Salmon Ruins, New Mexico

From Chimney Rock I drove to the Salmon Ruins, which lies along the San Juan River near Farmington, New Mexico. The first phase of construction here in 1068 – 1072 AD was limited to a small section on the eastern side of the site that was later incorporated into the second phase pueblo that rose to three stories in some places and may have contained up to 300 rooms. At the time of this second phase of construction in 1088 – 1090 AD, this outlier community was the largest in the Chacoan society; the major building phase here, as at Chimney Rock, coincides with the large-scale emigration from Chaco Canyon to the south. The structure functioned in this form with internal modifications until the ancient Puebloans moved in the 1280s AD after a fire.

Because this pueblo was well stabilized, it was possible to walk within some of the rooms and kivas here. As a bonus, the site was almost entirely empty, which allowed me to explore the ruins undisturbed all morning.

View of main room block from the East, ca. 1088 - 1090 AD, Salmon Ruins, New Mexico

View of main room block from the East, ca. 1088 – 1090 AD, Salmon Ruins, New Mexico

Room 127 with door, Salmon Ruins, New Mexico

Room 127 with door, Salmon Ruins, New Mexico

Small kiva with original wood posts within main pueblo block, ca. 1088 - 1090 AD, Salmon Ruins, New Mexico

Small kiva with original wood posts within main pueblo block, ca. 1088 – 1090 AD, Salmon Ruins, New Mexico

Room in main house block with door, Salmon Ruins, New Mexico

Room in main house block with door, Salmon Ruins, New Mexico

Rooms next to Tower Kiva, possibly used by religious leaders, ca. 1088 - 1090 AD, Salmon Ruins, New Mexico

Rooms next to Tower Kiva, possibly used by religious leaders, ca. 1088 – 1090 AD, Salmon Ruins, New Mexico

Tower Kiva, originally over 12 feet high (with modern ladder), ca. 1088 - 1090 AD, Salmon Ruins, New Mexico

Tower Kiva, originally over 12 feet high (with modern ladder), ca. 1088 – 1090 AD, Salmon Ruins, New Mexico

Great Kiva, located across the courtyard from pueblo in North-South alignment with Tower Kiva, Salmon Ruins, New Mexico

Great Kiva, located across the courtyard from pueblo in North-South alignment with Tower Kiva, Salmon Ruins, New Mexico

Also at the site are the remains of the 19th century Salmon Homestead, after which the ruins are named.

Salmon Homestead bunkhouse, ca. 1900, Salmon Ruins, New Mexico

Salmon Homestead bunkhouse, ca. 1900, Salmon Ruins, New Mexico

19th century trading post, Salmon Homestead, Salmon Ruins, New Mexico

19th century trading post, Salmon Homestead, Salmon Ruins, New Mexico

In addition to the preservation of the archeological sites, Salmon Ruins also contains a small museum and an excellent 17,000 volume library, where I spent the afternoon reading about the Ancestral Puebloan culture. It was an amazing, amazing, amazing day.

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