The Pueblo of Sandia Petroglyph Project

by: Estella Tsethlikai and Domingo Otero

During July and August 1995 a group of six students from Sandia Pueblo worked on a project recording petroglyphs at Petroglyph National Monument, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The students in the group were Loren Gutierrez, Brandi Torivio, Rebecca Trujillo, Scott Paisano, Estella Tsethlikai and Domingo Otero. The project goal was to record all the rock art at Piedras Las Mercadas which is one of the many sites at Petroglyph Monument. The Monument is on the fast-growing west side of Albuquerque and is encroached upon and threatened by nearby housing developments. Our goal is also to record all petroglyphs systematically and thoroughly for inclusion in a computer database.

The project is sponsored by The Chamisa Foundation of Santa Fe and the Pueblo of Sandia. The project coordinators are Henry Walt and John Brayer.

Work began with an orientation which was held at the Sandia Pueblo Wellness Center on July 17. In the orientation the sudent crew learned how to use surveying equipment and how to survey. The crew also learned how to photograph rock art and how to fill out the field recording forms. There were four different forms that had to be filled out for each Pertoglyph.

The next step was to go out to the field and begin the hard work. The first thing that they had to do was break up the site into different working units. Then the crew broke up into two groups of three, and started recording. One person took photographs, and the other two filled out forms.

The group worked Mondays through Fridays from 6:00 am to 12:00 noon. On Wednesdays the group took field trips. The first field trip was to the University of New Mexico. They visited the campus and had people talk to them about all the programs available to Native American students. The second field trip was to a rock art site at La Cienega, near Santa Fe. The next field trip was taken to law offices in downtown Albuquerque. The group was able to talk to a number of lawyers. From there, they went to the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico. On their last field trip, the crew went to Abo ruins near Mountainair, New Mexico.

The field work is over and now we have begun to compile the data and enter it into a computer database. Photographs will be incorporated into the database and saved for further references. The project will continue on until after the first of the year. Hopefully there will be funding available to continue the project in further years to come.

Up top are pictures of the area worked on and samples of the work. There are also pictures of the group. At left is an image of a flute player. Below is a contour map of the study region.

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