Galesteo Basin Pueblo San Cristobal Ruins

by | Jun 17, 2022 | New Mexico Videos | 0 comments

Pueblo San Cristobal differs from many of the pueblos in the Galisteo Basin in its greater use of stone as a building material. It is also noteworthy for its prolific rock art in the adjacent boulder field and cliffs and for the Spanish convento with church wall standing 4 m high. It is on the banks of the Arroyo San Cristóbal, a permanent water source. Nelson identified seventeen room blocks and estimated 1,645 rooms.

The rock art on the cliffs and in the boulder field north of the pueblo is extraordinary in its variety, abundance, and diversity. This area is often referred to as “world class,” about which there can be little debate. The majority of the panels in this area are Puebloan, but examples from earlier periods—the Archaic—are also present.

In addition rock art, the site has a number of other features. Around 100 m from the northeast corner of the roomblocks there is a wall made of huge sandstone slabs set on edge (DSC 1048). This wall crosses the entire mesa between the large drainage that bounds the north side of the pueblo and Arroyo San Cristóbal. Like the surrounding wall at Pecos Pueblo and perhaps the long east wall at Pueblo She, this wall may have demarcated the area outside of which visiting groups were required to stay. There are small enclosures within the wall, and figures are cut into the exposed bedrock near the south end of the wall.

Southwest of the pueblo there is a large flat area cut by some shallow drainages. One of these was dammed by a sizable construction. This area seems San Cristóbal rock art almost inevitably to have been an important agricultural area for the pueblo. Further south of this area there are a few cultural features, including small artifact areas and cut logs.


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