Category Archives: Uncategorized

Santa Fe Area: Diablo Canyon

ABQjournal: Hike Through Diablo Canyon Area Spotlights Early Human Presence in North America By Patrick Miller, For the Journal

WHAT: “12,000 Years of Santa Fe History” — hikes led by The New Mexico Office of Archaeological Studies
WHEN: Periodically through Oct. 15
WHERE: Santa Fe area and northern Rio Grande Valley
HOW MUCH: $45 for Friends of Archaeology members; $55 for the general public. For information, including dates and destinations, contact the Office of Archaeological Studies at 827-6343.

On the windswept mesa overlooking Diablo Canyon, near the city of Santa Fe’s Buckman well field, are some of the earliest signs of human existence in North America. Shiny flecks of obsidian sparkle in the afternoon sun; a blanched petroglyph gazes from the smooth face of a boulder.

Of all the sites where Charles Hannaford, an archaeologist for the state’s Office of Archaeological Studies, and his colleague Steve Post lead public hikes, this one stands apart.

It’s a very unusual site, explains Hannaford, because it dates back 10,000 years— to Paleoindian times. Paleoindian sites are more common at lower elevations, says Hannaford, and the state didn’t even know this site existed until the late 1970s, when an amateur artifact collector was arrested for pillaging the site. The collector relinquished the 900 artifacts that he plucked from the area and gave archaeologists detailed notes about the site that he had compiled over two years.

The man’s work destroyed the archaeological value of the site, Hannaford says as he gathers the group in front of a stone structure. “There is no context.” …

Hannaford said the predominant migration theory holds that people trickled into North America around 12,000 years ago from Siberia over a now-submerged thousand-mile-wide land bridge in the Bering Sea. A more recent, competing theory points to what Hannaford called a possible maritime route along the coastlines of North America. This theory suggests wayfarers roamed the Pacific coast as far south as Chile instead of moving immediately into the continent’s interior.

A combination of both is the most likely explanation of Paleoindian presence in North America, he said.

“The various data suggests that there were multiple migrations. Linguists feel that there were probably three languages, and geneticists suggest four to five founding lineages,” he said. “Today’s Native Americans are descendants of these migrations.”

Regardless of how Paleoindians wound up at the Diablo Canyon site, the fact that they settled here is strange, he said. The area would probably not have been particularly rich with big game, which Paleoindians pursued across plains like those in Eastern New Mexico, Hannaford said.

“There were probably herd fragments here, but they may not have been hunting here at all. It may have been ceremonial. That’s one of the mysteries of this site,” he said.

Nor, said Post, do archaeologists know why these ancient people left. Perhaps as the weather got warmer, streams and arroyos became unreliable and without a steady water supply, animals drifted away. Perhaps the human population began to dwindle.

Post speculated that once the site was abandoned, it may have lain untouched until the 1200s, when descendants of those early residents settled in the area.

Pueblo San Marcos

ABQjournal: Pueblo San Marcos Once a Thriving Trade Hub By Patrick Miller, For the Journal

From about 1350 to 1680, more than a half-dozen similarly sized pueblos spanned the basin. San Marcos was the largest, and its 2,000-room village was probably the valley’s economic powerhouse, according to Mark Michel, president of The Archaeological Conservancy, an Albuquerque-based organization that now owns most of the site.

Spread over about 60 acres on a bluff overlooking the San Marcos Arroyo, the pueblo thrived thanks to its lucrative trade in turquoise and distinctive lead-glazed ceramic pottery.

“San Marcos is only one of two places in the New World where it was developed. The other was Honduras,” Michel said. …

Passed by Congress last year, the Galisteo Basin Archaeological Sites Protection Act is the first step toward what Michel hopes will be a long-range plan to preserve the Galisteo Basin’s most important sites, most of which are on private land. …

The new law designates 24 sites in the basin. “It sets up a framework for protecting them in a public and private partnership,” Michel said. “It does allow the federal government to acquire sites from willing landowners.”

But Congress has yet to fund the bill. Michel said his group is asking for $2.5 million to fully implement the act. …

Regardless of how the pueblos withered, there is no doubt the Galisteo Basin is a national treasure unlike any other, Michel said as he stood on a recently excavated mound of earth. The pueblos were among the largest in what would become the United States far surpassing the size of settlements in the Chaco Culture National Historical Park or Mesa Verde National Park.

To schedule a free tour of Pueblo San Marcos, contact The Archaeological Conservancy at (505) 266-1540.
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UNM – Quantum Fall 1999 – San Marcos Pueblo
The Secrets of San Marcos Pueblo by Michael Padilla
UNM archaeologists use old and new technologies to uncover answers to questions about an ancient Pueblo.

Santa Fe Trails to be connected

ABQjournal: Land Buy Would Link Trails By Laura Banish, Journal Staff Writer

What could be better for Santa Fe hikers and bikers than trekking along the scenic Dale Ball or the Atalaya trail systems?

The answer: connecting the two, an idea Santa Fe County commissioners endorsed by giving staff the OK to negotiate the purchase of approximately 103 acres of land between Atalaya and neighboring Picacho peaks. Commissioners agreed to pay $750,000, half of the total sale price, as part of its Open Space and Trails program.

The tract, appraised at $2.2 million, is owned by local periodontist William Parker. Parker agreed to make a charitable contribution of $700,000, which lowered the cost of the property to $1.5 million.

“It’s really spectacular,” Parker said, describing the area as a “Colorado-like” canyon with a spring and waterfall.

The tract is located on the eastern edge of the Santa Fe urban area and is bounded by Santa Fe National Forest, Santa Fe Open Space-Picacho Peak land and an undeveloped section of Ponderosa Ridge subdivision. It is considered one of the few remaining large undeveloped tracts in Santa Fe, according to Open Space and Trails Manager Paul Olafson.

“I think it’s a very nice piece of property, especially because it will provide nice trail connectivity and allow public access from the urbanized area into the Nation Forest,” Olafson said.

County officials said it is too early to estimate when connecting trails would be built.

To date, the county has acquired roughly 3,600 acres through the Open Space and Trails program.

Bosque del Apache, New Mexico

Bosque del Apache is a bird refuge about 100 miles south of Albuquerque. It is in a beautiful spot with mountains in every distance. The thousands of birds, especially snow geese and sandhill cranes, fly-out at sunrise and the fly-in at sunset — it is stunningly spectacular. Green chile cheeseburgers at the Owl Cafe on the way back to Interstate 40 make for a great finish.

Here are some very nice photos. mjh

page 1/2 / Bosque del Apache on a Saturday Morning / photos / – Matthew Bohnsack

Route from Socorro to El Morro, New Mexico

Q: Traveling from Socorro, can we take the short cut from Las Lunas NM 6 to I40 and gain enough time to do El Morro in one day? Thanks, enw

I’m attaching a little map as part of my answer. Short answer: yes, taking US60 west of Los Lunas will save you from having to drive up to Albuquerque; you save about 30 miles of driving. It is a very nice drive but a two lane paved road. About 6 to 10 miles west of Los Lunas is a stunning canyon visible on the north side of the road with Albuquerque’s Sandia Mountains as a backdrop.

Strangely, there is a different route 60 you might consider. This one runs west from Socorro through Magdalena, Datil, Pie Town and Quemado. This map shows a route NM36 (probably NM117 in Quemado) north from Quemado through Fence Lake that intersects NM53 west of El Morro.


I know much of this route. It is lovely as it passes through the Plains of San Augustin. You might consider this. However, I don’t know that stretch north from Quemado. My map software says this southern route is about 200 miles while your route via Los Lunas is about 165 miles. This whole route will certainly be slower than the Interstate (and more interesting). I think it could be a great loop. You might contact El Morro National Monument or El Malpais National Monument for their comments.

This map doesn’t show route NM36 out of Pie Town, which intersects NM117, which follows the eastern edge of El Malpais. That would shave some distance off the 200 mile route AND take you around more of El Malpais; NM53 from I-40 to El Morro passes the western edge of El Malpais. Be sure to stop at the Zuni-Acoma Trail which crosses El Malpais and has trailheads on the east (NM117) and west (NM53); the west trailhead is a little more interesting if you’re not going far (if you are, take water and a hat). I have some pix of the ZAT at

Didn’t mean to be quite so long-winded. Feel free to write back with questions/comments and to let me know how the trip turns out. mjh

Native American Resources around Albuquerque, New Mexico

The Seattle Times: Travel: Travel Q & A: Seeing New Mexico’s Indian culture

Q: I plan to take my grandson to New Mexico as a graduation present. We’re both interested in Native American culture. Any recommendations?

A: The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center (505-843-7270,, representing the 19 pueblos of New Mexico, is a good starting place. Its 10,000-square-foot museum in Albuquerque showcases the cultural development of the Pueblo Indians. The cultural center also keeps an events calendar and info for visiting the individual pueblos.

Also, the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture (505-476-1250, in Santa Fe houses 10 million Native American artifacts from 12,000 excavations.

You also will want to visit several sites administered by the National Park Service that feature Indian artifacts and culture. They include the Petroglyph National Monument (505-899-0205,, just west of Albuquerque; Bandelier National Monument, 505-672-0343,, west of Santa Fe; and Chaco Culture National Historical Park (505-786-7014,, closer to the Four Corners region.

For more information, including organized tours, contact the New Mexico Tourism Department (800-733-6396,

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company

Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico

Pueblo paths trace ancient lifestyle by Hunter George, Newhouse News Service

The Pueblo people have lived in the Southwest for centuries. The culture originated in the Four Corners region of Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico. Archaeologists have recorded five pueblo groups between A.D. 500 and 1500: the Chaco, Mesa Verde, Little Colorado, Kayenta and Rio Grande. The people who migrated to the Jemez Mountains were the Rio Grande group. Today, 19 Pueblo tribes are descended from this group.

The park’s 32,737 acres are set on the Parajito Plateau, with views of 11,000-foot mountains in the Jemez and the Sangre de Christo ranges, on either side of the Rio Grande River. There are 3 miles of public road and 70 miles of hiking trails. For $10, a carload of people can have a whole day of fun.


Bandelier National Monument is a 48-mile drive from Santa Fe. Take Hwy. 285/84 to Pojoaque, then west on New Mexico 502 and south on New Mexico 4.

The park is open year-round, but some roads and trails are closed in winter. The visitor center may be reached during business hours at 1-505-672-3861, ext. 517. The Web site is

From the Bandelier website:

Construction planned for the park entrance road from late summer into autumn of 2004 may involve total closure of the road during certain hours on some days, usually mid-afternoon into the evening. This may include restrictions on bus access into Frijoles Canyon after 2:00 from mid-August through mid-November. Detailed plans are not yet set, but inquire at the Visitor Center, 505-672-3861 x 517, as the work dates get closer. Planning visits for morning hours is advisable.

Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico

Every visitor to New Mexico should drive the route from I-25 at Bernalillo through San Ysidro (turn on NM4 here), up the redrock canyon past Jemez Pueblo and Jemez Springs, via the Valle Grande to descend Frijoles Canyon to Bandelier National Monument. Take your time to enjoy the hummingbirds and ruins. On leaving, you may want to continue north past Los Alamos, entering Santa Fe from the North. This is a half-day (or more) drive through some of the most beautiful landscape in New Mexico, giving you a great sense of the variety from high mesa to mountains to canyons. You may want to return from Santa Fe to Albuquerque down old NM 14 through the mining towns of Golden and Madrid, along the East Mountains. If you have any time and strength left, turn up the road to the Sandia Crest. The quintessential New Mexico loop. mjh

Ruins in Civilization By James Abarr, For the Journal

Beginning in about A.D. 1150, bands of the Anasazi moved into the deep canyons and onto the forested mesas to settle [on the Pajarito Plateau, northwest of Santa Fe, New Mexico]. At first, they lived in small settlements of perhaps one or two extended families, but as the population grew, fed by refugees from the dying pueblo centers of the Four Corners area, they came together in larger communities and their dwellings changed. …

On the floor of Frijoles Canyon, the focal point of today’s national monument, they built the showpiece of their culture— the multi-storied pueblo of Tyuonyi. (This circular community, once standing two stories high, graces the floor of the canyon and once contained more than 300 rooms. Tree-ring samples from roof beams place the period of greatest occupancy between 1383 and 1466, a time of much building in the canyon.)…

Archaeologists believe a series of factors combined to make life untenable for the Pajaritans— extended drought, over-population, depleted soils from centuries of farming and a general depletion of resources.

Today, the people of Cochiti and San Ildefonso pueblos, on the southern edge of the plateau, are their descendants. …

Although the monument encompasses 40 square miles of forests, steep-walled mesas and plunging canyons, its focal point is Frijoles Canyon. This two-mile-long slash in the volcanic tuff, carved over centuries by El Rito de Los Frijoles (Bean Creek), holds Bandelier’s best known and most accessible ruins. …

Farther up canyon is impressive Long House, a combination of cave and masonry dwellings 800 feet long. Standing against the 150-foot-high north wall of the canyon, the unique dwelling is a series of cave units, cave kivas and storage areas incorporated into a community of 300 rooms.

A mile up Frijoles Canyon from the Visitor Center is the Ceremonial Cave. Under the shelter of a rock overhang, 150 feet above the canyon floor, the impressive cave, reached by a series of ladders, contains masonry dwellings and a restored kiva.

Hundreds of reminders of the Pajaritan culture lie outside Frijoles Canyon in Bandelier’s rugged back country and are accessible only by foot trails.

Two of the best-known sites are the Stone Lions and the Painted Cave.

WHAT: Bandelier National Monument, administered by the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior; telephone: Visitor Center, (505) 672-3861, Ext. 517; group reservations: (505) 672-3861, Ext. 534.

WHERE: 45 miles northwest of Santa Fe via U.S. 285-84 north to Pojoaque and west via N.M. 502 and N.M. 4 to the entrance.

FEES: $10 a car.

HOURS: Memorial Day to Labor Day, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Remainder of year, 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Closed Christmas, New Year’s and Thanksgiving.

PARKING: Because of space limitations, trailers are not allowed in Frijoles Canyon. They must be left at Juniper Campground near monument entrance off N.M. 4. Auto parking in main lot at Visitor Center is limited. Visitors may encounter a wait of up to one hour in summer months and on holidays.

CAMPING: Juniper Campground is available at $10 a day. Group camping is provided at Ponderosa Campground at $35 a day.

If you go

Visitor Center provides information, guidebooks and orientation slide show. Museum presents exhibits on centuries of Pueblo culture. A book store, gift shop and snack bar also are available.

An easy paved trail, beginning at the Visitor Center, provides access to the nearby Pueblo of Tyuonyi, Sun House, Long House and other archaeological sites in Frijoles Canyon.

Permits are required for access to the 70 miles of trails into Bandelier’s rugged backcountry and wilderness areas. They are available at the Visitor Center at no charge.

Picnic area is provided near the Visitor Center.

Star-gazing Southeast of Albuquerque

ABQjournal: Oak Flats Party Hosts Night’s Biggest Stars By Sue Bohannan Mann, For the Journal

The Albuquerque Astronomy Club, 300 members strong, along with personnel and volunteers from the Sandia Ranger District, will hold a series of monthly Star Party nights in the Manzano Mountains beginning Saturday and continuing through September.

There is no admission charge, and the show begins as constellations appear in the sky. Volunteers will be on hand with flashlights to guide visitors to the parking area after 6 p.m.

Newcomers and veteran stargazers alike can take advantage of Oak Flats‘ distance from the lights of Albuquerque to view planets, stars and even faint clusters of constellations. Observers may be amazed to see how many neighbors our planet shares.

The Albuquerque Astronomical Society