Developmental Period Migration in the Northern Rio Grande

Author(s): Zachary Cooper

Year: 2018


The origin of Tanoan language diversification is inextricably linked to the debate around the origin of the Tewa. While paleodemographic, bioarchaeological, linguistic, and DNA evidence support a thirteenth century Mesa Verde-Northern Rio Grande migration, the lack of clear material culture evidence of this migration is perplexing. Critical to this discussion is the possibility of an earlier, tenth century migration of (presumably) Proto-Tiwa speakers from the Upper San Juan region into the Northern Rio Grande. While scholars generally agree that Proto-Tiwa split from Proto-Tewa no later than AD 1000, the location of this split, and the subsequent movement of Tiwa speakers, remain unresolved. In this presentation, I evaluate the ability of two competing hypotheses to account for the paleodemographic, linguistic, and archaeological evidence underpinning this question. The first hypothesis posits that Proto-Tiwa split from Proto-Tewa in the Upper San Juan region, which would support the idea of a Mesa Verde migration. The second hypothesis suggests a split within the Tewa Basin, which would shift the argument in favor of in situ development. This research represents a small contribution toward a better understanding of the complexities inherent in the study of Ancestral Puebloan migration patterns.

Cite this Record

Developmental Period Migration in the Northern Rio Grande. Zachary Cooper. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443385)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -124.365; min lat: 25.958 ; max long: -93.428; max lat: 41.902 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 22140