Coronado Historic Site

Coronado Historic Site Ranger Ethan Ortega Wins First Prize in Cordell-Powers Competition at 2017 Pecos Conference

August 16, 2017


(Santa Fe, NM) - Coronado Historic Site Researcher/Ranger Ethan Ortega was awarded first prize in the prestigious Cordell-Powers competition at the 2017 Pecos Conference for his research at Coronado Historic Site.   

After proclaiming itself as the authority on Middle Rio Grande Pueblo culture and first European contact, the “facts” printed on monument panels are being rewritten.  Ranger Ortega’s presentation was entitled: False Truths, Restored Ruins, and New Artifacts: Looking Beyond the Oxymoronic Past of Coronado Historic Site through Field Work.

For the first time in over 100 years of archaeological research, the entire property of Coronado Historic Site, including Kuaua Pueblo, has been extensively surveyed. In a joint effort with New Mexico Historic Sites, the New Mexico Office of Archaeological Studies, and the Friends of Coronado Historic Site, several new sites have been identified. A report on the findings from the Coronado excavation will be released later.

“With the help of 75 volunteers over seven weeks this summer, we excavated dozens of test units showing that Kuaua Pueblo was larger than once thought and may have had an extensive turkey industry,” Ranger Ortega explained to the Pecos Conference audience.  “Additionally, this project has revealed the best way to connect people to the past is to let them literally dig-into it.”

Ranger Ortega donated the $550 cash prize he received for first place in the Cordell-Powers competition to the Coronado Historic Site. The competition was held at the 2017 Pecos Conference last week on Rowe Mesa.

“Even in a pool of such remarkable talent, it is no surprise to any of us that Ethan would walk away the winner of this competition,” commented Historic Sites Director Patrick Moore. “His knowledge of the subject matter is only eclipsed by his enthusiasm.  We are very proud of Ethan.”

 The Cordell-Powers Prize is an award for the best extemporaneous talk (without audiovisuals) presented at the Pecos Conference each year by an archaeologist, 35 years of age or younger.  Applicants must register, submit a title for their talk, a 100-word abstract and proof of age.  The Prize Committee selects the 10 best applicants based on abstract quality and content.  Presentations are limited to 10 minutes and may report interim or final results of archaeological fields work or on research in which the presenter is an investigator or participant. Award is based on delivery, ability to engage the audience, organization and professionalism of the presentation, interest and importance of the subject matter and adherence to the time limit.


Photo: Coronado Historic Site Ranger/Researcher Ethan Ortega accepts prestigious Cordell-Powers Prize at 2017 Pecos Conference.  Photo: Shelley Thompson


About New Mexico Historic Sites:

The New Mexico Historic Site system was established on March 14, 1931 by an Act for the Preservation of the Scientific Resources of New Mexico, to "declare by public proclamation that historic and prehistoric structures and other objects of scientific interest that are situated upon the lands owned or controlled by the State of New Mexico, shall be state monuments, and may reserve as a part thereof such parcels of land as may be necessary to the proper care and management of the objects to be protected."  Under the direction of the Department of Cultural Affairs, six of seven sites are active and open to the public: Fort Sumner Historic Site/Bosque Redondo MemorialCoronadoFort SeldenJemezFort Stanton and Lincoln.  The El Camino Real Historic Trail Site was closed in 2016 until further notice. In 2004, the historic Barela-Reynolds House and Property in Mesilla, was designated a state historic site upon its donation to the state by the John Paul Taylor family. Mr.& Mrs. Taylor will retain a life estate on the property that will not be open to the public until their deaths.

Related Photos

Coronado Historic Site Ranger/Researcher Ethan Ortega accepts prestigious Cordell-Powers Prize at 2017 Pecos Conference. Photo: Shelley Thompson

Back to Press Release List »