Hilltop Tower Kiva

Posted by on Mar 12, 2014 in Blog | 2 comments

Hilltop Tower Kiva, Picuris Pueblo, New Mexico

Hilltop Tower Kiva, Picuris Pueblo, New Mexico

–  Click on the image to enlarge or purchase  –

Hilltop Tower Kiva, Picuris Pueblo

In the last post we looked at the San Lorenzo de Picuris Mission Church.  Most people, though, visit the Picuris Pueblo to see the rare hilltop tower Kiva.

Picuris is known as the Mountain Pueblo.  The small village is tucked into a beautiful high valley that winds westward out of the sawtoothed Truchas peaks of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains south of Taos, New Mexico.  The Picuris people believe their ancestors first settled in their “hidden valley” as early as 1150.  A second influx occurred around 1250.

Picuris contains some impressive ruins including a rare tower Kiva situated on the hilltop above the village.  It dates back to when the pueblo was a mighty powerhouse in the region.

Hilltop Tower Kiva, Picuris Pueblo, New Mexico

Hilltop Tower Kiva, Picuris Pueblo, New Mexico

 –  Click on the image to enlarge or purchase  –

A Kiva is a square-walled, usually, subterranean room used by the Pueblo Indians for spiritual ceremonies. When designating an ancient room as a Kiva, archaeologists make assumptions about the room’s original functions and how those functions may be similar to or differ from kivas used in modern practice.

The kachina belief system appears to have emerged in the Southwest at approximately 1250, around the same time as the second influx of people came to Picuris, while kiva-like structures occurred much earlier. This suggests that the room’s older functions may have been changed or adapted to suit the new religious practice.  Kivas became more elaborate as cultural changes occurred, presumably as a result of the change in religious beliefs.  Some Kivas were built above ground as towers Kivas like the one at Picuris.

Click here to learn more about the Picuris Pueblo and others in the Rio Grande region of New Mexico

2 Comments

  1. Very interesting reading, enjoyed it, nice work as always
    Michael Criswell recently posted..Golden Hour near Andy Warhol BridgeMy Profile

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