Posts Tagged ‘Puerco Pueblo’

When most people hear/read the word “pueblo”, I’m sure they imagine the more famous pueblos of New Mexico. This pueblo is different, perfect for those with a fear of heights or who don’t care to climb ladders. 🙂 If this were built where we live now, it would be called a “multi-family building” AKA apartment building. From the park website:

A series of droughts in the 1200s, during the Pueblo IV period, led ancestral Puebloan people to move away from small, scattered hamlets and instead build large pueblo communities. The Village on the Rio Puerco (or Puerco Pueblo, for short) is a 100+ room pueblo site located near the Puerco River, a major drainage that bisects the park. The river would have been a reliable source of water for crops. Farming of corn, beans, and squash took place on the floodplains and terraces along the river. The river also made a natural travel corridor, meaning travelers and traders frequented Puerco Pueblo, carrying new ideas as well as goods.

To most pueblo people, a kiva was a large circular underground room used for religious/spiritual ceremonies and rites as well as for meetings.

Again from the website:

At its largest size, around 1300, Puerco Pueblo may have been home to about 200 people. The one-story high village of hand-shaped sandstone blocks was built around a rectangular plaza. The rooms were living quarters and storage, but most activity, like cooking and craftmaking, took place in the plaza. There were also several underground rooms, called kivas, where ceremonial practices took place. There were no doors or windows in the plaster-covered exterior walls of the pueblo. Entry into the village was by ladders over the wall and across the log, brush, and mud roofs of the room blocks.

Ok, they had ladders but nothing like the ones in the New Mexican pueblos or the cliff dwellings.

The sun at the summer solstice hit the marker for a short span of time. Marking the changing of the seasons was important as knowing when to plant and when the rains might come was vital to staying alive in the desert.

Finally we come to my husband’s favorite part: the petroglyphs. Think of petroglyphs as early precursors of scratch boarding, as the top layer of rock was scratched off to reveal the lighter rock beneath it.

Unable to adapt to the climate change of the late 1300s, the inhabitants of Puerco Pueblo systematically abandoned the pueblo in search of a more suitable area. It was all but empty by 1380. Only the sandstone bricks, potsherds, stone tools, petroglyphs, and other artifacts and features remain to tell the tale of these ancient people.

Where will we be next? I guess you’ll just have to come back and see, but be sure to wear your hiking books or good athletic shoes. It’s cool so you might get away without bringing water but be sure to have some in the car. We’ll be taking a break for Six-Word Saturday and One Word Sunday but then I’ll actually have a Monday walk for Jo, although she might be taking a break. We’ll find out.