Puebloan Aggregation, Migratory Birds, and Garden Hunting in the Albuquerque Basin during the Rio Grande Classic

Date and Time: 
Friday, 18 March, 2016 - 11:00
, Robin - University of New Mexico

Towards the end of the 13th Century, the Albuquerque Basin of New Mexico saw a significant increase in population aggregation from Puebloan peoples migrating into the valley. By the time of the Coronado expedition in 1541-42, this area contained 12 large pueblos along the roughly 55 km long by 5 km wide Rio Grande floodplain, resulting in one of the densest concentrations of pueblos and agricultural fields in the Eastern Pueblo region. This substantial increase in the area under cultivation resulted in a significant shift in the wintering grounds of granivorous migratory birds, such as cranes, geese, and ducks, along the Rio Grande Flyway. This paper will present evidence for this shift in the Rio Grande Flyway and demonstrate that Puebloan groups in the Albuquerque Basin were likely using the post-harvest fields for garden hunting of these birds. Furthermore, evidence will show that Puebloan groups were exploiting these birds for subsistence in addition to possible ritual/ceremonial purposes.