|Coronado's March into New Mexico|
In 1540, General Francisco Vazquez de Coronado and his army of more than 1000 Spaniards and Mexican Indians established winter quarters among the Tiwa pueblos in what is now the Albuquerque area. Physical evidence of Coronado's expedition to New Mexico has been difficult to find. However, in 1986, construction along NM 528 near one of these pueblos exposed traces of a possible Coronado encampment buried beneath more than 20 inches of windblown sand. The chance discovery of the camp provides a unique link between Pueblo and Spanish history. Portions of the site have been preserved by the Department of Transportation for further investigation.
Excavation revealed the remains of 15 shallow dugout basins that may have been tent bases. Archaeologists' interpretation of this site as a possible Coronado period camp hinges on the clustering of radio-carbon dates around AD 1527 and the presence of a few "exotic" artifacts such as metal nails, clothing attachments, a piece of armor, sheep bone, and obsidian from the area around Mexico City.
A map and photo of one of the shallow basins, or "dugouts," excavated at the possible Spanish Entrada site. Click to learn more.