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Detail of Plateau Bag (NMNH catalog no. E204234)

Executive Summary

Assessment of the Cultural Affiliation of Human Remains Potentially Affiliated with the Pueblo of Jemez at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution

Region: Southwest
Associated Cultures: Pueblo of Jemez

In compliance with 20 U.S.C. 80q et seq. (Public Law 101-185), the National Museum of the American Indian Act, this report provides an inventory and assessment of human remains from the archaeological sites of Giusewa and Amoxiumqua, New Mexico, in the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), Smithsonian Institution (SI). The Pueblo of Jemez submitted a repatriation request on June 24, 2004, for the return of human remains from the pueblos of Giusewa (LA 679) and Kwastiyukwa (LA 482), and requested that the NMNH review museum records for the presence of skeletal remains from 12 other archaeological sites in the Jemez culture area. Upon review of museum documentation, it was determined that the collection listed with the provenience of Kwastiyukwa in the NMNH's database is, in fact, from the site of LA 481, commonly referred to as Amoxiumqua, one of the other 12 sites listed in the request letter.

This report documents the remains of an estimated 214 individuals represented by 204 catalog numbers in the collection of the NMNH. Of these, an estimated 52 individuals in 47 catalog numbers are from Giusewa and an estimated 162 individuals in 158 catalog numbers are from Amoxiumqua.

The skeletal remains from Giusewa were collected during a brief archaeological excavation conducted in 1910 by Edgar Hewett of the School of American Archaeology (SAA, now the School of American Research), F. W. Hodge of the Bureau of American Ethnology (BAE), and Jesse Nusbaum and Kenneth Chapman of the SAA, which later became the School of American Research. Remains from Amoxiumqua were collected during excavations sponsored by the BAE and the SAA in the summers of 1910 and 1911.

Archaeological evidence indicates relatively continuous prehispanic occupancy of the Jemez pueblos discussed here, beginning by at least the early fourteenth century and lasting until occupation of the site ceased before the end of the seventeenth century. Museum records, ethnographic studies, examination of artifacts, oral historical accounts, unpublished field notes, and Spanish colonial documents as well as statements made in consultation with tribal representatives, were examined for this report. These lines of evidence indicate that the Jemez valley was continually occupied by Towa-speaking Jemez people from at least A.D. 1350 to the present day. There was a brief hiatus of occupation in the 1700s, following reconquest of the region by the Spanish. The two sites discussed here, Giusewa and Amoxiumqua, were occupied from approximately A.D. 1350 until A.D. 1650, well after Spanish contact. Spanish documents indicate that the residents of Amoxiumqua and Giusewa were consistently occupied by Towa-speaking Jemez people. Analysis of ceramics within the NMNH collection from these two sites confirms the information from other lines of evidence and provides further refinement of the possible dates of the burials excavated in 1910 and 1911. Many of the burials likely date to the protohistoric period (post A.D. 1500s), and some likely date to the historic period.

The preponderance of evidence indicates that the human remains from Amoxiumqua and Giusewa are culturally affiliated with the Pueblo of Jemez. It is recommended that these remains of an estimated 52 individuals in 47 catalog numbers from Giusewa, and an estimated 162 individuals in 158 catalog numbers from Amoxiumqua be offered for repatriation to the Pueblo of Jemez.

Repatriation Update
The human remains from Giusewa and Amoxiumqua were repatriated to the Pueblo of Jemez on May 21, 2008.

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