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Research Wednesday: Piedras Marcadas Ceramics

Maxwell Museum Blog

Franklin Pottery Sherd


Hayward H. Franklin

Piedras Marcadas Pueblo, LA 290, is the largest known village in the southern Tiwa portion of the Rio Grande Valley. In the many years since the site was first recorded in the late 1920s by Reginald Fisher, it has only been the subject of minor surface collections and limited testing. Following formal tribal consultations in the early 1980s, the focus of investigations shifted to geophysical techniques. Non-invasive research in the past 10 years has yielded abundant evidence of the 1540–1542 expedition into the U.S. Southwest led by Francisco Vàzquez de Coronado.

This emphasis on geophysics and the Coronado expedition has, in a sense, overshadowed the fact that Piedras Marcadas was likely the home to hundreds of pueblo people for hundreds of years. As a consequence, other kinds of analysis of site materials have great potential. The site contains excellent evidence of the entire Rio Grande glazeware sequence from A.D. 1300 into the mid-1600s. Most of the representative Rio Grande glazeware types are found there, and Mera named LA 290 as the type site for Tiguex Glaze Polychrome, a Glaze D ceramic type. With this essay, Hayward Franklin brings to the forefront a current analysis of the Rio Grande glazeware sequence. Ceramic studies of this sort can only be conducted at the most intact remaining southern Tiwa villages, such as Santiago (LA 326/54147), Alameda (LA 421), and Chamisal (LA 22765). Using technological precision combined with newly obtained radiocarbon dates, Franklin’s ceramic analysis moves our current knowledge of Rio Grande Glaze Ware forward considerably.

Full Article: Piedras Marcadas Ceramics