A life in the mountains: Spanish identity in 17th c. New Mexico

Author(s): Caroline Gabe

Year: 2015


As opposed to typical well-defined urban areas, 17th c. Spanish colonial New Mexico consisted of a series of small, dispersed, rural, isolated settlements. The colonists were also isolated in the sense that they had extremely limited and irregular access to trade goods and communication with the broader Spanish Empire. Furthermore, they stemmed from diverse ethnic backgrounds, often lumped as mestizo by modern researchers. Given these challenges to maintaining a perceived Spanish identity, how did the initial Spanish settlers in New Mexico define themselves? What, if anything, united 17th c. settlers as Spanish at a regional level? This paper examines the cultural identities of secular Spanish colonists through a synthetic analysis of material culture, focusing on identity proxies of culinary practices and self-adornment, from four households in the foothills of the Manzano Mountains, south of Albuquerque. The archaeological proxies brought to bear on colonial identity include demonstrably European introductions, such as metal, glass, and domestic Old World fauna, but also locally available material and technology (e.g. ceramics, flaked stone tools, and ground stone).

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Cite this Record

A life in the mountains: Spanish identity in 17th c. New Mexico. Caroline Gabe. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397629)

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Spatial Coverage

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