Protecting Pueblo Blanco

Field Trip

Saturday, August 27, 2011, 8:00 am–2:30 pm

Petroglyphs at Pueblo BlancoPetroglyphs at Pueblo BlancoPhotograph by Jason S. OrdazPetroglyphs at Pueblo BlancoPhotograph by Jason S. Ordaz

Hidden behind the native grasses and twisted juniper trees on the southern boundary of the Galisteo Basin are the remains of Pueblo Blanco. The site was occupied by Puebloan people between AD 1350–1525, then briefly and partially re-occupied after Spanish settlement in New Mexico. Pueblo Blanco was one of the basin’s largest and most densely populated sites with approximately 1,450 rooms, encompassing several plazas and kivas within a 20-acre area. Its proximity to a nearby arroyo may have caused periodic flooding problems for Pueblo Blanco. Changing rainfall patterns and increasing social stress probably contributed to the community’s abandonment.

Pueblo Blanco was first excavated by archaeologist Nels Nelson of the American Museum of Natural History between 1912 and 1914. The New Mexico State Land Office owns the area and has recently completed a stabilization project designed to protect the pueblo with earthen retaining walls. Archaeologist David Eck, who oversaw the state’s stabilization efforts, along with Eric Blinman of the Office of Archaeological Studies will guide us through this impressive site with its fascinating story of survival, doom, and abandonment. Nearby petroglyphs created by the pueblo’s residents will provide our tour group with further opportunities for discussion and photography.

Activity Level: Moderate, walking on uneven surfaces over short distances of up to a mile.

Cost (per person): $75, includes round-trip 4WD transportation from Santa Fe, picnic lunch, and guide honorarium.

Trip Registration—New Policy: To ensure that field trip registration is equitable, SAR will be using a lottery system. Please send your field trip requests (PDF, 449 KB) by mail (postmarked no later than May 1, 2011). A drawing will then be held for each trip, and members will be notified of the results by May 15, 2011. Please note that memberships at or above the Galisteo level receive advance registration.

For more information, visit the Field Trips section.

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