Project name: Tres Piedras
Periods: Middle and Late Archaic; Mexican or Territorial; statehood to present
Project directors: Matthew Barbour and Chuck Hannaford
The OAS performed testing and data recovery on five archaeological sites south of Tres Piedras in Carson National Forest. The sites represented a broad range of temporal and ethnic affiliations: mobile hunter and gatherer groups during the Middle and Late Archaic periods (1800 BC–AD 600); Jicarilla Apaches during the Mexican or American Territorial periods (1821–1912); and Native, Hispanic, and Anglo use of the area during the New Mexico Statehood period (1912–present).
The analysis of flaked stone artifacts from the sites contributes to our understanding of hunter-gatherer organizational and resource acquisition systems in northern New Mexico during the prehistoric and historic periods. Common lithic types include Polvadera obsidian and Pedernal chert from the Jemez Mountains and local materials such as fine-grained basalt and No Agua obsidian from the Tres Piedras area.
The analysis of Euroamerican artifacts provides a compelling picture of life west of the Rio Grande in the 1800 and 1900s. Among the most interesting of these artifacts is a soldered can perforated with an object similar in shape to a square nail. Ethnographic accounts of the construction of the Theodore Roosevelt Dam suggest that objects comparable to the perforated can were used by Apache laborers for brewing tiswin (better known as corn beer) in the early twentieth century. While this artifact cannot definitively be tied to this function, it is certainly an intriguing possibility.