STEM Shoutout: Dr. Hannah Mattson

Women in STEM award winner heads the archaeological investigation of Ancestral Pueblo farming settlements

Dr. Hannah Mattson, 2019 Women in STEM winner and assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology, is heading up a project for the archaeological investigation of Ancestral Pueblo farming settlements associated with the Tonque Pueblo.

Along with her Women in STEM award winning project entitled “Tracing the Movement of Early Pueblo Pottery across the Southern San Juan Basin: Preliminary Compositional Analysis of Cibola Ceramics from Chaco Canyon,” Mattson is also interested in the archaeology of small structures surrounding the Tonque Pueblo.

“For the past few summers, I have conducted both survey and excavation of small masonry structures and agricultural features with undergraduate students enrolled in UNM’s Archaeology Field School,” she said.

The main goal of this project is to analyze how the Tonque community organized themselves in terms of agricultural production.

“I am particularly interested in how this organization compares to the way

contemporaneous communities, such as those on the Pajarito Plateau or in the Rio Chama area, structured their rural landscapes. Can we identify regional patterns in agrarian settlement and farming practices? If so, what is driving these patterns?” she said.

With this project, Mattson also aims to encourage students to explore archaeology as their career choice. She believes that this project will allow students to gain vital analytical skills in archaeological fieldwork.

“It is incredibly rewarding to watch students at the very beginning of their academic careers get hooked on archaeology because of their experiences in the field school,” she said.