Making Ends Meet in Frontier New Mexico

Author(s): Erin Hegberg

Year: 2015


In 19th century frontier New Mexico consumer relationships reflected important social networks that were essential to the survival of Hispanic settlements. These relationships played a vital role in the formation and maintenance of modern Hispanic identity during the Mexican and American Territorial Periods. Visually and functionally similar plainware ceramics were produced and used by many different cultural groups on the landscape in New Mexico in the 19th century. Hispanic residents were able to acquire their pottery from several sources. Using close statistical analysis of technological styles in the New Mexican plainware ceramic assemblages of four 19th century residential sites, this paper examines personal relationships Hispanos cultivated with neighboring Pueblo and nomadic Native American groups to acquire their pottery, and the implications of these relationships for Hispanic identity.

Preliminary results indicate that social identities and ethnicities on the frontier were becoming more binary as a widening division opened between Hispanic and Native American groups. Hispanos sought to minimize the social markers of their hybrid histories and Native American relationships in response to American prejudices. However, it appears that Hispanic identity also grew to encompass a wide range of settled lifestyles and personal histories.

SAA 2015 abstracts made available in tDAR courtesy of the Society for American Archaeology and Center for Digital Antiquity Collaborative Program to improve digital data in archaeology. If you are the author of this presentation you may upload your paper, poster, presentation, or associated data (up to 3 files/30MB) for free. Please visit for instructions and more information.

Cite this Record

Making Ends Meet in Frontier New Mexico. Erin Hegberg. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396616)


Geographic Keywords
North America - Southwest

Spatial Coverage

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