Historical Reference


Also known in a general sense as "the Ice Age," the Pleistocene Epoch ended between 13,000 - 9,000 years ago and is the most recent period when the Northern Hemisphere was covered in advancing and then retreating sheets of ice, otherwise known as glaciers. During the late Pleistocene Epoch, Paleoindians moved through areas of what is now known as New Mexico, although evidence of their hunting camps grow few in number once one travels west beyond the Rio Grande Basin. Most of the evidence of Paleoindian activity is in the form of stone tools and lance points.

Philip Bock

Philip Bock was a University of New Mexico Presidential Professor in Ethnology. He graduated with his doctoral degree from Harvard University in 1962 and taught ethnology, language, culture, and ethnomusicology of North America and Mexico at UNM.

parallel flaked

A process in which stone flakes are removed from a sstone tool so that the flake "scars" are parallel. Parallel flaking is used for both finish and detail work on stone tools and is considered the sign of a master stone worker. Parallel flaked stone tools are relatively rare.


The earliest settlers of the Americas. Entering the American continents via the Bering land bridge, an exposed shelf of land between Russia and Alaska, Paleo-indians migrated south through the Americas, following the movement of large mammals whose migrations were influenced by the slow ebb and flow of glaciers across the Northern Hemisphere.

Olds Prairie Murders

A fictional series of murders created by Tony Hillerman in his 1978 Navajo detecitve novel Listening Woman. In the novel, Detective Joe Leaporn has never heard of the Olds Prairies Murders, which are described as an attack by Texas Rangers on a Kiowa camp in West Texas, which killed 11 children and 3 adults. While the Texas Rangers did engage in a lot of battles with the tribes of Texas under the guise of "protecting the state," this particular event seems to be created for the purposes of fictional exposition.


Large mammals, related to elephants, that lived in the Americas unitl the late Pleistocene era, which ended about 12,000 years ago. Mastodons were smaller and less hairy than the wooly mammoth. Changing climate and habitat conditions, in combination with the effectiveness of Clovis and Folsom hunters, eventually drove the mastodon to extinction.

lance point

A lance is a long-shafted throwing or thrusting device used for hunting. It is similar to a javelin, and is sometimes referred to as a spear. The lance point can be made of stone, bone, hardened wood, or steel. Although the long shaft of the lance is typically made of wood, which biodegrades over time, the point retains its integrity as time passes, making lance points a significant find in the lithic, or stone, remains from ancient cultures around the world. In terms of archaeological research, lance points, which are similar to hand-crafted arrow heads, are like the fingerprints of a culture. Studying them can reveal where the materials to make the points came from, where the groups using the points traveled, how much time, energy, and skill the individuals crafting the points had, as well as the kind of game that was hunted.

Korean War

A conflict that occurred in the 1950s between the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) in East Asia. After the conclusion of World War II and the Japanese were ousted from Korea, the Korean peninsula was split into a northern half occupied by the former Soviet Union (USSR) and a southern half occupied by the United States of America. It was initially intended for the two halves to become unified; however, the escalation of the Cold War prevented unification, and each half developed its own government. The north developed under communist activist Kim Il-Sung, while the south became anti-communist under Syngman Rhee. With the backing of the USSR, in 1950 Kim Il Sung declared himself the ruler over the entire Korean Peninsula, and this was the antecedent of the Korean War.

The Korean War lasted from June 1950 to July 1953 and resulted in over 3 million casualties. During the conflict, the south was supported by the United Nations, including a large U.S. presence, while the north was assisted by communist China and the U.S.S.R. Fourteen other governments also sent forces to Korea throughout the duration of the conflict. The war ended with an agreement that the area below the 38th parallel would be governed by South Korea.

Kit Carson

Christopher "Kit" Carson was one of the most famous Western explorers during the 1800s. In the 1840s, he traveled as a guide with John C. Fremont through the Great Basin, and Fremont's written accounts were what made Carson both popular and notorious as an adventurer.

In the 1850s, Carson became an Indian agent for New Mexico and in the 1860s worked as a lieutenant colonel in the 1st New Mexico Volunteers. Even though Carson was often thought of as a friend of the Indians (he lived with and married into the Arapaho and Cheyenne tribes), he might be most infamously known for the war he waged against the Navajo in the early 1860s, forcing them to relocate away from their traditional homeland (Dinétah) and in to the Bosque Redondo, a 40-square mile reservation on the Texas/New Mexico border, along with the Apache. At first, the Navajo resisted the move, and Carson subsequently terrorized the tribe by burning crops, destroying homes, and killing livestock, eventually forcing the Navajo to march hundreds of miles to the new reservation in what became known as the Long Walk.

John M. Campbell

John M. Campbell was a professor of archaeology and a former director for the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico. He graduated with his doctoral degree from Yale in 1962 and taught archaeology, cultural ecology, and photography at the University of New Mexico, where he served as chair of the department for many years. In 1997, Campbell published a book-length photo essay called Few and Far Between: Moments in the North American Desert, with a foreward by Tony Hillerman.


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