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Howiri, The Site that Fostered a Program

Howiri, in the Rio Ojo Caliente Valley, is one of the largest pueblo ruins in New Mexico. This ancestral Tewa village was inhabited from about A.D. 1450 - 1525. Although impacts from construction inspired the creation of the New Mexico Highway Archaeology Program, systematic excavations at this site had to wait until further improvements to the highway in 1978.

Over the past 50 years, the goals of highway archaeological projects have shifted to more rigorous, scientific objectives. Federal and state laws now protect archaeological sites and set the standards for research along our nation's highways. These laws demand that sites be protected and avoided if possible.

Funding by public sources provides sufficient time and money to recover archaeological information from threatened sites. Investigations are now driven by well-planned, deliberate research questions that use sophisticated forms of scientific analysis such as radiocarbon dating, ethnobotanical studies, and x-ray fluorescence testing to resolve the riddles of the past. Better understanding of how people lived in the past is a direct result of increased public support for this research.

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The cobble foundations of two roomblocks at Howiri are shown after excavation.

Plan map of Howiri, showing roomblock quadrangles, kivas, and plaza areas. Highway US 285 runs from southwest to northeast, passing through several roomblocks. The West Quad lies west-northwest of the highway.