Moving Ideas, Staying at Home: Change and Continuity in 18th Century Pueblo Pottery

Author(s): Bruce Bernstein

Year: 2017


Sometimes staying in place requires movement. To stay in their pre-contact villages required that Pueblo people shift loci of cultural practice as well as reorder intellectual and material culture. New styles of pottery, including the adaptation of blackwares, quickly moved from one Rio Grande pueblo to the next. By the close of the 18th century, pottery changed and is adapted in its use for storing, preparing, and serving wheat-based foods such as oven-baked bread. The movement of new pottery styles might be understood as an adaptive strategy to keep villages intact. Although a precept of Tewa culture is movement, evidence suggests that seventeenth and eighteenth century Pueblo leadership believed that moving from established villages might permanently and irrevocably disrupt cultural continuity because Tewa culture is based on movement creating continuum rather than change.

These are primarily sentient and stable cultural adaptation strategies rather than episodic or forced change as the older anthropological literature and researchers continue to suggest. The research utilizes historic and ethnographic data and museum collections along with archaeological collections from Tewa villages, a materiality record that documents Tewa worldview, adaptation, and survival--Tewa people’s reaction and adaptation to Spanish introduced ideas.

Cite this Record

Moving Ideas, Staying at Home: Change and Continuity in 18th Century Pueblo Pottery. Bruce Bernstein. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431248)

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14573