoon on May 18. Evening diner together with river orientation and talk by David.

After a hearty breakfast on Thursday, we will board our rafts for a 3-day float down the San Juan River. Our put-in at Montezuma Creek is upstream from Bluff, Utah. This scenic stretch of the river is especially noted for its Puebloan ruins and Basketmaker rock art panels and many are only accessible from the river. Highlights include the Sand Island Petroglyph Panel, one of the largest ancient petroglyph panels in the Southwest; Desert Creek Rock Art Site, which feature Basketmaker pictographs and petroglyphs; the Citadel, a fortress -like pueblo with a commanding view over the river; Sixteen-Room House, a long cliff dwelling perched on a ledge in a huge alcove; Butler Wash and Desecration rock art panels; River House, pueblo from c. 900-1100 CE; possible hike up Chinle Wash to Floating House and pictographs.

Float through the fabulous Upper Canyon of the San Juan with its stunning geologic formations and fascinating stop to see fossils. Shortly before our river trip ends, we will pass the amazing balancing rock known as the Mexican Hat, which is near our river put-out. Farewell dinner in Bluff and comfortable overnight lodging on May 21 at Desert Rose Inn. Sunday morning we’ll tour Bluff Great House site with David, an important far-outlying Chacoan site researched by Dr. Catherine Cameron.

Includes 3 full days of floating and 2 nights of camping on the river, 2 nights lodging at Desert Rose Inn, (the evenings before and after the raft trip), with tents, and sleeping bags for the camping nights. All meals: 4 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinners…2 at ‘Bluff’s best’ and 2 ‘round the campfire. Honorarium for our exceptional Study Leader and river guides, all fees for permits and services. Price per person: $1,350 for double occupancy. If you bring your own tent, sleeping bag and pad it will be $35 less. For single occupancy on the two nights in Bluff, add an additional $125.

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