Tag Archives: Archaic Indians

Human Home

Heap of StonesOn a low ridge there had been a cluster of Puebloan fieldhouses, their adobe  melted now, nothing left but a pile of stones, potshards, broken metates. Higher on the slope was an Archaic site: no pottery, the black sand of firepits, many chert flakes.

Clearly, the house-builder Puebloans liked a nice flat bench, while the Archaic preferred the sloping,  sandy corries that face the sun. A few thousand years later, both sites still feel homey, scattered with trash like a friendly living room.

In their time  those sites must have looked even homier: busted baskets, gnawed bones, brush shelters left to the wind, husks and cobs and turds.

We see what lasts.

Two Hands and Time

Writer-illustrator Betsy James, in conversation with older readers

In the sand of the Ojito Wilderness, a cracked Archaic mano, a grindstone. Crystalline quartzite, red and white and yellow, with a slanted edge that provided a perfect grip. I hooked my fingers there, seeing another woman’s hand: small like mine, probably young, with broken nails.

After twenty centuries, the stone remembers that other hand.