'Burn the churches, break up the bells': The archaeology of the Pueblo Revolt revitalization movement in New Mexico, A.D. 1680--1696

Matthew J. Liebmann
Dept. of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania
July, 2006


This dissertation investigates the archaeology of the Pueblo Revolt era (A.D. 1680-1696) in the Jemez Province of New Mexico, and attempts two broad goals. The first is to critically examine the anthropological phenomena of revitalization movements through a study of material culture. The second is to write an archaeological history of the events that occurred in the Jemez Province between the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 and the conclusion of the Spanish reconquest in 1696. In order to address the stated objectives, this study examines the material culture of four Pueblo villages constructed in the Jemez Province between 1680 and 1696: Patokwa (LA 96), Boletsakwa (LA 136), Cerro Colorado (LA 2048), and Astialakwa (LA 1825). Through analyses of the architecture and ceramic assemblages of these villages the nature, degree, and trajectory of the Pueblo Revolt revitalization movement is assessed, with a focus on the material signs of nativism (the elimination of foreign influence) and revivalism (the introduction of cultural practices characteristic of previous generations). The results of these analyses suggest that the revitalization movement flourished among the people of the Jemez Province in the years immediately following the Pueblo Revolt. New iconic architectural forms were created to index the past and emphasize traditional Pueblo social organization, while transformations in ceramic production and exchange attest to the commitment to nativism and revivalism in these communities. By the early 1690s, however, the revivalistic element appears to have lost momentum. A resurgence of nativism in 1696 fueled a second uprising, ending the Pueblo Revolt era. This study concludes that revitalization movements are highly negotiated and heterogeneous phenomena. The social practices of revitalization often differ from official doctrines, and the actions of followers frequently do not correspond with the words of leaders. Furthermore, the archaeological record underscores the observation that revivalism results in the creation of new forms, rather than the replication of old ones. Finally, the material culture of the Pueblo Revolt era calls attention to the effects these movements can have on long-term cultural development, emphasizing the need to consider revitalization movements in the formulation of general theories of culture change.