Poshuouinge (pronounced "poe-shoo-wingay") is a large ancestral Pueblo ruin[1] located on U.S. Route 84, about 2.5 miles (4.0 km) south of Abiquiu, New Mexico. Its builders were the ancestors of the Tewa Pueblos who now (2011) reside in Santa Clara Pueblo and San Juan Pueblo. It has also been referred to informally as Turquoise Ruin, although there is no evidence that turquoise has ever been found in the area.[2] Poshuouinge is situated 3 miles (4.8 km) upstream and due west of another Tewa Pueblo ancestral site, Tsama.[1]

Poshuouinge 65
Poshuouinge potsherds
Poshuouinge potsherds


Poshuouinge was built on a high mesa, some 150 feet (46 m)[2] above the Chama River, around 1400. There are two springs located about 500 feet (150 m) to the south of the ruins which are believed to have been the main water sources for the habitation.[2] It is accessible by a United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service trail.

This city, at its largest, consisted of about 700 ground floor rooms, most being two or even three stories tall.[3] The city was laid out with two main plazas, and a large kiva near the center of the eastern courtyard. The barrow pits of Poshuouinge were planted with small stone grids in the basement.[4]


The city is believed to have been occupied between 1375 and 1475.[5] The site was abandoned around 1500, well before Coronado and the first Europeans arrived. It is believed that its inhabitants left the banks of the Chama River and relocated nearby around the Rio Grande, where their descendants live today.[6]


Adolph Bandelier excavated the area in 1885.[7] J. A. Jeancon and his Tewa workmen unearthed tzii-wi war axes whilst excavating the site in 1919.[7][8] Jeancon was said "to have interpreted the Poshuouinge shrines in light of ethnographic evidence, arguing that they represented a "world quarter system" similar to that of San Juan Pueblo."[9]


`Poshuouinge USDA Forest Service drawing

USDA Forest Service rendering of the ruins

Poshuouinge ruins

What remains of the buildings


  1. ^ a b Koenig, Harriet (March 2005). Acculturation in the Navajo Eden: New Mexico, 1550-1750, Archaeology, Language, Religion of the Peoples of the Southwest. YBK Publishers, Inc. pp. 22, 80, 90–. ISBN 978-0-9764359-1-4. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
  2. ^ a b c Morgan, William N. (1994). Ancient architecture of the Southwest. University of Texas Press. p. 213. ISBN 978-0-292-75159-0. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
  3. ^ Harris, Richard K. (10 November 2009). New Mexico Off the Beaten Path, 9th: A Guide to Unique Places. Globe Pequot. p. 68. ISBN 978-0-7627-5049-8. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
  4. ^ Minnis, Paul E. (August 2001). Biodiversity and Native America. University of Oklahoma Press. pp. 214–. ISBN 978-0-8061-3345-4. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
  5. ^ Killion, Thomas W.; Meeting, Society for American Archaeology. (1992). Gardens of prehistory: the archaeology of settlement agriculture in Greater Mesoamerica. University of Alabama Press. p. 56. ISBN 978-0-8173-0565-9. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
  6. ^ Noble, David Grant, Ancient Ruins of the Southwest: An Archaeological Guide, Northland Publishing, Flagstaff, Arizona, pp. 203-205
  7. ^ a b Reily, Nancy Hopkins (1 October 2009). Georgia O'Keeffe, a Private Friendship. Sunstone Press. p. 71. ISBN 978-0-86534-452-5. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
  8. ^ Kidder, Alfred Vincent (October 1979). The artifacts of Pecos. Garland Pub. p. 94. ISBN 978-0-8240-9630-4. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
  9. ^ Snead, James Elliot (1 May 2008). Ancestral landscapes of the Pueblo world. University of Arizona Press. p. 87. ISBN 978-0-8165-2308-5. Retrieved 26 September 2011.

Coordinates: 36°12′44″N 106°16′26″W / 36.2121992°N 106.2739706°W

List of Ancestral Puebloan dwellings in New Mexico

This is a list of Ancestral Puebloan dwellings in New Mexico, United States.

Tsama Pueblo

The Tsama Pueblo is a Tewa Pueblo ancestral site in an address-restricted area of Abiquiú, New Mexico. It was occupied from around 1250 until around 1500 and contained 1100 rooms. The site and others in the area were explored by Florence Hawley Ellis in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1983, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places listings in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico. Tsama is located 3 miles (4.8 km) from the Poshuouinge site. The Sapawe site is closely related. In December 2008, The Archaeological Conservancy extended the Tsama Archaeological Preserve by 11.6523 acres, mostly cobble mulch garden plots which were likely once constructed by the residents of Tsama Pueblo.

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