Scrapbook One Hundred Nineteen…



Birds Galore


This is a very short video clip taken at Forrest’s San Lazaro Pueblo. You can see Forrest, Suzanne Somers and Alan Hamel exploring the ruins. Shiloh Old (Forrest’s grandson), Valerie Plame Wilson (America’s favorite ex-spy) and Valerie’s two kids, Trevor and Samantha are also exploring. Don’t you think Suzanne has a great laugh?
(turn up your sound)


When the Spanish explorers arrived at San Lazaro Pueblo in 1540, they found the Indians living in one story buildings constructed mostly of adobe. They were farmers who subsisted on corn, squash, and whatever else they could find growing in the high pinon & juniper desert.


Much of the pottery they produced was decorated with abstract bird motifs applied with a glaze paint called galena (lead ore). Rarely is any other kind of animal in evidence.

A hundred years later life was very different. The Indians had moved 1,000 feet east across Del Charro Creek where they built two and three story dwellings that were made from slabs of latite, an igneous rock.

And still, bird designs were the favored art forms. It is common to excavate long bones from the buffalo, antelope, horse, cow, and other domesticated animals that were brought in by the Spaniards. The bones are found in the trash heaps, in the plaza, and in the rooms. But we don’t see those animals on the pottery. Why is that?

There must be an overpowering reason because it’s too extraordinary to be coincidental. I’d be interested in your opinion if you care to comment.

Here is the question:
Why were four legged animals not pictured on the pottery at San Lazaro Pueblo between 1150 AD when the pueblo was established and 1680 when it was abandoned?

165 thoughts on “Scrapbook One Hundred Nineteen…

      • NOte : Also Use the Acoma Center for help on Pottery , a great sorce.

        Birds play a wide variety of roles in Native American mythology. Frequently they serve as messengers from the Creator, or between humans and the spirit world. Eagle plays a leadership role in the mythology of many tribes, while Raven is frequently portrayed as culture hero, trickster, or both. Other Native American birds play the parts of heroes, villains, wise advisors, flighty suitors, jealous competitors, and everything in between.

        Birds are common clan animals in many different Native American tribes. Besides the major clans related to specific types of birds (such as the Eagle Clan and the Raven Clan,) there are also generalized Bird Clans in some tribes, such as the Bird Clan of the Creek tribe (called Fusualgi or Fuswvlke,) the Bird Clan of the Cherokees (called Anijisqua or Anitsiskwa), or the Feather Clan of the Mi’kmaq tribe. Birds are the most important clan crests of most Northwest Coast tribes and are commonly carved on totem poles (especially Eagle, Raven, and Thunderbird.)

        It is possible that they had a high disregard for the early Spanish . They were not from this land , and the Indians as the direct ” Spirit Connection through the Legends of Birds that it could very well mean they were praying in all things they did, including thier works of Art , showing thier loyality to thier gods, by portraying them on the pottery. or.. could possibly mean that they were praying for them. But… under the bone evidence found except for the find of the buffalo, because they were indigenous to this region and not brought by the Spanish, I would assume that they were under oppression and their Art shows this theory to be a possible connection. I would assume each piece has one maybe 2 different birds? If so it should give you a signal in direction of your theory, which could be correct…
        Also being the four legged bones were in trash heeps , could mean the direct way the bones were being used, in sacrifice or possible other rituals. Or just food .
        Being there are 19 different Pueblo Tribes around your area , each with its own reason for dipecting Birds in association with the spirit world leaves a even larger question. One in which the use of the bird, based on which tribe used it would dictate a more rounded reason. Oh, the lead finishing could make the pottery very extraordinary and used for that purpose. With out being on the ground seeing what you see , makes it difficult to give a direct opinion.
        This is only my opinion.

        • I think I read somewhere that the Tewa at San Lazaro were probably bear clan. I think I also read that they viewed birds as carefree.
          I can’t remember exactly, but it was something along those lines…

          • The link to the information is posted , I would encourage you Mindy to check it out . Sounds like you have a understanding. I was unaware they were using the bear, I saw the Tewa peoples emblem and didn’t notice. But, I’m sure they used this animal as most clans meet for the Bear Dance. But, I believe all clans practiced this dance as well as the Sun Dance, just used differently among tribes. I’m not 100 percent on the last statement , and will give me something to check out, for sure. I also called the Acoma Culture office in Santa Fe , and was explained that Birds were used directly to communicate with the spirit world , and depending on the tribe you were from would determine what bird you would depict. But, on top of that , They used other Birds for other spiritual reasons.
            The women I spoke to at the center spent about 1 hour on the phone explaining to me how this process worked. She also told me how to reclaim my position in my tribe. Im a Hopi… Didn’t know my roots until my pops passed , and I was able to find out the truth…

            WEIRD EMAIL ——————–
            I received a weird email ….
            It was jumbled letters with commas present, and I know it came from a searcher from this Blog.
            Who ever you are, your data ,
            could mean nothing … Most likely. But the first 4 letters you sent , are interestingly enough to suggest Liner Algebra , and the comma also suggests that it is exactly that. Could be a mix up if a trick , but if that was so , then you would not have sent me the first four integers of the theory. In simple terms, It would have depicted if true and the math correct , would determine the size of a 3d square that signals a possible location. This algebra is used in map making in the modern world and is a possible placement of letters in the w-y axis weather negative or positive in a map making device , draw a pattern on paper and could very well mean a map with in a map… Just a crazy opinion. Weather valid or not , it was a interesting e mail, for sure! Who ever you are , I’m looking to put a real team together to find this ..

            I have also notice another code to the poem if you are interested, particle mathematics in simple terms. This type of math shows and maps particle movement , and is taught in elementary schools today. My son recognized some of my code and explained it was a Einstein’s theory. He also explained how it is used to map them in a containment system . Again it is a type of mapping system . The shows a 3d square. Could be nothing…. I have no Idea and I don’t have the time to study it right now…

            Thanks for the replay Mindy…

          • Oh and One other interesting fact…
            Most ancient culture , dating back almost 50,000 years have used the “Bird ” in the same understanding. To my understanding Eagles used directly in a lot of Indian symbolgy as seen on most North Western Tribe carved totems.
            Like the American Indians Ancient cultures used the bird as a “Messenger” to the spirits. This has real roots in all cultures and 1 particular bird used then was the Owl. This messenger would bring the message to the oracle and she would thus “Enlighten ” those who sacrificed for the answer.
            What I’m sating is , it is very common to use Birds , and all American Indians used it symbolically , and I do find Forrest’s statement to be very interesting, and more so has some direct links into ancient research I have done in this field over the last 20 years….. That in ancient cultures as well as the Indian culture’s this method of worship was used. It is not uncommon for tribes to call them self Bear Clan , but it is not common for that , most tribes I was explained had a particular bird as their messenger , and was used and depicted as such .

            Forrest , What was the main Bird depicted ? Also what is the San Lazaro Indians bird….?

            Again the facts posted at the top of my post and the Sky Peoples culture center provided this information and was kind enough to teach me for a hour. Hat’s off to the Sky People of Santé FE ……….

          • I looked at my source again. The Tewa at San Lazaro used “bear medicine.” I’m not sure if that makes them “bear clan” or not.
            And some of the birds depicted on the artifacts at San Lazaro are macaws.
            I wonder why?

          • That’s pretty interesting Mindy. With the Aztec relation, suggesting they moved north from South America, but this is a mislead concept. Follow the Corn one historian told me once… The indigenous corn moved in the opposite direction due to the fact certain kinds grew in other areas, and that the original Corn was founded here by the Ancient one’s, who arguable could have been the Hopi . Due to the legends of the Father and the Corn.
            Where the Hopi was given the Corn to protect. I don’t know how accurate the Hopi History is , but it is what they state.

            So, Mindy ,are you saying that what I commented about the Birds , and American Indian Culture as a answer to Forrest’s question was incorrect… ? Because I must have missed the test…. The question was not what clan was the Teawa or what their Birds were , but
            Here is the question:
            “Why were four legged animals not pictured on the pottery at San Lazaro Pueblo between 1150 AD when the pueblo was established and 1680 when it was abandoned?”

            I’m sorry Mindy I must had said all that wrong… I apologize . I thought we were speaking about on the comments above, I just tried to provide a different look at it than Mr.Fenn would have. Or why would he have asked the opinion of the Blog? Even as I know he was your source and I respect his understanding of those people. The answer given of course was not correct , but a Guess based on a short amount of data given to me by a very friendly person.
            The Answer to his question …………….
            I have no Idea why? But , it was nice to find out the stuff I learned today, to learn about my people was exciting anyway, and even though F and I don’t see things in the same “Light” I still have a respect for his knowledge , and I don’t like saying it , but most of the stuff I post here , I’ve learned most from Forrest’s poem.
            Why don’t I like it, well Having someone in your brain you don’t know gives them the advantage, epically used in battle, knowing that I’m trying to get in his.
            Thanks for the info Mindy. Cool to learn more and more as every day goes by.

          • Forrest wasn’t the source. The source was the present day ancestors of the Tewa who lived there.
            I don’t know why there were no four legged animals on the pottery.
            My guess it was because four legged animals couldn’t fly. Lol.
            I was just throwing in that the San Lazaro pueblo identified themselves as “bear” and that some of the pottery display mccaws. 🙂

          • One other thing Mindy… Can you ask your source why Ant People and I think that’s a crow on the bottom picture posted above ,but why were those animals depicted if it was Bear medicine they were using, and what was the purpose of the other Birds depicted.? .. Also how was the Teewa understanding of the Bear , trans versed into Medicine?
            I’m just curious?
            A Boyish Thought!
            I get those answers and off I go into ancient history leaving all behind but ,to see the people interacting with their technology and how they invented it , what turn in history made them invent such stuff , and at last how it effects every single one of us . This is completely aweing to me. To see it as a motion picture in your mind is even better then the movies at times. This is what I like about F , I love each piece of history as a book never seen. I like to understand something through my own eye’s not anyone else’s. My pop’s once asked me If I wanted to play football like Walter Payton, I said No!, to his surprise, every kid wanted to be like that …. Not me , I said I wanted to play like
            …Mike …

          • My source is literature, mike, which doesn’t answer those important questions. It’s a 2 or 3 paragraph blurb recounting oral tradition and ethnology. I can’t find much else on San Lazaro at all..,

        • I can’t either , that’s why I thought maybe Forrest really told you that, he is the leader of information on that culture right now…as far as I know.
          But , I really didn’t know about the Bear Clan , I find that very interesting… I’m as much in awe over the poem as most.
          Thanks for the data , I do try to provide accurate information , Using first hand Data if possible. When you get more on them please share…

        • MIke or Mr.D, the theme you are describing above, and the question posed by Forrest seems to have a deep common thread, these ideas of bird motifs are spiritual representations of a common religion, not much different in my imagination than the belief of the descendants of Abraham who kept themselves apart in Egypt from the total domination by beliefs that existed in the Land of the Pharos, it seems evident that some of the Egyptian ideas and beliefs were adapted and later manifested in the ways of the nation of Israel and it seems the original belief systems struggled with the outside order of spirituality.

          That clinging to there original religious beliefs is not new but apparently was praticed in an underground rebelious spirit which eventually culminated in the Pureblo Revolt of 1680 encited by The Pueblo Revolt of 1680—also known as Popé’s Rebellion—was an uprising of most of the indigenous Pueblo people against the Spanish colonizers in the province of Santa Fe de Nuevo México, present day New Mexico. The Pueblo Revolt killed 400 Spaniards and drove the remaining 2,000 settlers out of the province.

          Sometimes it is wise for us the US to look at history as a window to the past because it might predict a troubled future, a very wise person once said: “Those Who Do Not Learn History Are Doomed To Repeat It.”

          Some spirits die hard and some cannot die at all but being aware that your religion may dominated does not entitle one to force others to capitulated, as ff stated in SC Book 240..”How can we ever have peace on this planet when every religion is correct from its own point of view? f”

          When I spoke of his friend Paul Dyck and made those comments about moving to Arizona, that is why a chord was struck, a sound made by the eagle bone whistle, and felt in the breast of a Brave who in the wood.


          • Trick is to close your eyes and look inside yourself. You will find answers.

      • I have also heard that the Marksville Culture around Louisiana had this same phenomena. They do not know why only birds were depicted on their pottery. Is it possible the two areas are somehow connected through migration?? Just a thought

  1. maybe the birds were more of a spiritual influence than the other animals..did they eat the birds during this time? I would have to think that they did not eat them if they held a Higher meaning..thus the other animals being considered food and not spiritual they would then not be held in as high regard..

  2. I LOVE Forrest’s enthusiam — he is like a little kid discovering something new (the threshhold). Just LOVE it!

  3. I am glad for this post as it has answered one of the questions I havd; how many stories was San Lazaro.

    I would imagine they only had birds pictured as they were held in a higher regard, possibly even considered sacred. Possibly because they flew in the heavens.

  4. I also wonder if since their pottery was used for food, if they thought the birds help bring the food, or helped protect it.

  5. And I would imagine birds were extremely spiritual–possibly their Gods. which would eplain why only birds. Alhough, weren’t the Anasazi leaving stick figurines of 4-legged animals in their caves around the same time?

  6. Someone posted that video of Forrest and Suzanne the other day on another site I think it was http://www.ttotc .com or maybe it was…:) Suzanne does have a great laugh and it appears a great sense of humor!!!! As for the birds… Hmmmm…. I will have to think about that one for a bit … But I like some of the ideas that have already be presented…

    • Now I remember it was over at Mysterious Writings site under her interview with Suzanne Somers… Her site is awesome by the way… Thanks Jenny I learned a lot about the Chase on your site…

  7. Maybe they thought birds were spiritual and transcendent. They Buffalo and other mammals were a food supply and probably couldn’t connect on a spiritual level.

    Was there ever birds eaten at the Pueblo? If bones were found maybe for religious purposes only.

    Deep entertaining question but beyond my pay grade as we say here. Merry Christmas to all

  8. Our grandma had some cherokee in her plus jus old South,
    All porch ceilings had to be painted Blue to allow the spirits to fly freely without getting caught inside and wreaking havoc on the home.
    Maybe the birds on the Jars kept any bad spirits from being held within the jar?

  9. The bird is their mascot, representative, spirit animal, just as the eagle is our bird. Their choice of bird has a more positive character. Like those birds that dance on the prairie. Sage grouse and prairie chicken.
    “Imagine this scene. You breathe in the pungent scent of sagebrush as the land awakes. Then, you hear it, the strange popping sounds like the uncorking of champagne bottles. A dozen male sage grouse are dancing. They strut and fan their spiky tails. They inflate and deflate their twin bright yellow throat sacs to make the popping sound. Occasionally two males battle each other with their wings. Lurking in the nearby sagebrush, a few hens watch the dancers, as they will for many mornings in spring before choosing a mate.”

  10. Birds have songs which are unique and regional. Creative humans can identify deeply with song as a story (form of communication) which the domesticated animals did not display in behavior.

    If they are cooking those domesticated animals in the pots so maybe it’s bad culturally to have the spirit or idea of the animal on the cooking pots.

    Is art imitating life, or is life imitating art?

    • “Culture (birds on pottery) eats strategy (Spaniards domesticating animals) for breakfast.”

      I’ve seen this in action but creative people find ways around it like Forrest making signs saying “touch the art, we are responsible.”

      Maybe it was taboo to adopt outsiders ideas on pottery style.

  11. May be that the birds of the air were the messengers to the spirits since their realm was that of the heavens…All other creatures were tied to the earth or the waters…

    Just as prayers were sent upwards in the smoke of sacred plants, the fire must remain bound to the earth…

  12. Pottery with the image of birds could have been used as water jars. The Rain Bird originally showed the way to water.

  13. Other than the short beaked echidna or the duck billed platypus, a four legged mammal doesn’t lay eggs. As San Lazaro Pueblo is not located in Australia or Tazmania where these animals are found, could it be that birds were once revered for laying eggs symbolizing rebirth? Perhaps frogs are viewed in the same way in ancient civilizations. 🙂

    • Yes, DP, that is the one. The pots represent the body of the people and the birds carry them away. when they die a vessal was broken. As for me:
      Black bird broods outside my window in the night waiting to enfold me when I leave my body to sleep.

  14. I like many of the answers already stated. Some of the shards look like parrots (the rain bird?), others look like eagles and one like a prairie chicken. Different birds might have different meanings for the tribe. I really like the 2 on the left that look like parrots.

    We picked up a couple of plain shards when we were on Delos and thought they might very well be 2000 years old since no one had lived there for at least that long. It was fun imagining what the pottery might have been used for on that ancient Greek Isle since the Isle was only used for spiritual purposes.

    Can you tell by the size and shape of the bird shards how large the pottery was? That might give a clue as to how they were used by the people.

  15. Perhaps they put the birds on their pots because they had grains and seeds in their pots and thought the birds on the pottery would keep the other birds away from eating their food. I’m just guessing; haven’t studied up on it.

  16. I don’t know much about this but didn’t they use the pottery often to store and crush grains, plants, berries, medicines etc?
    To me, the biggest difference I see between birds and the other animals is all the different colors, sizes, songs and even seasons/times they appear/migrate in. Lots of grains look the same when crushed, mixed, etc. Maybe this was an easy way to label the contents inside them….or even seasons/times when they were put there (for things or medicines that needed time to marinate) Possibly a really simple way to label stuff at the time (and reuse jars for same purpose) without a complex language system where dialects varied so much?

    • I had just posted also about the seasonal aspect, but I think your deduction of labeling by way of bird type potential is very interesting. For example, one of the birds looks like the symbol of a macaw, which may represent specifically summertime. So could macaw be for a specific summertime crop grain?


      • I bet it could, or say macaw was just summer in general… Like a macaw, a crow, and a finch might be ‘corn and wheat from June’ you couldn’t really do it with other animals because they look too similair, and even if tribes didn’t speak the same language surely they’d all know a bluebird was blue or whatever. It could really just be something as boring as
        “Labels”. They used birds for labels. Yeah, the cultures are associated with mysticism etc….but surely they’d need boring stuff like labels too. You’d think we’d find more examples of labels than art etc. because they have a greater need. Why don’t we find that stuff? Maybe we have.

  17. Aside from the bird symbolism as connected to creation legends/life or death/carriers of the soul and spiritual ties as messengers or oracles of the divine, I think in this case, with food containers, the birds represent fertility.

    The birds are symbolic of change, of the seasons, and indicators of weather patterns with their migratory habits including return during springtime flooding and renewal, and hopefully bountiful crops. I picture the pots being full of corn, for example.


  18. It makes me think of the bird designs I have on some of my pottery pieces and the sacredness that is attached to animals and nature. But not only the ‘parrots’, but WATER – the rain, clouds, mountains, sky, lightning, etc. The Acoma have continuously occupied the area for more than 800 years, although some say it goes back 1,200 – 2,000 years. The bird design/motif that is pictured on many of their pieces reflects their appreciation and spirituality of such. Whether that be black and white or polychrome.

    Rain Bird –
    Spanish conquistadors brought parrots to the American Southwest. In the legend of the rain bird, as recounted by Turquoise Trading Post, local women followed an escaped parrot that they saw flying in the same direction every day “and discovered a water hole with clean, cool water flowing into it.” Ever since, the story says, rain birds have appeared on pottery jars “that the women carried on their heads to transport the water to the village.”

    Now, as far as “four legged animals” not appearing on the pottery of San Lazaro Pueblo, I look at it from the same point of view as from what I would consider other cultures/pueblos. Most other ones didn’t any four legged depictions either. Or at least very little. I know ancient Mimbres and perhaps Hopi had some animal designs and maybe even some ‘historic’ pieces have and also NOW, in our modern era, four legged animal designs are common, but as far as the San Lazaro pieces having only bird motifs, …..I guess it would have something to do with their appreciation for the flying creatures of the heavens and the sacredness in their eyes, the same as other cultures acknowledgements and reverence for the rain or anything else and their depictions of it and the ‘story’ that is told through such. People paint what is important to them. 🙂

    Like the Thunderbird: The thunderbird is a legendary creature in certain North American indigenous peoples’ history and culture. It is considered a supernatural bird of power and strength. It is especially important, and frequently depicted, in the art, songs and oral histories of many Native American cultures.

    Also, perhaps, as far as the San Lazaro Pueblo is concerned, there could have been some type cultural/religious restriction at that time in regards to anything other than ‘birds’, flying creatures? …..Or, it was confined to only pottery. Because we see these depictions in cave art/drawings and glyphs in almost all cultures, regardless of whether or not it is used in pottery.

    Just thoughts……….

  19. Forrest is there something I should know about the number 12.

    Bombs and Charlie
    World War II in Europe ended in 1945, and when Charlie and I were stationed in Germany (twelve) years later, bullets, mortars, and other explosive devices were still scattered about.

    Birds Galore
    (12) pieces of pottery appear in the photograph

    1/Lt. Aide de Camp
    One of my jobs, as the general’s confidential assistant, was to fly about (twelve) different fighters and bombers, and be able to answer questions.

    Me and the Indian
    Peggy and I were in high school when her mom took this photo beside her house on (12th) Street.

    Montana Golden Fish
    Several (dozen) huge golden trout slowly swished through the glassy water.

      • Yes Lia it is important to keep both eyes on this man while using the mind to think. Old birds are hard to pluck.

    • LOL. Ed!!….maybe “12 Days of Christmas”??

      12 Drummers Drumming
      Eleven Pipers Piping
      10 Lords a Leaping
      Nine Ladies Dancjng
      Eight Maids a Milking
      Seven Swans a Swimming
      Six Geese a Laying
      Five Golden Rings
      Four Calling Birds
      Three French Hens
      Two Turtle Doves
      a Partridge in a Pear Tree

      Lotsa birds in that!! Let’s see……..he’s shown us parrotlets, rooster(John Wayne), Minerva and now, birds on 12 pieces of pottery.

      As far as the rest, he’s shown us: him milking Bessie(TTOTC), gold nose rings, “Dancing with the Stars”(TTOTC) and Sitting Bull’s pipe….and I’m sure I missed some that could be related to the list!!

      Only thing missing is something related to “drumming”????

      Whatcha think G_o_G?? Can I get promoted to next level in Fenn Mystic society???

      LOL!!! Hope everybody had a wonderful Christmas and Good Luck to All!!!…………loco

  20. The shapes of pots to these people may have been associated with the bird’s nest and so naturally each nest needed an owner or possible a good luck guardian so it would not crack and such also the nest would have been a sign for reproduction and so prosperity so the bird would ensure the pot would always provide food. Of course it could have been a religious tradition like others have pointed out. I guess that’s what makes digging fun..hmmm

  21. maybe birds were a symbol of good luck.I know a drought was there at that period of time,maybe the bigger animals moved on because of the drought.and they were farmers,so the birds which ate the grains and seeds help populate the region with more food which grew from the deposit of the birds.

  22. Thank you so much Dal for posting this. I watch the video and the rest of them along the top. Best Xmas present a person could get.

    Forrest I wish that I could have had the pleasure of working at the pueblo with you. Just watching the videos I learned a lot. Thank you.

  23. Apart from food,many native tribes around the world used bird feathers to make outfits and bedding.There are some who have certain birds as tribal mascots.
    I don’t know much about San Lazaro Pueblo and its people but in my opinion,they were gatherers in their time and relied on farming and small game by the use of slings and traps before the Clovis was introduced for spears and knives…
    They could have been bird watchers ..If you plant grain,they will come.

  24. I do not have an answer to your question. Today was a down day for me. The only thing I did was to go see Into The Woods. It was ok but they tried to combine too many stories and have too many morals. There were some birds in the movie. They looked black in color but were not shaped like black birds and were not on pottery. Merry Christmas everyone!

  25. I think birds in the Tewa culture symbolized rain. If they honored the bird on their water jars, maybe those birds would bring them the much needed rain to grow corn in a desert climate.

    I think bird items were probably also used in medicine bundles.

    When the Spanish came, they brought new ways to irrigate crops and to care for the sick. As a result, the birds were edged out, and replaced with new designs.

    Just a half-educated guess.

  26. I know next to nothing about the history and culture of the San Lazaro Pueblo. But, I am curious if anyone know ‘s if they actually ate any type of birds?

  27. The Native Americans would climb to a mountain top and have their vision quest. No doubt they could feel the energy charge sort of like being an antenna, like being one with the soaring birds. Well, that’s just my thoughts right now. LOL

  28. It had to do with what they had seen with their own eyes and what their ancestors had passed down to them through story telling!! Nature and their gods and other tales of the Native Americans was how they decorated their wares back then and to today…..IMHO Thanks Forrest but you already knew that did you not. Chase is still on guys lets all keep up are there clues in this story also??? I think so MS. Girl Happy New Year All


  30. Aren’t birds dinosaurs closest relatives? Just thought I’d throw that in the pot too. Were making dinosaur noodle soup. Have a happy New Year!

  31. I believe the birds must have been in their stories and legends for a long time and had to do with their afterlife. It is believed the the people of San Lazaro were the Tewa people and there is one story that they will one day go to live in the cottonwood-bird-house in their afterlife. Interestingly, there is one piece of pottery that has a hummingbird on it, and a few pieces with human arms/hands.

    • So, I guess I didn’t really answer the question why the four-legged animals were not on there. I believe it is because they were of the earth and not the sky. Yes, they were treated with respect, but in a different way than the birds of the sky. They were not directly related to the after-life for these people.

  32. Maybe they just thought it would make the pottery more valuable, fancy and desirable. They depicted the things that fly instead of walk, because they sold better.

  33. After the Basketmaker period birds became more important to the Anasazi, likely because domestication of the turkey led to an appreciation of birds as an important food source. The turkey, in fact, was so important that a Turkey Cult appears to have developed and rock art depicted men with turkey heads. This veneration is not surprising, given that western peoples had Sheep Cults. Their rock art often shows men with sheep horns.
    Rock art from the period shows turkeys, ducks, and cranes. Cranes have long necks, long legs, and long bills while ducks have solid bodies, short legs, and short bills. (The Mimbres depicted cranes with enormously long necks.)
    By A.D. 600 contact with Mexican peoples, such as the Hohokam, had led to the introduction a new type of corn, beans, and finished pottery. Making a pot involved coiling up clay to form the desired shape and then smoothing and scraping it to eliminate the coils. The potter’s wheel was never invented in the southwest.

    This was copied from somewhere on the internet.
    Is this the correct answer Mr Fenn?

    • I did not. Forrest asked me to write an introduction to the video. So I wrote the top paragraph. The rest is completely Forrest’s writing.

      • Thanks for the clarification. I wondered if Forrest would write about himself as if in the third person.

  34. Maybe the short version is: They ate and appreciated bird meat. At the time pottery making was introduced to them, birds were very important to their diet. This importance may have developed into a traditional motif for bowls or food vessels.
    It seems the arrival of the Spanish introduced them to eating large game. Maybe they continued to harvest only birds and crops even well after the Spanish began harvesting large game.
    That’s all my research has produced.

    Okay, I’ll bite!

    Mr. Fenn, Why were four legged animals not pictured on the pottery at San Lazaro Pueblo between 1150 AD when the pueblo was established and 1680 when it was abandoned?

    • Maybe when the guy would had that little house had it all fixed up with a four legged design. Then he got married and she came in and said she didn’t like it and it would no longer be a man-cave. It needed a women’s touch. He held out for a while but with her being short with him, making him sleep on the dirt on the other side of house, and not letting his friends come over. He finally gave in, said he was sorry and let her get ride of all his four leged pictures and change it to a bird theam.

      Just an idea I wanted to throw out.

  35. Well, I can’t imagine anything tasting better than a meadowlark or a scissor-tail. 🙂

    Maybe Forrest could tell us how many significant pieces were excavated from the pueblo and where the lead ore came from?

    Thanks ff !! You sure have some great stories sir. …..hope they never end.

  36. Maybe it is as simple as a deterrent to keep the pests and other critters out. Much like putting an owl on your roof to keep pigeons away. Some municipalities use hawks or kites to keep pest or flock birds from roosting.

  37. All good theories,,, also pots with buffalo and elk on them were probably way heavier than ones with birds. 🙂

  38. This is all speculation, but It seems logical that birds would represent a higher spiritual domain. They are not earth-bound, they migrate from other places and appear in different seasons, bringing pleasing sounds. They move with grace through the spaciousness of the sky. And, as Emerson wrote: ‘the sky is daily bread for the eyes’. So perhaps a culture that paints birds on pots, which hold precious water and food, represents one that recognizes such naturalness and indescribable beauty.

    Also, from a day-to-day standpoint, if I were hunting and looked up at the flock of birds overhead, I would think: ‘if I had their view, I could see the game or spot the enemy’.

  39. Forrest, from reading the answers I believe we all read mostly the same things. Closer to the gods sent by the gods, representing rain sent from the gods.

    It is believed the Anasazi had to leave the Four Corners area because of prolonged drought. That would make sense that rain would be represented as a gift from the Gods in the form of birds. So their descendants would hold that as sacred too.

    All pointing at the Anasazi and their descendants.

  40. Perhaps it was known and recognized from ancient bible story of when God created heaven and earth…..’on the fifth day’ God was said to have created the huge sea-beasts, and all the different kinds of life and movement that spring from the waters, and all the different kinds of flying things. Four legged creatures were said to have been created after on the sixth day….Pueblo peoples back then may have considered them first to earth creation and sacred. The sky was mentioned as first creation separating it from the sea and then came the land for the beasts to walk upon. Just maybe….birds were a first creation from their story of God(s)…

  41. It is the questions that drive us, we pilgrims of the past, and why we return to it again and again.

  42. Actually, I remember my son, Joshua, reading in his New Mexico history book this year that there was a severe drought in NM starting around 1100-1350. During that time, all the big game moved on from NM. Perhaps the people were not even familiar with the 4 legged animals at that time because they had not seen them. That time period includes several generations. The drought probably caused the ultimate end of the pueblo and forced the people to move elsewhere.

    • Hi Wendy, I was curious about what your thoughts were about Sparrows. The reason I ask is… A couple nights ago, I opened my front door and a sparrow flew into my house. It had been sleeping in the Christmas wreath on the door. Both my cats were freaking out because the bird was flying high in the vaulted ceiling out of reach. Finally the bird tired out and landed low enough that it could be caught in a net and returned back outdoors. I’ve read a bit online about this type of occurrence because I feel it is a message from the spirit world. What do you think?

      • WiseOne, different cultures and tribes have different beliefs of what each bird symbolizes. I agree with you that it is a message from the spirit world.

        I see your Sparrow as a very good blessing and omen bringing you a message that has great significance combined with the symbolism of the Christmas Wreath. I would take it to mean that althought the sparrow is small, it is very strong – especially in numbers. As for the Christmas Wreath – “Hung on the door or a window, the wreath has been viewed as an invitation to the spirit of Christmas to enter the home and bring luck, suggesting as well that the Christmas spirit dwells within.”

        • Wendy, thank you for an inspiring article about Christmas wreaths!

          I also enjoyed reading about the symbolism of sparrows and doves.

          Good night, Sweet dreams, may your heart and burdens be light.

      • WiseOne, that would be fun to meet wtih you and talk about animal symbolism. My interest and focus is mainly on birds, especially raptors.

        I believe that it’s a good omen, and since everything is connected to our spirit, your intention and belief is an important part of its message. Remember, the sparrow is connected to you, not separate from you.

  43. Because woman makes the pots they love pretty colorful things why would they put deer or buffalo on there pots that’s what’s in there pot 🙂 that’s for dinner 🙂 well if I was making a pot that’s my way of thinking hehe

    • Hey DG, that’s my way of thinking too. I’m not interested in hunting or cooking food as much as I’m interested in flying the coup like a bird and soaring beyond daily chores. Kind of like roaming the Rockies looking for treasure. Hard part is we all have to return to cooking and work after each search. I guess that’s what day dreams are for – a flight from reality.

        • 😉 Diggin!

          Do your sisters have a lil Indian name they call you on the trail searching? I exhausted my original Wyoming solve where I was positive that treasure was and am thinking about Montana next summer. Are you searching your favorite places again or expanding your search area?

    • Those pots were for the ones that did the cookin… U wldnt be makin a pot… U wld be diggin a hole!

      U wld make a hole digger! Haha

      • Lol I’d be out rideing a buffalo I forgot you are the pot maker and diggin gypsy 2 the doe doe bird maker let’s ask her why there’s birds on the pots 🙂

  44. Diggin & Sweetea – I think Native American for idiot is more like ‘marries her cousin’ or ‘she who eats bacon in home of Grizzly’

  45. Because the number 4 was/is considered sacred. Compass, Seasons, Periods of day, Stages of life, Life Obligations. Just a guess…

  46. Birds represent the ultimate freedom. They can soar among the clouds and look down on the earth. And I seem to recall something in the creation beliefs of the pueblo indians concerning birds.

  47. I think there are only birds on the pottery because of the The Rain Bird legend. The Rain Bird brought rain to the pueblo. The rain was viewed as the bringer of life to the Pueblo Indians . The rain brought life by watering their plants and hence, giving food & water to the animals they in turn hunted. In the Southwest water was scarce. I imagine water was the most important thing to sustaining life there on the pueblo…….

  48. I think they might have heard a story of Satan being thrown down to Earth from Heaven, chased by the Dove. Had to be a powerful vision for them, which has influenced their art. Then they desired to be closer to heavens, so they built 2 story dwellings. JMHO

    • Thanks for your post.
      But , Satan was cast by Michael and was seen as a Lighting bolt that fell from heaven .I don’t remember anything about a dove following him , at least to my memory.

  49. Forrest I think I found the answer to this question. The reason only birds and feathers appear on their pottery was the evidence of the Kachina cult in their time? In Anasazi pottery they only depicted birds and feathers due to their belief in the Kachinas. Its the same reason you found the Masks in San Lazero. The practice of their religion.
    In Anasazi ruins they found parrot cages built into the sides of the ruins. The members of the Kachina cult were responsible for teaching about the different gods and their responsibilities in the world. Every year children would receive Kachina dolls to be displayed in their homes to be cherished as a way of teaching about each God. There were between 200 and 400 different Kachinas to learn depending on the time period. That’s a lot of stuff to remember. So there we are back to story telling ….

  50. Ok to get that perfectly correct, they aren’t really Gods but represent the idea that everything in the world has a life force and that the People must interact with these things daily to preserve their sacred functions to ensure the health of the world.

  51. revisiting #119……..Those people loved to watch swallows build and rebuild their dwellings season after season, always returning to a place….the people were fascinated by all birds, watching them soar and dive — they had to be watching something….

    land dwelling, fourleggeds were accessible, the birds would always be just out of reach……yes, and if you needed a spirit-guide to raise you out of the humdrum of the daily grind you looked skyward….here’s a line or two from my swallow poem…

    “…these six I see swoop, swerve, dip, dive –
    on sky’s repast they stay alive;
    as for the rest – our flightless fate,
    to dine…we find…on earth our plate.”

    For me, a most interesting phenomenon was to catch sight of the swallows grouping up along a powerline on my country road as they waited for all their members to arrive so they could depart on their autumn migration. A blue heron could be seen fishing the river. An eagle flew low across my property to its nest across the river. Prairie Road, out of Sedro Wooley, Washington, circa 1977

      • I like the idea of having a quiet, and serene place to watch birds. I hope to have a place like this in the near future. I’ve learned a lot watching nature and I think the most important thing I’ve learned is Leave it alone and it will bless you with beautiful things to see.

  52. “Why were four legged animals not pictured on the pottery at San Lazaro Pueblo between 1150 AD when the pueblo was established and 1680 when it was abandoned?”

    Maybe the natives put small animals in certain pots and didn’t want to mix them up. They didn’t want birds being put in a pot normally used for fish. Otherwise making bird soup in a pot normally reserved for fish would make it smell funny.

    Maybe they even made bird-jerky and after smoking meat for a couple hours it all looks the same. Don’t wanna mix up the pheasant with the roasted scorpion.

    Maybe the interior of the fragments can be analyzed for meat residues and see if they match the animal on the outside. Everyone’s looking at this from an artistic standpoint when it might have a more practical function.

  53. They came into this world through a sipapu and leave on the wings of a bird.
    Nobody wants to leave on the back of a goat.

  54. The Kewa, Tewa, Tiwa, Tigua, and Kiowa Indians all believed living things travelling in the air were supernatural beings that would appear to lead the people to nearby cultural resources. The Bird Springs located near the birthplace of water were discovered using the same methods the indigenous peoples mentioned above used. The markings of birds on the vessel would depict the particular bird that led the people to the material which the vessel was intended for. The painted vessels were created for ceremonial purposes and the unpainted vessels were used for various tasks around the pueblo. Perhaps the four legged animals were believed to belong inside the vessel in the form of food. Of course this is only my personal educated hypothesis. I would like to know how many skeletal remains of birds you have found vs four legged animal remains. 🙂

    • Kachina (Katsina) Dolls were and still are teaching aids given to the children of the Hopi Mesas. They are physical representations of the Katsina, which come down out of the San Francisco Peaks (West of Hopitah and just North of Flagstaff), and appear during the Annual Ceremonies, so that the children can learn to identify each Katsina and their purpose in their Spiritual lives. Even though many of them look similar, each has its own unique look (and purpose) and can sometimes be daunting to try and separate from the others which look similar ..

      Que Brada

  55. Well shoot. The answer to this riddle is obvious. All these things were bird houses. The people would place these things around the area and when birds would build nests and lay eggs in them, BAM – breakfast sunny side up!

  56. They probably thought it was disrespectful to the spirit of the 4 legged animal to put a picture of it on the bowl for which it gave it’s life to fill. Perhaps the bird honored the spirit of the animal for providing food and aided in whisking it’s honorable soul to the afterlife.

  57. Aha… Anasazi. Reminds me of one of those things I enjoy the best!
    Wonder if Forrest still has visitation rights to San Lazaro or some other archeological site of significance?
    Care for a digging partner, partner?

    • I think the amigo is waiting for you at the end Suzy_S. He left enough room for two. It’ s a long road, but when you arrive, you know it for the first time.

      And there we were, trying to break in through the middle. How rude!

      Here now, as one might say.

  58. On the wings of eagles, I shall fly to the moon.
    Beats hopping, skipping, and jumping around like I’ve been doing all this time.
    Second star to the right and straight on ’til morning.

  59. With that thought in mind, As far as pottery is concerned, need to look at the ratio of pottery with and without depictions of birds. If we find that the number of pottery with birds is low compared to those without, then we could theorize pottery with birds was used for ceremonial purposes.

  60. I was wondering about that, and wether it correlated with other artistry throughout the Rocky mountains

  61. Form the discussions above, I’d say that the lack of a birds-eye view could have many unfortunate spiritual consequences.

    • Hmm, something is missing….

      Pottery is pretty, stay on topic, It is made from clay, wear your gloves and mask when handling the site.

      By the way some old guy hid a box.

      I feel crosshairs…it’s ok, breath, hold your breath, slowly let it out, squeeze. No more post, all is right with the world.

      • NearIndianaJones, how can you say that about Forrest? He’s not old, that’s just one of his many faces. He’s a master of disguise!

        Love ya, Forrest!

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