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Detail of Plateau Bag (NMNH catalog no. E204234)

Executive Summary

Inventory and Assessment of Funerary Objects Potentially Affiliated with the Pueblo of Jemez, in the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution

Region: Southwest
Associated Cultures: Jemez, Pueblo


This report provides an inventory and assessment of potential funerary objects affiliated with the Pueblo of Jemez in the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), Smithsonian Institution. The Pueblo of Jemez submitted a repatriation request dated February 22, 2008, for the return of culturally affiliated funerary objects. 

This report documents 1,157 objects represented by 131 catalog numbers and the remains of one individual in one catalog number in the collection of the NMNH.  Most of these objects derive from archaeological excavations at the pueblos of Giusewa (LA 679) and Amoxiumqua (LA 481) in Sandoval County, New Mexico.  This includes 1,025 objects in 72 catalog numbers and one human element in one catalog number from Giusewa and 131 objects in 58 catalog numbers from Amoxiumqua.  In addition, this report documents one object, a wooden figure, in one catalog number that was collected by James and Matilda Coxe Stevenson from the Pueblo of Jemez in 1880 and was cataloged in the Ethnology Division collections of the NMNH.  Human remains from Giusewa and Amoxiumqua were previously evaluated by the Repatriation Office  and repatriated to the Pueblo of Jemez on May 21, 2008. 

Five objects from Giusewa and four objects from Amoxiumqua, comprising five catalog numbers cannot be located and may no longer be in the NMNH collection and are not counted in the above totals.  Two of these objects were officially transferred to other institutions.  If the other seven missing objects are located at a future date, the NMNH will inform the Pueblo of Jemez.  An additional two funerary objects from Amoxiumqua are likely within the NMNH collection, but cannot be identified by catalog number at this time.  The field records list two pipes as funerary objects, but the NMNH holds nine pipes from Amoxiumqua.  Nothing serves to distinguish two of the pipes from the rest of the group.  Should further information about the pipes become available in the future, it might be possible to determine which two are funerary objects.

The archaeological objects and previously repatriated skeletal remains from Giusewa were collected during a brief archaeological excavation conducted in 1910 by Edgar Hewett, Jesse Nusbaum, and Kenneth Chapman of the School of American Archaeology (SAA), and F. W. Hodge of the Bureau of American Ethnology (BAE). The School of American Archaeology changed its name to the School of American Research in 1917, and is today named the School for Advanced Research.  Remains and objects from Amoxiumqua were collected during excavations sponsored by the BAE and the SAA in the summers of 1910 and 1911. 

Archaeological evidence indicates continuous pre-Hispanic occupancy of the Jemez pueblos discussed here, beginning by at least the early fourteenth century and lasting until occupation of the sites ceased before the end of the seventeenth century.  Museum records, ethnographic studies, examination of artifacts, oral historical accounts, unpublished field notes, Spanish colonial documents, and consultation with tribal representatives were examined preparing for this document.  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, with the exception of a brief hiatus of occupation in the 1700s, following reconquest of New Mexico 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 Amoxiumqua and Giusewa were occupied by Towa-speaking Jemez people.  Analysis of ceramics from these two sites in the collection of the NMNH makes it possible to refine the probable dates of the burials excavated in 1910 and 1911.  Many of these burials likely date to the protohistoric period in the early A.D. 1500s, and others to the historic period after A.D. 1540.  Archival documentation, field notes from the excavations, and the objects themselves were examined to determine which artifacts were funerary objects. 

The preponderance of evidence indicates that the NMNH holds 1,157 funerary objects and the remains of one individual from Amoxiumqua, Giusewa, and from the Pueblo of Jemez.  All are culturally affiliated with the Pueblo of Jemez.  It is recommended that these objects and the remains of one individual be offered for repatriation to the Pueblo of Jemez.

Repatriation Update
The funerary objects and the remains of one individual from Giusewa and Amoxiumqua were repatriated to the Pueblo of Jemez in December 2010.

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