Raven Site

Who Lived at Raven Site
By Mark Harris
  |  Gorp.com

The name Raven Site Ruins came from the abundance of bird iconography discovered painted on the ceramics from the site. And from an old raven who would often sit in a tree and oversee the work during the early excavations. Raven Site Ruins contain over 800 rooms, dating from at least A.D. 800. The site was never totally abandoned until well into the 15th century. For hundreds of years Raven Site was a thriving southwest community of several hundred people. The pueblo was totally abandoned sometime after 1550 by the prehistoric inhabitants, and the room blocks and Kivas silently fell into ruin over the next several centuries.

In 1680 the Indians of Zuni Pueblo, rose in revolt against the Spanish and drove them from the area. Zuni Pueblo, where this history occurred, is less than one hundred miles north of Raven Site Ruins, and the principle route to Zuni Pueblo from the south passes within fifty meters of the site. The Spanish made repeated attempts to gain back their province. In 1692, Santa Fe Pueblo and several others were re-conquered by the Spanish, but much hard fighting followed. By 1695 peace was restored briefly, followed by another rebellion the following year. In the years that followed, the Spanish governed the area of Raven Site Ruins and introduced sheep into the region. These sheepherders built homesteads of local rock and timbers. Just a few meters south of Raven Site Ruins there can be seen one of these Spanish sheepherder homesteads. This small stone building is constructed from rock that was removed from Raven Site Ruins.

In 1860 the valley where Raven Site Ruins is located was homesteaded by the early Mormon settlers. The Sherwood family arrived in 1880 and re-developed the springs and irrigation systems that had been used by the prehistoric peoples of the site. The Sherwoods ranched in the valley, now called"Richiville" and they still raise cattle in the area to this day.


Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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