The Effects of Inundation on an Early Fourteenth-Century Adobe Pueblo at Caballo Reservoir, New Mexico

Author(s): Robert Stokes; Mark Hungerford

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "SAA 2019: General Sessions" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

In late 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation significantly lowered Caballo Reservoir on the Rio Grande in New Mexico to clean out debris behind the outflow gate. As a result, several submerged prehistoric sites were temporarily exposed on the lakeshore. One of those sites was an early fourteenth-century Jornada Mogollon adobe-walled pueblo. Because Caballo Dam was constructed in the 1930s, few archaeological sites were documented prior to the filling of the reservoir. The site was first recorded during a previous drawdown event in 2002 where the recorders documented its condition. The 2016 drawdown event afforded Reclamation and New Mexico State Parks the unique opportunity to closely study the effects of inundation that occurred at this adobe pueblo between 2002 and 2016. This study also compares our observations to the landmark 1978 National Park Service study of effects of inundation on prehistoric sites in the western United States. We found that wave action during the variable length periods of exposure caused significant erosion damage that rapidly undid the stable conditions experienced by the pueblo while normally under 20 to 30 feet of water. Our observations and conclusions will assist other land managers who oversee cultural resources affected by reservoirs.

Cite this Record

The Effects of Inundation on an Early Fourteenth-Century Adobe Pueblo at Caballo Reservoir, New Mexico. Robert Stokes, Mark Hungerford. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 449267)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -123.97; min lat: 25.958 ; max long: -92.549; max lat: 37.996 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 23228