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Samuel Duwe

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Samuel Duwe

Samuel Duwe, Assistant Professor in the University of Oklahoma's Department of Anthropology

Associate Professor
Ph.D. University of Arizona, 2011
B.A. University of Michigan, 2003

Office: Dale Hall Tower 514
Email: Profile

Research Interests

  • Archaeology and ethnography of the American Southwest
  • Landscape and human-environment interactions
  • Indigenous archaeologies
  • Colonialism
  • Cosmology and religion
  • Ceramic analysis
  • Archaeometry
  • Public education and archaeology


My interests focus on integrating archaeology, oral history, ethnography, and historical documents to understand the development of worldview and society. As a landscape archeologist my research is empirically grounded through survey, artifact analyses, archaeometry, and excavation. I am motivated by an understanding that archaeology is a much about the present and future as it is about the past, and that the field has an obligation to acknowledge, involve, and benefit descendant and underrepresented communities.


My research centers on the history of Pueblo communities in the American southwest. I have two ongoing projects. The first is a holistic and long-term study of Tewa Pueblo history in northern New Mexico. I seek to understand how Tewa ancestors came together to forge a new type of village life and later came to endure four centuries of colonialism. The Tewa have long captured the attention of outsiders, particularly anthropologists, as evidenced by numerous twentieth-century ethnographies detailing unique socio-political organizations and cosmographies, as well as an extensive history of archaeological research. However, a wide gulf exists between the present and the past, leaving anthropologists unsure of how to understand the relationship between the two. The unintended consequence of these disciplinary and temporal barriers (history/prehistory) is to divorce the Tewa people from their land and history. My recent book, Tewa Worlds, draws from the writings of Pueblo scholars and community members who discuss Pueblo concepts of history, philosophy, ontology, cosmology, and epistemology, placing them in dialogue with historical, anthropological, and archaeological data. The goal of this work is to view the long arc of Tewa history as a continuous journey, interpreted through my understanding of Tewa philosophical principles which emphasize continuity through change. By incorporating Tewa perspectives, I aim to challenge and reframe archaeological ideas regarding origins, ethnogenesis, and abandonment, as well as people’s cosmographic relationships with the land. I anticipate that this research will help archaeologists appreciate the Tewa’s strong ties to places that extend well beyond the modern reservation boundaries, and to acknowledge that these places need to be protected and accessible to community members.

Recently I've addressed migration, ethnogenesis, colonial encounters, and the challenges and opportunities of contemporary collaborative archaeology.

I am currently co-leading a multi-year collaborative project in southeastern Utah with the Pueblo of Acoma. Acoma considers southeastern Utah to be an integral part of their ancestral homeland; where their First Ancestors emerged into the natural world and formed the original Pueblo people, before embarking on their migration to reach their permanent homes in New Mexico. Our focus is on endangered (due to oil and gas development) archaeological sites in and adjacent to Bears Ears National Monument that date to the Early Pueblo period (AD 650-950). This time and place, dubbed the “crucible of Pueblos” by archaeologists, was where the first Pueblo villages emerged some 1,300 years ago as small family groups. From here, they began to increasingly rely on domesticates and settled into centralized villages. This project is founded upon a co-equal partnership between archaeologists and Pueblo people through community-engaged preservation archaeology. Last November we performed a significant milestone: 15 leaders and elders from the Pueblo, as our Acoma colleagues describe it, “returned home” to their landscape of emergence. Joined by archaeologists, land managers, and preservation advocates, our group helped to reconnect community members to places most have never seen – the effects of colonialism – but have heard stories of from their elders and continue to revere in song. Acoma is highly engaged in cultural revitalization efforts and hopes that reestablishing connections with the homes of their ancestors will aid in fulfilling goals to build a healthy and sustainable future through using heritage-based work to inform education, language, art, housing, and healthcare initiatives. We also hope that the resulting work, based on the needs of Acoma, will ensure that the Pueblo begins to have a voice in the protection and access to their sacred places and landscape, now and for future generations.

Selected Publications

2020    Tewa Worlds: An Archaeological History of Being and Becoming in the Pueblo Southwest. University of Arizona Press, Tucson.

2019    The Continuous Path: Pueblo Movement and the Archaeology of Becoming. University of Arizona Press, Tucson. (edited with Robert W. Preucel)

2019    Tewa Origins and Middle Places. In The Continuous Path: Pueblo Movement and the Archaeology of Becoming, edited by Samuel Duwe and Robert W. Preucel, pp. 96-123. University of Arizona Press, Tucson. (with Patrick Cruz)

2019    Engaging with Pueblo Movement: An Introduction. In The Continuous Path: Pueblo Movement and the Archaeology of Becoming, edited by Samuel Duwe and Robert W. Preucel, pp. 1-33. University of Arizona Press, Tucson. (with Robert W. Preucel)

2019    The Economics of Becoming: Population Coalescence and the Production and Distribution of Ancestral Tewa Pottery. In Reframing the Northern Rio Grande Pueblo Economy, edited by Scott G. Ortman, pp. 104-118. Anthropological Papers of the University of Arizona, no. 80. University of Arizona Press, Tucson.

2017    A Bird’s-Eye View of Proto-Tewa Subsistence Agriculture: Making the Case for Floodplain Farming in the Ohkay Owingeh Homeland, New Mexico. American Antiquity 82(2):397-413. (with B. Sunday Eiselt, J. Andrew Darling, Mark Willis, Chester Walker, William Hudspeth, and Leslie Reeder-Meyers)

2016    Cupules and the Creation of the Tewa Pueblo World. Journal of Lithic Studies 3(3).

2016    The Pueblo Decomposition Model: A Method for Quantifying Architectural Rubble to Estimate Population Size. Journal of Archaeological Science 65:20-31. (with B. Sunday Eiselt, J. Andrew Darling, Mark D. Willis, and Chester Walker)

2013    Ecological Uncertainty and Organizational Flexibility on the Prehispanic Tewa Landscape: Notes from the Northern Frontier. In Mountain and Valley: Understanding Past Land Use in the Northern Rio Grande Valley, New Mexico, edited by Bradley J. Vierra, pp. 95-112. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City. (with Kurt F. Anschuetz)