Since 1973 Southern Methodist University (SMU), has supported an educational center just six miles south of Taos off the High Road. Nestled in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains surrounded by the pines of Carson National Forest, SMU offers credit classes during the summer and winter breaks, as well as, hosting trainings and other educational retreats by professional, corporate and non-profit groups.
Surprised that it is there and wonder why? The Friends of Coronado offers the answer to these questions in a very special visit on September 9, 2017. Two unique archeological sites are managed by SMU and give the visitor glimpses into pre-contact ancestral Puebloan culture and the 1850’s military attempt to protect the citizens of Taos and the surrounding area from “hostile” natives.
The two sites are located with a mile of each other just north of the SMU-IN-TAOS campus:
POT CREEK PUEBLO – The largest prehistoric adobe pueblo north of Santa Fe, it was home to several hundred ancestral Puebloans approximately 700 years ago. Consisting of at least nine earthen mounds surrounding at least one large plaza with a great kiva, at the height of its occupation (1260-1320) Pot Creek Pueblo would have looked somewhat like Taos Pueblo does today with multi-storied room blocks and an estimated 400 ground-floor rooms.
Excavations below the adobe walls revealed remains of pit houses occupied between 1100 and 1200. Abandoned around 1320 it is believed the inhabitants moved to settlements near present day Taos and Picuris.
CANTONMENT (Fort) BURGWIN – Established in 1852 and named for Captain John Burgwin who died in the 1847 Taos Revolt it is located at the confluence of Pot Creek and the Little Rio Grande, a suitable distance from the town center.
During its 8 years soldiers dealt with the Utes and Jicarilla Apaches enlisting the help of Ute and Apache agent Kit Carson. By 1860 there was little need for the fort and soldiers were relocated to either Fort Union or Fort Garland.
The history and importance of both sites will be explained by Dr. Michael Adler, SMU associate professor of anthropology, in a lecture setting and in tours of both sites. Dr. Adler is well-respected in the Southwest for his research on village formation and landscape use in the region. (Mike is an engaging speaker and will respond to every question thoughtfully and thoroughly. This will be great fun and very informative.)
September 9 Visit:
10:30 Arrive SMU-IN-TAOS and lecture by Dr. Adler in the Dining Hall
12:00 Lunch prepared by the SMU chef
1:00 Tour the re-created Fort (Cantonment) Burgwin site and Pot Creek Site
4:00 Depart for home
Drive time each way is about 2 ½ hours.
What’s included: Lecture and tour of Fort Burgwin and Pot Creek Sites, Buffet Lunch $40 per person.
Sign Up For This Trip Starting July 9: Email firstname.lastname@example.org and reference this trip name, date and number in your party. Promptly make your $40.00 per person check payable to Friends of Coronado Historic Site and mail to 42 Second Mesa Dr., Placitas, NM 87043. Your reservation is complete when we receive your check and we will confirm by email. You may cancel your reservation prior to August 9 and receive a refund less $10.00 per person. Cancellations after August 9 are non-refundable but you may transfer your reservation to another person or couple. You must let us know who will be going in your place.