Date of Award

Spring 4-1-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Scott G. Ortman

Second Advisor

Catherine M. Cameron

Third Advisor

Gerardo Gutiérrez


This study looks at the origin of the initial farming population of the Northern Rio Grande through the evaluation of two contrasting hypotheses, the ‘Southern Origin’ hypothesis and the ‘Northern Origin’ hypothesis. I conclude that the Southern Origin hypothesis fails to provide the most compelling narrative for the origin of the initial farming population within the Northern Rio Grande. The existing evidence makes a strong case that Tiwa-Tewa diversification occurred within the San Juan drainage prior to AD 920 and that Tiwa speakers were likely located in the Northern Rio Grande by AD 980. In addition, based on the current data, the Middle Rio Grande lacked the growth rates and population outflows one would expect for a potential source area. Finally, at the very least, both population dynamics and material culture continuities do not rule out the Upper San Juan as a potential source area.