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My prospecting adventures have been leading me into an interesting area of New Mexico. Right in the center of the state, far away from the nearest town are the “Saline Pueblos”. The largest of which was “Los Humanos” or as most people know it, “Gran Quivira.

The "New Church" at Quivira

The folks here were traders and people came from all over to buy salt. This place is a 50 mile walk from the salt flats and on top of a very desolate ridge a hundred miles from water. It must have been a pretty tough place to survive.

The Spanish came here and attempted to convert the people on several occasions and succeeded for the most part. Still, in amongst two large Spanish churches lie no fewer than seven kivas. All around the larger community structures are many dozens of small rooms (I could not help but think that it was the pre-historic version of the low income projects). The pottery is scattered everywhere across the ground and the unexcavated mounds cover scores of acres and are many feet deep. The pueblo at one point must have been home to several hundred.

Lots of kivas despite the Spanish presence.

The first governor of New Mexico was quite a treasure hunter and there are persistent rumors of Spanish treasure here at Gran Quivira. In addition to several bold moves by Governor Otero the excavation of the church at Gran Quivira was one of his most famous. I don’t suppose that anyone knows if he actually recovered the gold he was seeking but he did add to the several centuries of legend surrounding this lonesome hilltop.

Looking into the crucifix shaped "New Church". It was in the center of this floor that Governor Otero dug for the Spanish treasure.

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Pretty cool Bob, reminds me of another location you got there to the NW, very similar but much more elaborate, called Choco Canyon, which is, to this day, a huge mystery to archeologists. They do know that the folks that built those structures had a crazy, deep understanding of solar and lunar cycles alot like the Aztecs. I would like to visit Choco Canyon one of theses days, but cool! :thumbsupanim

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Pretty cool Bob, reminds me of another location you got there to the NW, very similar but much more elaborate, called Choco Canyon, which is, to this day, a huge mystery to archeologists. They do know that the folks that built those structures had a crazy, deep understanding of solar and lunar cycles alot like the Aztecs. I would like to visit Choco Canyon one of theses days, but cool! :thumbsupanim

Yes, Chaco, Casa Grande, and Hovenweep are REALLY ancient. i am making a trip to the Zuni Mts. very soon and will post photos of Chaco, the Ice Caves, and El Malpais in a month or so. And Hovenweep is a spot that I love to haunt when I am in the "hood".

I have a few photos of Abo and Tajique that I will post on soon. While I was near the Saline pueblos I made it a point to take some photos to share with this group and decided to write a few paragraphs on each in case someone got a kick out of it. Since these pueblos were connected to a very large gold deposit and were the site of many Spanish expeditions for the same it seemed pretty cool to post these pueblos first.

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Other than Governor Otero not many have dug here. The pottery and artifacts are laying everywhere in the unexcavated mounds. And other than the cathedrals and the dwellings in the main pueblo the ruins remain an unexcavated series of mounds.

So no. There has been very little excavation here other than by the archaeologists. There are manos, metates, and broken shards of monochrome and polychrome pottery laying everywhere along the trails and all over the mounds. No doubt there are thousands of artifacts just below the surface.

At the visitor center they have several screens set up and some examples of ruin walls. Kids can dig and screen for pottery and beads from within these walls. Yes, the archaeologists salt the "excavation" with broken pottery but anyone who wants to dig and screen for them off to the side of the main pueblo can do that. And I picked up a few big shards of polychrome to take home. I brought it into the visitor center to have the Rangerette tell me about it. She said that officially I was not suppoosed to take any but that they really don't care about the shards that much and will allow a piece or to to slip by now and then.

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I ran across a cool little site in the canyons of SW Colorado with some old rock walls lining an alcove in the canyon wall. There were chips and flakes on the ground and mini corn cobs scattered all around and the thing that really got me is there was a squash plant still freakin' growing right there after how ever many hundreds or thousands of years in the middle of the desert! Always thought about finding it again and cooking up one of the squashes and having a historic meal. :D

Sounds just like Hovenweep! It is right near Dove Creek and Cortez in the SW corner of CO.

And yeah, that squash, corn and chile is actually the varieties that the ancients selected from the wild strains! I have grown 1200 year old corn (maiz cinco and maiz pinto) from the Mogollon dwellings along the gila river and some strange little piquin chiles from below a Mimbres dwelling near White Signal. And blue corn from the ancients is still big table fare here in New Mexico. Blue corn was perfected and grown from wild grass by the ancients in the Upper Rio Grande valley and the tortillas are still the best darn thing you have ever tasted. A BIG tradition here that dates back about a zillion years. And that smutted out corn rot "Epizote" is grown here even though the feds say it is illegal. And on several of the pueblos you can get squash and seeds that are ancient genetics.

Many times you can still find a grain of corn at old sites that the mice STILL have not found. It happens. On the middle fork of the Gila River I found a whole big storage jar full of kernels that looked just like dark popcorn back when I was a teenager. I took a couple of pocketfulls of that corn and put the lid back on the big storage jar and mudded it around the seam. I have grown that corn several times over my life and have been back to that storage jar as recently as ten years ago. It was still sitting there full of corn just like I left it. And the corn is little stalks 18" high with one ear on top that looks just like a big rye head. There will be a dozen or so kernels under a grassy husk and one or two will be pale red or blue colored.

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Hi Bob,

Somehow I missed these great presentations you have made here, with regard to Abo, and the Gran Quivira. Fascinating.

We are left wondering much about the lives of the old ones, who were able to survive in these seemingly desolate areas for several thousands of years, an accomplishment that so called "modern" man will not likely be able to match.

Thank you very much for enlightening us in so many ways...

~LARGO~

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Hi Bob,

The pics of the pottery shards on the ground remind me of an indian encampment that I know of that has never been archaeologically discovered. Please take pics and share them with us. They are fascinating!!!

Chris

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