Coronado Historic Site

In 1540, Francisco Vásquez de Coronado, along with 300 soldiers and 800 Indian allies from New Spain, entered the middle Rio Grande Valley in search of the fabled Seven Cities of Gold. They camped near the Tiwa Indian pueblo of Kuaua, a prehistoric, multistory earthen community of 1,200 residents established about 1350 A.D.

In the 1930s, archaeologists from the Museum of New Mexico and elsewhere excavated the ruins. In the pueblo’s south plaza, they discovered a square kiva with 17 layers of painted wall murals. They also unearthed the pueblo’s first floor. Rather than subjecting the site’s coursed adobe ruins to the elements, workers carefully reburied them. They then built new adobe walls to outline the original pueblo layout.

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