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 Pueblo people 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, PhD, 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 passing of Cynthia Irwin-Williams in 1990.Arrange your visit to Salmon Ruins and discover more family-friendly attractions in Farmington using our Farmington itinerary builder.
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Place gets little funding so is becoming run down. The first part of the trail was weedy and seedy looking. A lot of the various tribes living in the area are represented by their types of housing. So... more »
This place is in need of a little updating as many of the sign are weathered and in need of replacing. On the plus side, the small museum gives you an interesting view of how the cliff dwellers and ot... more »
So glad we stopped here. The museum is excellent and informative and we were permitted to walk around the ruins with a guide book. We had been to Mesa Verde and Chaco Canyon on this trip. This museum ... more »
Lovely museum, with artifacts, photos, and interesting displays. The grounds have both 19th century Salmon homestead, but the well-maintained ancient Puebloan ruins. Nice staff and gift shop. Well worth the visit and entrance fee.
Nice people. Very clean. A lot of Coulter.
Needs some updating. Interesting museum and heritage center.
Unlike some of the other ancestral puebloan site in the four corners, this is a locally-managed and actively studied archaeology site. Stop by the gift shop before leaving.
I drove by this place for 25+ years during my career in NM and never stopped. I'm retired now and was traveling with my wife to Farmington for a meeting her organization is having there. I tried to talk her out of stopping, but thinking of the times I didn't stop, I stopped. I'm glad I did. I've read some of the other reviews and I agree. Some of the exhibits are a little tired, and I was also after 3 1/2 hours walking, but it was fun. I would say to the older crowd, drive down to the parking lot below after viewing the exhibits close to the road as the switch backs from the road can be difficult. Also, best to be enjoyed in 65 to 75 degree weather.
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