Historic Walls

Historic stone walls on the north end of Building XV were built on top of prehistoric adobe rooms that may date as early as 1330. The lower rooms extend to the south the full length of the building and 80 feet beyond. More that 8 feet of dirt, sand, and debris had covered the earlier rooms, some of which are less than 25 square feet in size.

Found in The Secrets of San Lazaro Pueblo, Plate 155.


While working with trowels in the Historic plaza where it abuts the south side of Building XVII, we accidentally uncovered the top of a curved wall, something we had not seen before in our excavations at San Lazaro. Further investigations proved that our first impulse was correct; it was the wall of a kiva. Over the next two months, our work slowly progressed to unlock the secrets that had rested dormant in that place for five centuries-or more.

The 8-foot- high north wall of the kiva is impressive. Initially we made a rock and earthen berm around the rim to prevent water from running down the wall. Later; a shelter was erected to protect the murals, the best fragments of which are on the wall behind the juniper post and cannot be seen in this photograph.

The juniper post was anchored in a 2-foot-deep hole, which was about as deep as a person could reach to remove dirt.

The large hole in the wall (at top right) was discovered sealed up with rocks and broken mano and metate parts that had been mortared in place and disguised to hide their presence. Behind the opening is a chamber that is 3 feet 9 inches deep, 2 feet, 1 inch wide, and 2 feet, 10 inches high. It was discovered when a long stick was used to probe into an ominous-looking 11/2- inch hole. A careful screening of the chamber dirt revealed a few peach seeds, yucca and squash seeds (two types), and five burned corn cobs. Because only food remnants were recovered from the chamber; we can only wonder why so much effort was made to disguise it.

Found in The Secrets of San Lazaro Pueblo, Plate 126.


Why there are two hearths side by side in this room is a mystery to us. Each of them contained a layer of ashes and, although the bottom dirt has been discolored by fires, the outlining stones do not appear to have been burned, nor is there much evidence of smoke on the walls. Perhaps they were originally mealing or storage bins that later were converted to hearths.

Found in The Secrets of San Lazaro Pueblo, Plate 39.

Having Trouble?