Publication Date

Fall 11-15-2019


This dissertation explores how seventeenth-century Spanish colonial households expressed their group identity at a regional level in New Mexico. Through the material remains of daily practice and repetitive actions, identity markers tied to adornment, technological traditions, and culinary practices are compared between 14 assemblages to test four identity models. Seventeenth-century colonists were eating a combination of Old World domesticates and wild game on colonoware and majolica serving vessels, cooking using Indigenous pottery, grinding with Puebloan style tools, and conducting household scale production and prospecting. While assemblages are consistent in basic composition, variations are present tied to socioeconomic status. This blending of material culture into a new set of identity markers points to a self-sufficient, household-based settlement pattern linked throughout the region, representing the transition over time from a broader New Spain material culture package to a New Mexico colonial identity package, which eventually developed into the modern Nuevo Mexicano identity.


Historic Archaeology, Museum Collections, Identity, Spanish Colonial, Artifact Analysis

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First Committee Member (Chair)

Emily L. Jones

Second Committee Member

Frances Hayashida

Third Committee Member

Bruce Huckell

Fourth Committee Member

Christopher Wilson