Places featured in the 2022 calendar include:
Moon House, Cedar Mesa Special Recreation Management Area, Bears Ears National Monument
The Moon House cliff dwellings built into the walls in McCloyd Canyon is a complex of rooms notable for the exterior wall that may have been constructed for defense. Of special note is the room with a long, painted band of white color on ochre plaster that seems to depict the phases of the moon and gives the complex its name. The Moon House site is now managed by the Bureau of Land Management and only 20 daily visitors are allowed access by permit from the Kane Gulch Ranger Station.
Talus House, Bandelier National Monument
This restored dwelling is part of the Talus House Ruin located at the base of a cliff composed of tuff. Ancestral Puebloans occupied this area for some 450 years until about 1600. About 1.14 million years ago, shale and sandstone were covered by volcanic ash after the eruption of the Valles Caldera. Compacted over time, the ash solidified into a relatively soft, porous rock called Bandelier tuff. Puebloans exploited the tuff coating along the cliff side to cut holes for structural roof supports and to excavate additional spaces.
Aztec Ruins National Monument
Aztec Ruins is a group of pueblos built in the Chaco Great House tradition. Like the nearby Salmon Ruins, archeologists call these sites Chacoan outlier villages because they clearly share the Chacoan architectural tradition, although constructed outside Chaco Canyon itself. Aztec Ruins was occupied from the C.E. 1100s through the 1200s. The site features a reconstructed great kiva.
Kivas, Aztec Ruins National Monument
Aztec Ruins, built and used over a 200-year period, is the largest Ancestral Puebloan community in the Animas River valley. Concentrated on and below a terrace overlooking the Animas River, the people at Aztec built several multi-story buildings called “great houses” and many smaller structures. Associated with each great house was a “great kiva”—a large circular chamber used for ceremonies. Nearby are three unusual “tri-wall” structures—above ground kivas encircled by three concentric walls.
Kuaua Pueblo, Coronado Historic Site
The Coronado Historic Site preserves the Kuaua Pueblo of the Tiwa-speaking people. Located 16 miles north of Albuquerque, NM, the pueblo was settled in about 1325 and only abandoned near the end of the 16th century following the arrival of the Spanish in 1540. The two kivas pictured in the foreground of this picture are original, and a reconstructed kiva appears in the background. The site is notable for the original murals discovered in a kiva in the pueblo’s south plaza.
Gran Quivira, Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument
Spanish Franciscan missionaries first encountered Native Americans here at what is now known as Gran Quivira, or Pueblo de las Humanas, once a crossroads and thriving trade community. The Gran Quivira pueblo (foreground) was constructed as early as the 13th-century. The 17th-century missionaries constructed their own church and convent (background). By the late 1670s, both the Indians and the Spanish were gone.
This small kiva is one of a number that are part of the large Salmon Ruins site near Farmington, NM. The original structures, built by migrants from Chaco Canyon, included a three-story pueblo with about 300 rooms and a central tower kiva, a grand kiva in the plaza of the site, and 20 small kivas in pueblo rooms and around the plaza. Salmon was occupied from about 1090CE to the late 1200s. More than one million artifacts collected from the site have been preserved at the Salmon Ruins Museum.
Spruce Tree House, Mesa Verde National Park
The third largest cliff dwelling at Mesa Verde, Spruce Tree House contains 130 rooms and eight kivas. Some 60 to 80 are thought to have lived in the dwelling during the 1200s CE. The kivas, a Hopi Indian word meaning ceremonial room, served that purpose. Built into a natural alcove beneath Chapin Mesa, Spruce Tree House is one of the best-preserved Ancestral Puebloan sites in America.
Betatakin Cliff Dwelling, Navajo National Monument
Betatakin Cliff Dwelling was constructed inside a vast rock alcove that measures 370 feet across and 450 feet high from about 1287 to 1286CE. Betatakin had 120 rooms built of sandstone, mud mortar, and wood, as well as one kiva. After rock falls inside the alcove, today only 80 rooms remain. Located on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona, the national monument includes two other dwelling sites: Keet Seel, with 150 rooms, and Inscription House.
Wupatki Pueblo, Wupatki National Monument
Wupatki National Monument outside Flagstaff, AZ, preserves a group of five Ancestral Puebloan villages, of which Wupatki Pueblo is the largest. Wupatki was a multi-story, 100-room dwelling established in the 1100sCE and abandoned in about 1250. The ceremonial ball court, pictured here, was part of the Wupatki Pueblo and served as a meeting place and center of trade for Ancestral Publoans, Hohokam people, Sinagua Indians and Navajo families.
Sinagua Pueblo, Tuzigoot National Monument
The ancient pueblo just visible on this Arizona hilltop was originally constructed by members of the Sinagua culture beginning in about 1000CE. In addition to agriculture, the Sinagua traded with other ancestral people along routes that spanned several hundred miles. The pueblo eventually expanded to more than 110 rooms in three stories and remained occupied until the middle of the 15th century.
White House Ruin, Canyon de Chelly National Monument
There is ice on Chinle Creek as it runs past the White House in Canyon de Chelly. The White House is a multilevel complex of some 80 rooms that includes a section on the floor of the canyon beside the cottonwood trees, and a section in the alcove visible above. Built between 1060 and 1250CE, archaeologists believe that lower section was tall enough to provide access to the upper section.
About The Archaeological Conservancy
Established in 1980, The Archaeological Conservancy is the only national, non-profit organization dedicated to acquiring and preserving the best of our nation’s remaining archaeological sites. Every day prehistoric and historic archaeological sites in the United States are lost forever – along with the precious information they contain. Modern-day looters use backhoes and bulldozers to dig up artifacts for the international market. Suburban development and agricultural methods like land leveling and topsoil mining destroy ancient sites. The Conservancy protects these sites by acquiring the land on which they rest, preserving them for posterity. To date, the Conservancy has protected more than 530 sites, which are managed as part of state or federal parks, or by the Conservancy as permanent archaeological preserves. Each site offers us a chance to learn more about America’s rich cultural heritage. In order to save archaeological sites throughout the nation, the Conservancy:
• Identifies the most important endangered sites;
• Acquires the property by purchase, gift, or bargain sale to charity;
• Secures the property and stabilizes the cultural resources in situ;
• Manages the archaeological preserve as part of a long-term plan;
• Educates the general public and local officials about the destruction of our cultural heritage and how we can preserve what remains.
The support of more than 20,000 Conservancy members has been invaluable to the preservation of important archaeological sites throughout the country. Conservancy members receive a quarterly magazine, American Archaeology, which includes recent discoveries in the field, updates on Conservancy projects, and related news from around the country. Members also receive announcements of the Conservancy’s archaeological tours in the United States, Mexico, and Central America. Conservancy membership starts at $30.
For more information, contact:
The Archaeological Conservancy
1717 Girard Boulevard NE
Albuquerque, NM 87106