Research Rookies explore ruins of San Marcos Pueblo

Lauren Dielman

San Marcos Pueblo, a village now in ruins, left behind many unanswered questions.

The pueblo was located in New Mexico. In the seventeenth century, Spanish Jesuits constructed a two-story church and a convent for priests. The mission lasted 70 years until the Pueblo Revolt, which led to the priests’ deaths. San Marcos was never occupied by the Spanish again.

Nearly 22 years ago, anthropology professor Winifred Creamer got the chance to excavate materials from the ruins.

“In 1990, I directed excavations at the site and collected a sample of material from one room in each larger block of rooms,” Creamer said.

Research Rookie Lindsey Komes, freshman anthropology major, said she is working with Creamer to catalog the artifacts found from San Marcos Pueblo.

“The blocks were arranged like low-rise apartment buildings, one or two stories high, with families living in two or more rooms,” Creamer said.

Komes and Creamer are cataloging the artifacts by room block and hoping the items will help them answer questions about population in the pueblo. They are trying to determine whether a large or small population lived in the pueblo at one time.

“People may have rebuilt blocks of rooms periodically because the rooms became run down and infested,” Creamer said. “If this is the case, the overall population of the pueblo may be over-represented by the blocks of rooms.”

Creamer said during the analysis of the excavated material, they will try to determine if European diseases killed a large portion of the population or if the population was small enough that the decline was not as significant.

The room blocks can also tell more than just the size of the population.

Creamer said by looking at these artifacts, they can tell whether the room was a living room, a storage room or a workshop.

Komes said she enjoys working on this project with Creamer because of the uniqueness of the project. She said she also enjoys making important connections and relationships through her Research Rookies project.

Creamer said the Research Rookie is expected to give a presentation for Research Rookies Day on April 24.

“In the long run, the student may do additional research that may be presented in other ways such as at a national meeting or in a publication, but presenting a poster at Research Day is an important first step,” Creamer said.