"They Had So Many Stones to Hurl": Evidence of Inter-Indigenous Conflict on the Vázquez de Coronado Expedition, 1540-1542

Author(s): Matthew Schmader

Year: 2015


In 1540, Francisco Vázquez de Coronado led one of the largest expeditions ever assembled by the Spanish crown into the present-day American southwest. The expedition had 375 European men and was supported by a large contingent of at least 1,300 native Méxican soldiers from various ethnic groups. The native Méxican soldiers likely did much of the advance work, hand-to-hand fighting, guarding, and other military detail. The whole expedition was not well-equipped with European military technology and had to rely on native weaponry to a great extent. Upon its arrival in the Rio Grande valley of central New Mexico, the expedition took over native villages for shelter and engaged in several battles with indigenous pueblo people. In so doing, the fighting that broke out between native Méxican soldiers and pueblo people is a rarity in the cultural history of the American southwest. Physical evidence of this conflict from a pueblo site in New Mexico is examined. Slingstones, projectile points, and obsidian flakes are possible links to the Méxican soldiers. These artifacts are intermixed with European items such as crossbow points, musket balls, horse shoe nails, and personal gear. The pattern of artifacts and apparent puebloan defense of their village is described.

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Cite this Record

"They Had So Many Stones to Hurl": Evidence of Inter-Indigenous Conflict on the Vázquez de Coronado Expedition, 1540-1542. Matthew Schmader. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396394)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -115.532; min lat: 30.676 ; max long: -102.349; max lat: 42.033 ;