Indian Pueblos in New Mexico

Pueblo Alto (Span.: ‘high village’). Two pueblo ruins, about 500 feet apart, but both belonging to a single ancient village, situated on the top of the mesa north of Chaco canyon, north west New Mexico, about ½ miles north of Pueblo Bonito. The main building is rectangular in form, facing south, the court inclosed by the usual semicircular double wall which was really a series of one-story apartments. The north wall is 360 ft long, the wings 200 and 170 ft, respectively. The rooms are from 15 to 20 feet long and 8 to 12 feet wide. The walls are almost entirely thrown down. The smaller building is about 75 feet square and much better preserved, some second-story walls being still intact. This building contains some of the best, plain masonry to be found in the Chaco Canyon group. There is a large circular kiva in the small building and traces of 7 in the large one. A quarter of a mile east of the ruins is a wall extending north and south 1,986 ft. Other walls extend toward this from the main building but do not connect with it. Pueblo Alto is reached from the canyon by a tortuous stairway through a narrow crevice just back of Pueblo Bonito.

Pueblo Blanco (Span.: ‘white village’). A ruined pueblo of the Tano on the south border of the Galisteo plain, north central New Mexico.

Pueblo Blanco. A former pueblo, presumably of the Piros, on the west rim of the Médano, or great sand-flow, east of the Rio Grande, about lat. 34° 30′, New Mexico. It was probably inhabited in historic times.

Pueblo Bonito (Span.: ‘beautiful village’). The central and most important ruin of the Chaco Canyon group in north west New Mexico. The building, which stands within 70 ft of the north wall of the canyon, is of dark brown sandstone, semielliptical in form. Its length east and west is 667 feet, greatest depth north and south 315 feet. It was originally, 5 stories high, there being portions of the fifth-story wall still standing. The greatest height of standing wall at present is 48 feet, 39 feet being above the detritus; probably half of the original walls remain standing. The rooms are mostly rectangular, but there are many of irregular form, semicircular, trapezoidal, elliptical, triangular, etc., owing to the subsequent addition of rooms to the original structure, several such additions and remodeling being evident. In fact, no unit of original plan is discernible, and additions seem to have been made within, without, and upward as needed. The masonry of Pueblo Bonito ranges from plain rubble to what appears to be ornamental mosaic in places. Every type of masonry known to Pueblo architecture is found in this building, and not fewer than 27 circular kivas, varying from 10 to 50 ft in diameter, have been uncovered in it. The kiva is in every instance a circular room built within a square or rectangular one, the space between the walls being filled with earth and masonry. In some cases the interior of the kivas is of fine tablet masonry, alternating with bands of larger blocks, giving an ornamental finish. The fireplaces are of the most primitive character. The timbering is exceptionally heavy, logs 40 feet in length and 18 inches in diameter having been found. The doorways vary from 24 by 36 to 30 by 50 inches; the lintels are straight, smooth poles about 3 inches in diameter; windows vary from 6 by 12 to 12 by 16 inches. Extensive excavations have been made in Pueblo Bonito by the Hyde Exploring Expedition; ‘the collections found are now in the American Museum of Natural History, New York.

Pueblo Caja del Rio. A very ancient pueblo on a rocky bluff 3 miles north east of Cochiti, in the so-called Caja del Rio, so named from the “boxing” of the canyon of the Rio Grande here, in Sandoval County, New Mexico. Concerning it Bandelier (Arch. Inst. Papers, iv, 80,1892) says: “Whether the Tehuas [Tewa], the Tanos, or some other unknown tribe were the builders of it I am unable to say. The people of Cochiti disclaimed all knowledge of its former occupants. The amount of arable land in the vicinity is sufficient; for the population, as I. estimate it, could not have exceeded 400.

Pueblo Colorado (Span.: ‘red village’). A ruined pueblo of the Tano on the south border of the Galisteo plain, north central New Mexico.-Bandelier in Arch. Inst. Papers, iv, 116, 1892.

Pueblo Colorado. A former pueblo, presumably, of the Piro on the west rim of the Médano, or great sand-flow, east of the Rio Grande, about lat. 34° 30′, New Mexico. It was probably inhabited in historic times.-Bandelier in Arch. Inst. Papers, iv, 278, 281, 1892.

Pueblo del Alto (Span.: ‘village of the height,’ so called on account of its situation above the reach of inundation). A prehistoric village, probably of the Piro, the ruins of which lie on the east side of the Rio Grande, 6 miles south of Belen, New Mexico. Bandelier in Arch. Inst. Papers, iv, 237, 1892.

Pueblo de la Parida (Span.: ‘village of the woman lately delivered’). A former pueblo, presumably of the Piro, on the west run of the Médano, or great sandflow, east of the Rio Grande, about lat. 34° 30′, New Mexico. It was probably inhabited in historic times. Bandelier in Arch. Inst. Papers, iv, 278, 281, 1892.

Pueblo del Arroyo (Span.: ‘village of the gulch’). An important ancient pueblo less than ⅛ miles below Pueblo Bonito, in Chaco canyon, north west New Mexico. It is on the north side of the arroyo, on its very brink, is rectangular in form, and faces eastward. The western wall is about 270 feet long, and the 2 wings 125 and 135 feet respectively. The extremities of the wings are connected by a semicircular double wall, the space between being occupied by a series of rooms. Portions of the third story wall are standing. The original height was probably 4 stories. The heavy floor timbers, averaging about 10 inches in thickness, are still in place. There are 2 kivas in the court, 3 built within the pueblo walls, and 4 outside the main building. The largest is 37 feet in diameter. The masonry is of dull brown sandstone, well laid in adobe mortar.

Pueblo del Encierro (Span.: ‘village of the inclosure’) . A former pueblo, probably Keresan, described as being some distance above Tashkatze, which is opposite Cochiti, in north central New Mexico. The Tano of Santo Domingo disclaim its former occupancy by their people.-Bandelier in Arch. Inst. Papers, iv, 179-81, 1892.

Pueblo de los Jumanos. A former large village of the Jumano, situated in the “Salinas” east of the Rio Grande, central New Mexico, in the vicinity of Tabira, or the so-called Gran Quivira. The definite location of the pueblo is not known, although it is supposed to have been situated near the base of the elevation called Mesa de los Jumanes. In 1598 the northern division of the Jumano occupied 4 villages in this region, but before 1629 they lived in tipis and were seminomadic. In the latter year they were gathered in a “great pueblo” to which the name San Isidoro was applied by the Franciscan missionaries, and all attempt made at their conversion. The Pueblo de los Jumanos was mentioned by Escalaute in 1778-fully a century after the abandonment of the Salinas by the Tigua and the Piro. According to Escalante the pueblo was destroyed by the Apache, who were the scourge of the Pueblos during this period.

Pueblo de los Silos. A large Tano village situated in the Galisteo basin, between the Keresan pueblos of the Rio Grande and Pecos, New Mexico, in 1540; so called by the Spaniards of Coronado’s expedition because of the large underground cellars found there stored with corn. The village had the appearance of newness, but because of depredations by the Teya, a Plains tribe, 16 years before, only 35 houses were inhabited, the remainder having been destroyed.

Pueblo Largo (Span.: ‘long village’). A former Tano pueblo of the compact, communal type, situated about 5 miles south of Galisteo, New Mexico. It was possibly occupied in the 16th and the beginning of the 17th centuries.-Bandelier (1) in Hitch, N. Mex., 201, 1885; (2) in Arch. Inst. Papers, iii, 125, 1890; iv, 106, 1892; (3) Gilded Man, 222, 1893.

Pueblo Nuevo (Span.: ‘new village’). A Tepehuane pueblo in south Durango, Mexico, near Mezquital river.-Orozco y Berra, Geog., 319, 1564.

Pueblo Pintado (Span.: ‘painted village’). An important ancient pueblo ruin, of yellowish gray sandstone, situated near the head of the Chaco wash, on the low mesa to the south, in Chaco canyon, north west New Mexico. It is the most easterly of the Chaco Canyon group. The building is L-shaped, the 2 wings measuring 238 feet and 174 feet, exterior measure. The extremities of the wings are connected by a row of small apartments. The inclosed court was occupied by 2 kivas and other semi-subterranean structures, while just outside the court is another large kiva. The standing outer walls are still about 28 feet high; the original height was probably about 40 feet. This ruin is surrounded by about 10 ruins of minor pueblos, all within a mile of the main building. The surrounding region is all absolute desert. The site is an exceedingly interesting one because of its situation, being well toward the top of the continental divide and likely to contain important evidences of contact with the Pueblos of the Rio Grande drainage, particularly Jemez.

Pueblo Quemado (Span.: ‘burnt village’). An abandoned pueblo of the Tano or the Tewa, 6 miles south west of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Pueblo Viejo (Span.: ‘old village’) The name given to that portion of Gila valley from Pima to San José, between Mt. Graham and the Bonita mountains, south Arizona, on account of the ruins of prehistoric habitations there.  The name was earlier applied to an important ruin and later to the settlement of San José near its site.

The books presented are for their historical value only and are not the opinions of the Webmasters of the site.   Handbook of American Indians, 1906

Index of Tribes or Nations


Hodge, Frederick Webb, Compiler. The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Government Printing Office. 1906.

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