Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Historical Archaeology

First Advisor

Heather B. Trigg

Second Advisor

John M. Steinberg

Third Advisor

Matthew Liebmann


This project evaluates Hemish (people of Jemez) obsidian procurement and reduction strategies through an analysis of over two thousand pieces of obsidian debitage and geospatial analysis of potential hiking pathways. This diachronic analysis provides insight on the variation of the Hemish people’s usage of obsidian for stone tool production from four markedly different social climates which are referenced throughout this study as the pre-Colonial Period (AD 1300-1539), the Early Colonial Period (AD 1540-1680), the Revolt Period (AD 1680-1692), and the Late Colonial or Reconquista Period (AD 1694-1696). Now called the Jemez Plateau, this area is characterized by a series of long upsloping mesas separated by steep canyons. The GIS analysis uncovers the influence of travel distance across this rugged landscape in shaping Hemish usage of these obsidian sources. Trends revealed through the debitage attribute analysis highlight how the complex web of interconnected social ties and tensions across northern New Mexico are reflected in the lithic assemblage.