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A Thousand Years of Taos History

Explore the archaeology, history, and cultures of the northern Rio Grande valley of New Mexico

Taos Pueblo.

Sept. 25–Oct. 1, 2012


$2,495 (member*)
$2,620 (nonmember)

Deposit: $400
Balance due: July 25, 2012

*Minimum $100 level
(see Membership)

The Taos region of northern New Mexico has forever been a cultural crossroads. Pueblo peoples first settled the region during the tenth century A.D., eventually coalescing into two Tiwa-speaking villages, Taos and Picurís—the largest settlements in the Pueblo world. Later centuries brought the Spanish entrada and subsequent Pueblo Revolt, conflict with Comanche and Ute raiders, and the bloody American military assault on the pueblo in 1847. In the twentieth century, Taos Pueblo inspired a new generation of Native American activists through its successful struggle to reclaim sacred Blue Lake.

This fascinating archaeological and historical tour explores the many cultural conflicts and collaborations that have come to define Taos society. From the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to the Rio Grande Gorge, we will explore a variety of precolumbian, colonial-era, and more-recent sites that reflect the historical complexity of the northern Southwest. Our trip culminates with San Geronimo Feast Day at Taos Pueblo.

Explore the archaeology and history of the northern Rio Grande area, from ancient times to the present

Learn about the origin of Tiwa-speaking Pueblo peoples in the region—and how their culture was affected by the later arrival of the Spanish, Plains Indian groups, and the American military

Hike the Rio Grande Gorge and discover rock art created over a span of 7,000 years—including Archaic, Pueblo, Comanche, Ute, and Catholic examples

Visit Taos Pueblo, Picuris Pueblo, and Ranchos de Taos; attend San Geronimo Day ceremonies at Taos Pueblo

Scholars Dr. Severin Fowles (top) and Richard Aspenwind (bottom).


Dr. Severin Fowles is a professor of anthropology at Barnard College and Columbia University and director of an ongoing archaeological survey examining 7,000 years of human use of the Rio Grande Gorge. Widely acknowledged as a rising star in North American archaeology, Sev’s questioning of archaeological assumptions has led to fresh insights into Western society today as well as American Indian societies of the past.

Richard Aspenwind is a tribal councilman and former Lt. Governor and cultural affairs specialist for Taos Pueblo; he recently helped organize the 2010 commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the return of sacred Blue Lake to Taos. In addition, Richard is an accomplished artist, known for his multimedia wall sculptures and clay masks. He is currently writing a historical novel about his experiences at Taos and consulting with Sev on his Taos-area research.

We will also be joined at intervals by several notable Southwestern scholars:

Dr. Michael Adler: professor, Southern Methodist University
Dr. Richard Ford: curator emeritus, Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan
Dr. Sylvia Rodríguez: professor emerita of anthropology and former director of the Alfonso Ortiz Center for Intercultural Studies, University of New Mexico.

Summary Itinerary

A detailed itinerary is available in the program brochure (PDF). Itinerary subject to change.

Tuesday, September 25
Arrival in Albuquerque, New Mexico; introduction; lodging in Albuquerque (D)

Wednesday, September 26
Drive over the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to Taos; tour Pot Creek Pueblo and collections of the Fort Burgwin Research Center; lodging in Taos (B, L, D)

Thursday, September 27
Tour Taos and Picuris pueblos; lodging in Taos (B, L)

Friday, September 28
Hike the Rio Grande Gorge to view Archaic, Pueblo, Plains-style, and Catholic Penitente rock art; visit eighteenth-century Ute and Comanche tipi encampment; lodging in Taos (B, L, D)

Saturday, September 29
Tour Ranchos de Taos, including San Francisco de Asis Church, then explore twentieth-century commune of New Buffalo; attend San Geronimo Eve Vespers at Taos Pueblo; lodging in Taos (B, L, D)

Sunday, September 30
Return to Taos Pueblo to attend San Geronimo Feast Day ceremonies, including Black Eyes clown ritual; farewell dinner and closing program; lodging in Taos (B, L, D)

Monday, October 1
Departure from Albuquerque (B)

B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner



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Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California
CST 2059347-50

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