As visitation to Coronado Historic Site slows for the winter, our research season begins. In 2014 Historic Sites Staff along with volunteers from the Friends of Coronado Historic Site created the Kuaua Research Initiative. The project’s main goal is to promote research utilizing the thousands of Kuaua Pueblo artifacts which are housed in various institutions around the state. Ranger Ethan Ortega’s task is to produce a comprehensive database with all of the archaeological information about Kuaua Pueblo to be easily accessed by anyone interested in researching the site.
Last year the research team photographed and documented almost 1,000 items including complete ceramic vessels, stone tools, jewelry, animal bones, as well as artifacts from the Europeans who eventually lived on the property. Below are a few examples:
Ranger Ethan is also georeferencing these artifacts and documents, which means he is connecting them to the area of the ancient village where they were recorded. He has produced a map using a geographic information system (GIS) program called QGIS. The mapping program is free and easy to download so in the future researchers will be able to access the map that is being produced. When a room of the village is clicked the field notes, excavation photographs, and images of artifacts are displayed that correspond directly to the selected room. This is the first time that this has ever been done for Kuaua Pueblo, and will be able to help answer many questions that still linger about the ancient village.
The 2016 research project will last from January until April and will focus on boxes of artifacts housed at the New Mexico Center for Archaeology in Santa Fe, NM. The artifacts in many of these boxes have never been researched, and could contain keys to answering some of the big picture questions about the village. Some boxes that are of particular interest are labeled “unidentified Spanish metal” or even “restorable pots”. Below is Ethan’s map of Kuaua, all of the rooms that are marked with bright colors have detailed excavation information. The rooms that are grey, have little to no information, so our goal for 2016 is to locate some of those documents and artifacts to fill in the gaps.