Adjunct Assistant Professor Matt Schmader Awarded American Battlefield Protection Program Planning Grant

Departmental News

Posted:  Aug 24, 2018 - 12:00am

The National Park Service has announced it will award UNM a grant to study a major Albuquerque area Ancestral Pueblo village.  The NPS American Battlefield Protection Program grants funds annually to conduct research at sites where historically significant conflicts were fought.  Piedras Marcadas Pueblo, a large ancestral site occupied from about AD 1300 to 1600 on the west side of the Rio Grande, has abundant evidence of one of the earliest battles fought during the Contact period of European exploration in the American Southwest.  The huge expedition to explore Tierra Nueva (later, New Mexico) led by Francisco Vásquez de Coronado from 1540 to 1542 spent two winters in the Rio Grande valley.  Conflicts arose when the expedition took over at least one village for food and shelter, and eventually full-blown fighting broke out.  At Piedras Marcadas Pueblo, dozens of crossbow arrow points, lead musket balls, slingstones, and stone arrows attest to the battle that took place at the site.  The National Register site, also listed as LA 290 with the Museum of New Mexico, is owned by the City of Albuquerque and included within the boundaries of Petroglyph National Monument.

The $56,000 one year grant will fund remote sensing surveys to obtain details about the site’s buried architecture and to recover 16th century artifacts by metal detection.  These activities will determine the battlefield boundaries and help understand the nature of the fighting that occurred.  A final report will analyze and describe the conflict and make recommendations for future site protection and management.  The project will also have significant involvement with affiliated tribal communities, and will employ students from UNM and pueblo schools.  The grant was written by Dr. Matt Schmader, Adjunct Assistant Professor with the UNM Anthropology Department.  Schmader will serve as Principal Investigator, continuing research at Piedras Marcadas that he has been conducting since 2005.