Day 3 – Indian Ruins

2009-nm-trip-indian-ruins-0351Today was set aside for touring some ruins south of Tijeras.  After a leisurely start to our day, including showers, we got on the road about 9:15 a.m. and set off.  We drove down Highway 333/337 along the eastern boundary of the Manzano Mountains to Quarai Ruins near the town of Punta. 

2009-nm-trip-indian-ruins-001Seeing this sign, I was glad we came at this time of year.  Eric Strom does NOT do snakes!

About all that has been excavated at Quarai, once home to the Tiwa people, is the Catholic mission church.

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We spent about an hour wandering around the site, reading the various signs, then headed south to Gran Qivera, home of the Tompiro people.  This site was more interesting to me.  Unlike Quarai, not only is the mission church excavated but many of the pueblo buildings as well.  I was fascinated at the size of the dwellings.  Most rooms were only in the 4′ X 5′ range; rooms were accessible from the roof, so there were few rooms with doors in them.  The people here lived mostly on the roof of their pueblo, using the rooms only during the worst of inclement weather.  There were people living at this ruin, or very nearby for nearly 400 years, starting around 1300.

Our next stop was Abo.

All three of these ruins were in the Salinas Jurisdiction… named this because one of their chief products was salt from nearby saltbeds.  For centuries, the pueblo peoples here on the verge of the Plains were at the hub of great trade routes bringing in goods from as far as the Pacific coast to the west, shell fish from the gulf of Mexico.  Other trade goods came up from eastern Texas.  The people traded these goods and salt.  The Apache from the plains to the east came to trade.  Then came the Spaniards with their encomiendo system.  Most of the Pueblo people were pressed in to the service of the Spaniard settlers and the Catholic Missionaries, leaving them little time to collect the salt.  With no salt to trade, the Apache began raiding.  By 1680, all 3 pueblos had been evacuated.

Now we’re back home, safe and sound in our little trailer.  Without hot water. 🙁

Tonight, I think we’ll spend some time star gazing!

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