Ancestral Pueblo: Greater Upper Rio Grande ValleyNorthern Rio Grande

Branch Name: Northern Rio Grande

First posted by C. Dean Wilson 2013

The Northern Rio Grande as defined here encompasses areas north of a broad area roughly north of Santa Fe that included areas along the drainages of the Rio Grande in north central New Mexico. This ceramic tradition began during the late ninth to late tenth century with the movement of ceramic groups into the valleys of the Northern Rio Grande. During the earliest periods similar forms appear to have produced in the valley bottoms along many of the drainages. During the Coalition period there was an expansion of populations into other areas including the Galisteo Basin, Chama Valley, and Pajarito Plateau. During the Classic period, the Northern Rio Grande pottery traditions are mainly distinguished from those associated with areas to the south by the continuation of the production of local white wares, such as Biscuit Ware types and Jemez Black-on-white, rather than the adoption of glaze ware technology, although by end of the Classic and beginning of the Spanish Colonial periods, the production of glaze wares had been extended to some locations in areas of the Northern Rio Grande (Boyd 2010).

The Northern Rio Grande is here divided into different traditions based on differences in pottery produced by different groups including Northern Tewa, Northern Tiwa, and Eastern Towa speaking groups. Of these, that associated with the Northern Tewa or Northern Rio Grande tradition represents the longest and most widespread and includes a fairly large number of types assigned to various ware groups. Areas assigned to these traditions include both localities in the direct vicinity of historically occupied Pueblo Villages as well as well as larger surrounding areas which appear to be associated with the ancestor of these different groups. Another tradition included here is reflected by the short-term adoption of Pueblo pottery technologies by groups in Hispanic villages during the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Related Traditions