Use the links to watch each recorded lecture online.

The Excavation of Kuaua Pueblo and the Creation of Coronado State Monument


Sunday, February 21, Zoom,

Presented by Gail Stephens 

When Dr. Edgar Hewett, the famed Southwest archaeologist,

unearthed the kiva paintings at Kuaua Pueblo in the 1930’s he

exclaimed that they were the “most important find of archaeological

and historical character ever made in the Rio Grande Valley.”

Almost 90 years later, Gail Stephens, an award-winning author, has

researched Hewett’s excavation and how it led to the creation of the

Coronado State Monument. At her presentation, Stevens will discuss

the excavations, the recovery of the murals, the establishment of the

monument and its relation to the Coronado Cuarto Centennial

celebration.  And, of course, she’ll highlight the cast of characters involved in these efforts.


When Stephens retired in 1994 from the Department of Defense, she put her interest in Civil War history to good use as a docent at the Monocacy National Battlefield. In 2011 Stephens won the William Henry Seward award for best Civil War biography, Shadow of Shiloh; Major General Lew Wallace in the Civil War. Before moving to Albuquerque in 2016 where she channeled her interest in history by volunteering at the Coronado Historic Site, she gave lectures and taught college courses on the Civil War in Maryland.

>Use this link to watch the programThe Excavation of Kuaua Pueblo



“Ask an Archaeologist",  September 24, 2020 

The Murals of Kuaua in Their Historical Context

By Helen Crotty, PhD


Six kivas of various shapes and sizes and three large rooms with kiva features were occupied during the long life of Kuaua, estimated to have lasted from 1300 to about 1700, but mural paintings were found in only two of them, both relatively small and rectangular and in use during the late stages of the pueblo’s occupation.  Because it was possible to remove the painted walls from the excavated site and to separate the layers in the laboratory for preservation, several of the actual paintings can still be viewed in the Visitors Center at Coronado State Monument.  The problematic dating of the Kuaua murals will be discussed, and the entire cycle of the Kuaua paintings will be illustrated and compared with earlier and contemporaneous mural art from Awat’tovi in the Hopi area, Pottery Mound near Las Lunas, and Las Humanas Pueblo at Gran Quivira and some lesser-known sites.  Kuaua’s murals have stylistic similarities to the paintings from the other sites, but their imagery is distinctive and far more overtly concerned with prayers for water than are those found elsewhere. 


Helen Crotty has been studying Ancestral Pueblo imagery in rock art and kiva murals since the 1970s.  After receiving her BA. and MA degrees in Art History at UCLA, she switched her major from in Modern to Native American Art for the PhD and moved to New Mexico in 1982 to complete work on her dissertation, writing on mural art of the Pueblo IV period, AD 1300 to 1600.  Her research investigated the stylistic and chronological relationships of the paintings at the various sites of that era in Arizona and New Mexico where murals have been recovered—Kuaua, of course, being one of the most important of them.  She has taught as a visiting lecturer at UNM and Colorado College and has published numerous papers on her favorite topics of rock art or kiva murals.  She has contributed chapters on the murals of Pottery Mound in New Perspectives on Pottery Mound, edited by Polly Schaafsma (2007), on warfare imagery in rock art and kiva murals in Deadly Landscapes edited by Glenn E. Rice and Steven A. LeBlanc (2001), and on the murals of Picuris in Picuris Pueblo through Time, edited by Michael A. Adler and Herbert W. Dick (1999). She is still researching the murals of Pottery Mound in the archives at UNM’s Maxwell Museum and currently serves as newsletter editor for the Albuquerque Archaeological Society and the Archaeological Society of New Mexico.


“Ask an Archaeologist” – with Hayward Franklin, PH.D.


This Ask an Archaeologist program was held on July 16 with Hayward Franklin, (PH.D. from University of Arizona) a specialist in Southwestern ceramics who has worked on archaeological projects in Southern Arizona, Salmon Ruin, in the Chaco region, Pottery Mound  and in the Albuquerque area.  As a Research Associate at the Maxwell Museum Franklin has worked closely with David Phillips in his continuing research.  Since February, 2017 he has lead the Pottery Analysis Project at Coronado Historic Site for the Kuaua Pueblo, overseeing a group of about a dozen “pottery researchers” cataloging pottery sherds.

Hayward describes this talk as: “a discussion of the 2017 data recovery project at Kuaua,  and the ceramic sherds recovered during the testing.  Quick processing by the field and lab crews allowed the pottery analysis group to begin working on the ceramics in a short period of time.  (And thanks to everyone in the field, lab, and pottery analysis for a great job! Also to Matt, Ethan and Annie for making this research possible).

Our results of counting over 2000 sherds include frequencies by Southwestern pottery type, by vessel form and vessel part.  As the most modern and largest ceramic identification in recent times, these results yielded some reliable sample statistics from around the site.  Two major conclusions are:

1)  Based on ceramic known dates for the Rio Grande Glazeware types, Kuaua used and produced quantities of glazed pottery continuously from about AD 1325 to as late as the Revolt of 1680. 

2)  The sequence of plaza occupation went from South Plaza to North Plaza to East Plaza in terms of dated ceramics, confirming that order based on the few tree-ring dates."


You may watch and listen to this in-depth conversation about the research and discoveries that have come from the Kuaua site and its volunteers since 2017 by clicking the following link.  - Hayward Franklin, PH.D.  


“Ask an Archaeologist” – with Marlon Magdalena


Jemez Historic Site Education Specialist, Marlon Magdalena discusses his experiences working with archaeologists at Jemez Historic Site.

You may watch and listen to this conversation by clicking the following link:  Marlon Magdalena