Date of this Version
In the American Southwest, indigenous pueblo cultures are a vital part of the region's contemporary mosaic of ethnic diversity. This is especially evident through their long-standing relationship to the land and landscape as reflected in the continuity of place for all pueblo communities and the countless number of ancestral sites that figure prominently in contemporary beliefs and practices. Recently many such sites have gained federal recognition and legal protection as archaeological and traditional cultural sites, yet stabilization, protection, use and interpretation of these sites according to existing theories and models of conservation have proven to be difficult. Based on the recognition that such places remain critical to the continuing identity of Native peoples and that many of these sites are simultaneously visited and enjoyed by the public, their preservation and respectful management have become a relevant, timely and sometimes controversial issue. Beginning in 1997 the University of Pennsylvania, the National Park Service and San Ildefonso Pueblo inaugurated an integrated research and training programme focused on the conservation and management of Tsankawi (New Mexico), an ancestral puebloan mesa site of great cultural and archaeological significance. The project afforded a critical examination of the theoretical and ethical issues surrounding the preservation and management of ancestral archaeological sites and the technical methods required for their stabilization and interpretation as cultural landscapes. Professionals, students and pueblo affiliates engaged in documentation, condition survey and preservation treatments of the ancient tuff rock trails and pueblo structures. From this effort, a strategic conservation plan was developed and its initial implementation explored through an annual training programme involving pueblo and university interns as well as professional archaeologists and cultural resource managers.
Date Posted: 19 November 2008
This document has been peer reviewed.