Monday, April 5, 2010

Gran Quivira

At first, one encounters a soothing silence broken only by a constant breeze and the chirp of insect wings. Sparse desert flora partially hides the remains of ancient stone houses built by early American Indians who inhabited this area of central New Mexico.

Farther along the trail an excavated mound reveals the broken foundations of a large apartment house and several ceremonial kivas typical of the southwest Pueblo Indian culture. Nearby, the ruins of two mission churches attest to the presence of Spanish priests in this isolated region. The quiet remnants of the village of Las Humanas, now called Gran Quivira, only hint at the vibrant society that thrived here until the late 17th century. Today it is one of three sites that make up Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument.

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