Obsidian procurement in the Gallinas Mountains of west central New Mexico
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The Gallinas Mountains of west central New Mexico are a relatively understudied area within the greater American Southwest. The area effectively lies within a transitionary zone between three classically defined culture areas, the Cibola region to the northwest, the Mogollon Highlands to the southwest, and the Rio Abajo region (or Lower Rio Grande Valley) to the east. New projects in the Gallinas Mountains area have sought to better understand how its extensive Pueblo period occupations interacted with the surrounding regions. The following research uses in-field X-ray fluorescence to analyze the surface obsidian assemblages of ten late Pithouse and Pueblo period sites in the Gallinas Mountains in order to determine source use and ultimately provide a narrow but precise indication of procurement strategy and inter-regional interaction. Results show that residents of the area utilized a variety of obsidian sources through time. Chief among these were Mount Taylor and McDaniel Tank, with Jemez also being somewhat common. Mule Creek along with several other sources were utilized in a more minor capacity. Residents of the area during the late Pithouse, early Pueblo, and late Pueblo periods showed a preference for northern source material, especially Mount Taylor, while middle Pueblo period sites (with the exception of the possible Mesa Verde migrant community of Gallinas Springs Pueblo) showed quite the opposite, with assemblages dominated by material from the relatively local McDaniel Tank source. The variable obsidian source use patterns and procurement strategies observed through time and across cultural boundaries are indicative of a complex and shifting system of exchange and interaction between the residents of the Gallinas Mountains area and those of the surrounding regions.
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