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Salmon Ruins, Farmington

#2 of 11 in Things to do in Farmington
Ruin · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
Salmon Ruins is an ancient Chacoan and Pueblo site located in the northwest corner of New Mexico, USA. Salmon was constructed by migrants from Chaco Canyon around 1090 CE, with 275 to 300 original rooms spread across three stories, an elevated tower kiva in its central portion, and a great kiva in its plaza. Subsequent use by local Middle San Juan people (beginning in the 1120s) resulted in extensive modifications to the original building, with the reuse of hundreds of rooms, division of many of the original large, Chacoan rooms into smaller rooms, and emplacement of more than 20 small kivas into pueblo rooms and plaza areas. The site was occupied by ancient Ancestral Puebloans until the 1280s, when much of the site was destroyed by fire and abandoned (Reed 2006b). The pueblo is situated on the north bank of the San Juan River, just to the west of the modern town of Bloomfield, New Mexico, and about 45mi north of Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Canyon. The site was built on the first alluvial terrace above the San Juan River floodplain.
The ruins of Salmon Pueblo were excavated between 1970 and 1979, under the direction of Cynthia Irwin-Williams of Eastern New Mexico University in partnership with the San Juan County Museum Association (Irwin-Williams 2006, p. 17-27). The San Juan Valley Archaeological Program resulted in the excavation of slightly more than one-third of Salmon's ground floor rooms. More than 1.5 million artifacts and samples were recovered from Salmon. In 1980, Irwin-Williams and co-principal investigator Phillip Shelley wrote, compiled and edited a multivolume, 1,500-page report. The document fulfilled the reporting requirements for the series of grants under which the project had been completed but it was not intended for publication. Throughout the 1980s, Irwin-Williams and Shelley worked on a modified and greatly reduced manuscript, with the goal of producing a publishable report. This work ended with the untimely death of Cynthia Irwin-Williams in 1990.
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171 reviews
  • Staff was very informative about local venues and had good stories of her local history. The displays were very good information and the artifacts authentic. Visit the outside area first. Then, come.....  more »
  • If you are going to Choco, then you don’t necessarily need to go to Salmon. But, if you don’t have the time or the vehicle to get to Choco, then Salmon Runs will give you an excellent taste for...  more »
  • Maybe it was just an off day when I went. The cashier was outside on a smoke break, and finished, and brought her kids in before helping us. Nothing was explained, the cashier seemed to be preoccupied with her kids being there. We were given a book and told we can drive or walk down there. It really wasn't a good experience.
  • Great historical site! Lots to learn. 45 mins to walk through the museum, and about 2 hours to go through all of the visitable places in the ruins and other areas. Staff are friendly and helpful.
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