Coronado Historic Site: Dig Kuaua! | New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs

Watch archaeologists on a live dig at Coronado Historic Site off U.S. 550 in Bernalillo. The Dig Kuaua! hand-excavation of the Pueblo is being performed by the New Mexico Office of Archaeological Studies. It began May 15 and continues through June 30, 2017. Members of the Friends of Coronado Historic Site group can even participate alongside the archaeologists.

“This dig has the potential of yielding hundreds if not thousands or artifacts,” says Matt Barbour, regional manager, Coronado and Jemez Historic Sites. “The hand-excavation will focus test units throughout Kuaua Pueblo and the surrounding refuse piles called ‘middens.’ Architecture dating to the 1500s will also be unearthed.”

Coronado Historic Site and the ruins of Kuaua Pueblo are located just minutes north of Albuquerque (off of I-25, Exit 242) in Bernalillo. In 1540, Francisco Vásquez de Coronado, with 500 soldiers and 2,000 Indian allies from New Spain, entered the Rio Grande valley somewhere near this site. Coronado was searching for the fabled Seven Cities of Gold. Instead of treasure, he found a dozen villages inhabited by prosperous native farmers. These newly “discovered” people spoke Tiwa, and their ancestors had already been living in the area for thousands of years.

Visitors to Coronado Historic Site can interact with the archaeologists as they conduct the active dig. Docent-led tours of the archaeological excavation and the painted kiva occur on the hour. Visitors are encouraged to come back regularly during the dig, as interpretations of the site change as more is uncovered

Friends of Coronado Historic Site members are invited to participate in Dig Kuaua! and assist sorting artifacts, screening sediments, ceramic analysis, and light digging under the supervision of a professional archaeologist.

Friends of Coronado Historic Site Annual Membership: $25 seniors: $30 individuals; $35 senior couples; $40 couples/families; $150 supporters. Membership form available online at https://kuaua.com/friends/membership/.

Coronado Historic Site is open Wednesday–Monday, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m. (Closed Tuesdays). Admission $5. Free to NM residents on first Sunday of each month, and to NM Seniors with ID on Wednesdays. Children 16 and under are always free. A combination ticket, good for admission to both Jemez and Coronado Historic Sites is available for $7.

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