The Tijeras Pueblo site had two main occupations. Tree-ring date research places the dates of overall occupation of the site from 1313 to approximately 1425 AD. There is speculation that these peoples were part of the general migration from the "four corners" area (New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado), but there is no evidence to solidly identify any exact previous location.
The pueblo was initially built up in the first part of the 14th century to include a main structure consisting of 200 rooms, arranged in somewhat of a U-shape. A large ceremonial kiva constructed in the center of the pueblo area may indicate that it could have been important in the lives of members of nearby communities. Archaeological evidence indicates that Tijeras Pueblo was at least partially abandoned in the 14th century. It appears that around 1360, perhaps up to half of the occupants left.
Many adobe walls from the first occupation, in a state of neglect, succumbed to weathering and dissolved into the earth. But around 1390, building up of the pueblo began again. This occupation, however, was on a smaller scale than the original. The inhabitants continued to live there until about 1425, at which time the Pueblo was effectively abandoned. The reasons the population left the site may relate to drought and related land use issues, but this is not proven fact and other factors may have possibly been in play.
Tijeras Pueblo - First Occupation 1313 - 1369
Second Occupation 1390 - 1425
Artist's drawings of pueblo life during the second occupation
The two drawings above are representative of the arrangement of rooms blocks at Tijeras Pueblo during both the first and second occupations.
The artist's rendering (left ) of the Tijeras Pueblo during the second occupation serves to illustrate what the Pueblo and daily life in it may have looked like. Click on the image to enlarge it.
There were, of course other outlying structures, including the large kiva mentioned above. The photo on the left below is a model of a large kiva at Pot Creek near Taos, New Mexico and gives us an idea of what the kiva at Tijeras Pueblo may have looked like. Interestingly, ground penetrating radar was used at the Tijeras Pueblo site to help determine it's size and exact location.
The photo on the right below is an outdoor work station at the Pueblo site, where members of the pre-historic community sat to tend to their 'grinding' chores.