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Current Research

Maxwell Museum curators, staff, and affiliated students are conducting exciting new research on Museum Collections and Archives and in the field.  We share highlights of current research here.

Ancestral Pueblo Field House (UNM 1)

Research Wednesday: Ancestral Pueblo field houses

Posted on: Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Community and occupational stability at Ancestral Pueblo field houses in the Sandia Foothills

In April, the Society for American Archaeology held its first in person conference since 2019... read more

Plan of Tijeras Pueblo

Plan of Tijeras Pueblo showing construction phases. Room Block 3 on left.

Research Wednesday: Tijeras Pueblo 1970s Excavations, Room Block 3

Posted on: Wednesday, January 12, 2022

The Maxwell Museum Technical Papers series edited by David Phillips presents rich research reports on archaeological field projects and analyses of the collections they generate. Reports can be downloaded for free at read more
Dogoszhi-style Mancos Black-on-white bowl, no. 120 (Wallace Ruin)

Dogoszhi-style Mancos Black-on-white bowl from Wallace Ruin (5MT6970), Vessel 120. Photo courtesy of Crow Canyon Archaeological Center.


Research Wednesday: Design variation on Mancos Black-on-white pottery

Posted on: Wednesday, April 28, 2021

The Mancos Black-on-white pottery type is an enduring enigma in the central Mesa Verde region. It was produced from roughly A.D. 920–1180 and includes a wide range in variation in design and technology. During its production period, nearly... read more

MMA 89.48.8
Mimbres bowl with geometric design from the Maxwell Museum Collections
Mattocks site (LA 676)
MMA 89.48.8


Research Wednesday: Real or Fake? Analyzing Mimbres Pottery Design in Museum Collections

Posted on: Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Mimbres black-on-white pottery bowls are highly admired for their beautiful and intricate figurative and geometric designs. Their desirability to collectors has led to rampant looting and destruction of many Mimbres sites. It has also led to the... read more

Ceramic thin section from San Marcos Pueblo (MMA 2021.8.379a)

Ceramic thin section sample E59 (MMA 2021.8.379a); Glaze E Puaray Glaze Polychrome


Research Wednesday: New Research on Old Collections

Posted on: Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Archaeological research is constantly evolving and changing. As new technologies are developed (often in the physical and chemical sciences), archaeologists are gifted with new and exciting tools with which to explore the past. The development of... read more

Quiché Cotton Huipil. detail  (MMA 2007.74.1)

Detail. Handwoven Quiché Cotton Huipil, San Tomas Chichicastenango, Guatemala. Holzapfel Collection MMA 2007.74.1



Research Wednesday: Maya Weaving

Posted on: Wednesday, February 24, 2021

UNM Museum Studies Master’s student Petra Brown has been conducting research on Central American Mayan textiles and textile tools in the Holzapfel Collection of the Maxwell Museum’s ethnology division. Here is her report:

During the Fall 2020... read more
Figure 1. Majolica sherd, imported to San Marcos from Mexico (MMA 2005.114)

Figure 1. Majolica sherd, imported to San Marcos from Mexico (MMA 2006.114)


Research Wednesday: San Marcos Pueblo, 4 of 4

Posted on: Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Today, we conclude our discussion of our recent research at San Marcos Pueblo by exploring the direct and indirect evidence of Spaniards at the Indigenous community of San Marcos. Historical documents suggest that a mission was established at San... read more

Petrographic thin section of pottery sherd made at San Marcos

An example of a petrographic thin section of a pottery sherd made at San Marcos, showing the clay (in red) and the crushed rock added to the clay as temper (in gray/blue).


Research Wednesday: San Marcos Pueblo, Part 3 of 4

Posted on: Wednesday, November 18, 2020

San Marcos Pueblo potters made beautiful glaze-painted pottery from the 1300s until the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. They used lead sources from the nearby Cerrillos Hills to create glazes. Unlike some contemporary pottery where glaze covers an entire... read more

Map of San Marcos showing the different periods of use.

Map of San Marcos showing the different periods of use (map by Shawn Perman)

Research Wednesday: San Marcos Pueblo, Part 2 of 4

Posted on: Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Today we continue our exploration of the University of New Mexico’s San Marcos Pueblo project (see Part 1 for an introduction to San Marcos Pueblo). In Part 2, we look at how the community grew and changed over time. Because the... read more

Book cover The Archaeology and History of Pueblo San Marcos: Change and Stability.

Book cover The Archaeology and History of Pueblo San Marcos: Change and Stability.

Research Wednesday: San Marcos Pueblo, Part 1 of 4

Posted on: Monday, November 2, 2020

Our next few “Research Wednesday” posts will focus on San Marcos Pueblo. San Marcos is a large ancestral Pueblo town located just south of Santa Fe, New Mexico, on the edge of the Galisteo Basin. Pueblo ancestors lived in this... read more