Caja del Rio: Archaeology of Tsinat Pueblo


Field Trip

Friday, May 1, 2015, 7:30 am–3:00 pm

Cottonwoods, Santa Fe River CanyonCottonwoods, Santa Fe River CanyonBy Scott Swearingen. Cottonwoods, Santa Fe River CanyonBy Scott Swearingen. 

The Caja del Rio is the relatively flat, volcanic plateau west of Santa Fe, distinguished by various volcanic features such as cinder cones, spatter cones, and basalt outflows. The Santa Fe River cuts through this seemingly barren landscape and emerges out from a 600 foot deep canyon at the La Bajada escarpment. The plateau is dominated by Tetilla Peak (7,203 feet), and contains prehistoric settlements and agricultural fields. The Tsinat Ruins are located in the western portion of Santa Fe River canyon, and they are part of the Late Coalition/Early Classic period (AD 1250 to AD 1400) of settlement which occurred within the Santa Fe River drainage. This medium-sized community, consisting of several masonry and adobe room blocks, is bordered by dense concentrations of petroglyphs occurring on basalt boulders. These glyphs consist of human figures, hand prints, cornstalks, spirals, and various zoomorphic forms.

Our trip guides will be Mike Bremer and Anne Baldwin, who work with the Heritage Program on the Santa Fe National Forest. This trip offers an opportunity to explore the Caja del Rio plateau and enjoy a hike into the Santa Fe River canyon just as the cottonwoods and willows begin to awaken. There will be an opportunity to search for rock art and look at the early agricultural fields of ancestral Keres people living along the Santa Fe River.

Activity Level: Very Strenuous, with hiking distances up to four miles round trip, and requiring an elevation loss and gain of 600 feet along an eroded, rocky trail.

Cost: $75 per person, includes transportation and picnic lunch.

Download the 2015 Spring Field Trip Registration Form

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