Go to Table of Contents.
About This Publication
List of Tables
List of Illustrations
Introduction to the Site
Research Design
Castle Rock Pueblo in a Regional Context
Settlement Organization
Population Estimates
Faunal Remains
Plant Evidence
Rock Art
The Final Days of Castle Rock Pueblo
Oral History
A Native American Perspective


by Kristin A. Kuckelman

This section addresses the evidence at Castle Rock Pueblo for movement of goods both within the Mesa Verde region and from outside the region. Although the section is called "Trade," it is important to note that goods also move as a result of migration, marriage, direct procurement, and raiding. Movement of goods can be traced by comparing where goods are found with where they were produced or where their raw materials occur naturally. Evidence at Castle Rock for movement of goods within the Mesa Verde region consists of pottery found far from its clay sources (Glowacki et al. 1998*1). Movement of goods from outside the region is indicated by the presence of nonlocal objects at the site. Nonlocal objects are those made of materials that do not occur naturally within the region or those known to have been produced outside the region. Movement of goods is important because it mirrors the flow of people, information, and ideas across geographic areas (see also "Artifacts").

Trade or movement of goods within the Mesa Verde region was indicated by neutron activation analysis of pottery sherds and clay sources. This analysis matched the paste in sherds with raw clay deposits in the environment. The results show that a sherd from a bowl thought to have been produced at Mesa Verde was found at Castle Rock Pueblo, and sherds from bowls thought to have been produced at Castle Rock Pueblo were found at Long House on Mesa Verde (Glowacki et al. 1998*1:237). These results indicate interaction between inhabitants of the two villages. The same study suggested that vessels might have been exchanged between Castle Rock Pueblo and Sand Canyon Pueblo (Glowacki et al. 1998*1:234–237), although the same results would have been obtained if the two villages were simply using the same clay sources.

Artifacts collected at Castle Rock that were identified as trade goods from outside the region include marine shell, nonlocal pottery, and nonlocal stone. Information about the marine shell artifacts is contained in a report by Gross (1999*1); these artifacts include an Olivella bead, an abalone (Haliotis) pendant, and two unidentified marine shells (Gross 1999*1:Table 15.49). The Olivella shell came from the Gulf of California, and the abalone came from the Pacific coast of California (Gross 1999*1), indicating movement of these goods over a wide geographic area.

A few of the pottery sherds collected at Castle Rock Pueblo were identified as being from vessels that were not produced in the Mesa Verde region. Approximately a dozen out of a total of 42,000 sherds came from vessels produced outside the region (San Juan Red Ware is considered here to have been produced within the region, although it is treated as nonlocal in Ortman's "Artifacts"). An additional 60 or so sherds were unidentifiable to ware or type, so some or all of the vessels from which these sherds originated might have been produced elsewhere. The nonlocal pottery sherds collected include one sherd each of Tusayan Black-on-red and Tsegi Orange Ware and two sherds of White Mountain Red Ware (see the on-line laboratory manual and "Artifacts"). The presence of these sherds indicates direct or indirect contact with groups to the south and southwest. However, the proportion of nonlocal sherds is extremely small, and these vessels could already have been in the possession of villagers when they settled at Castle Rock Pueblo. Thus, the evidence suggests that villagers at Castle Rock engaged in little or no pottery trade with people outside the region.

Numerous artifacts were made of nonlocal stone, including two obsidian projectile points, one turquoise bead, one modified flake of Washington Pass chert, a piece of hematite, and three projectile points of nonlocal chert-siltstone (see "Artifacts"). An additional 114 stone artifacts were of materials from unidentified sources. These additional artifacts were made of chert-siltstones or quartzites, some of which appear to be nonspecific local materials (such as river cobbles), others of which are from nonlocal unknown sources. The sources of the turquoise, nonlocal chert-siltstone, and obsidian are unknown. The nearest source of obsidian is Polvadera Peak in north-central New Mexico. Turquoise was mined in ancient times in Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, California, Nevada, and Mexico (Weigand and Harbottle 1993*1:162–163), but the source of the Castle Rock turquoise has not been determined. The Washington Pass chert is from Washington Pass in the Chuska Mountains of west-central New Mexico.

Several artifacts made of petrified wood were found, including four of the 48 projectile points collected from the site. Petrified wood was not necessarily traded to the villagers at Castle Rock; they could have obtained it themselves, since it occurs naturally in nearby northwestern New Mexico. One of the projectile points is a Desert Side-Notched point, a type usually associated with ancestral Utes in this area (Janetski 1991*1:48). Because this point was found just below modern ground surface, high in the fill above Structure 302 (a kiva), near deer bone fragments and burned rocks, I interpret its presence as indicating short-term reuse of the site by Utes long after Puebloan peoples migrated from the region.

One of the 48 projectile points is of nonlocal chert-siltstone, and another 10 are of chert-siltstone from unknown sources. One projectile point of nonlocal material (red jasper) was identified as a Bull Creek point (Pierce 1999*1). The presence of this point at Castle Rock suggests contact with people to the west. The Bull Creek area is north of the Colorado River in southeastern Utah (Madsen 1989*1:36–43). Bull Creek points are commonly found in the Colorado River drainage of southeastern Utah and are almost unknown in the Mesa Verde Anasazi area (Fetterman and Honeycutt 1990*1:58). These points are usually found at Fremont and Kayenta Anasazi sites (Holmer 1986*1:107; Reed 1998*1:334). The specific variety of the point found at Castle Rock most resembles points that were made south of the Colorado River and west of Montezuma Canyon in southeastern Utah (Geib 1996*1; Matheny 1962*1). This projectile point, found in the upper fill of Structure 204 (a kiva), is purportedly the first Bull Creek point to be documented in southwestern Colorado (Pierce 1999*1). There are several possible ways in which a projectile point of nonlocal material might have ended up at Castle Rock: (1) it might have been traded to a resident of the village; (2) it might have been found elsewhere and brought to the village by a resident; (3) it might have arrived at the site as a result of migration or marriage; or (4) it might have been left at the site by attackers during a violent encounter.

In conclusion, evidence at Castle Rock Pueblo indicates some movement of goods both within the Mesa Verde region and from outside the region. Nonlocal stone probably came from sources in New Mexico or Arizona, and marine shell originated on the Pacific coast. It appears, however, that only a small amount of interaction, as measured by the exchange of material goods, occurred between the residents of Castle Rock and groups outside the region. Pottery exchange between regions in the northern Southwest was extensive just before the Pueblo III period but decreased during that period (Blinman and Wilson 1993*1:86), as did exchange of other types of goods (Lekson and Cameron 1995*1:193). The reasons for the scant movement of goods are unknown, but they may be tied to the difficulties that contributed to the Puebloan migration out of the Mesa Verde region in the late A.D. 1200s.

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