Dark Sky Event: Gran Quivira Saturday October 26 At Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument





(Mountainair, New Mexico, Oct. 22, 2019) – Feed your soul during a starlit night among the ruins at the Gran Quivira Unit of Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument just 26 miles south of Mountainair. This is the final star party at Salinas this calendar year. Enjoy a crisp fall evening and the clear New Mexico sky Saturday, October 26 from 6 to 9 p.m. 

In a state known for dark skies because of less light pollution, Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument stands out as particularly spectacular and, as such, was designated an International Dark Sky Park a few years ago by the International Dark Sky Association. 

“For our last star party of the year we are pleased to welcome members of the Lake County Astronomical Society out of Chicago,” said Norma Pineda, Chief Ranger at Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument. “The society was instrumental in Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument achieving dark sky status.”

Door prizes will be given away at the event.

This family friendly FREE event offers much more than just an evening at the monument at an International Dark Sky Park.  The evening starts around 6 p.m. with ranger-led tour leaving Gran Quivira Visitors Center to tour the site. Participants must wear sturdy shoes, bring their own water, and a good camera, if desired.

After the tour, there will be a talk about the night sky comparing the similarities seen by the ancients to the sky we see.  As the sky darkens, there will be telescopes available for public use to view of night sky.

No registration is required. We hope you will join us for this amazing evening!

Fee: Free

Location: LAT/LONG: 34.450040, -106.374560

Gran Quivira is located 26 miles south of Mountainair, New Mexico on NM Hwy 55 (mile marker 37)  

Event Information Contact: Ray Pilgrim, (505) 847-2770

About Gran Quivira at Salinas Pueblo Mission National Monument:

The Gran Quivira unit of Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument is the largest of the three units at 611 acres. Prior to Spanish contact, Gran Quivira was a vast city with multiple pueblos, and kivas. Mound 7, a 226 room structure from the Pueblo IV period (A.D.1275/1300-1600), is the largest and only fully excavated pueblo at the site. During the excavation, an older Circular Pueblo was discovered under Mound 7. First contact with the Spanish probably happened in 1583 with the arrival of Don Antonio de Espejo who mentions a settlement that sounds very similar to Gran Quivira. The Spanish returned in 1598 with the expedition of Don Juan de Oñate who was the first Spaniard to colonize what would become New Mexico. Oñate visited a pueblo he called Las Humanas which was the southernmost settlements. As part of the mission system, Las Humanas (Gran Quivira) was first placed under the Pecos Mission District. Later, with the arrival of Fray Alonso de Benavides in 1626, Gran Quivira was given more attention and later became a visita (a satellite mission without a resident Father) of Abo in 1629. That same year construction began on the first permanent mission at Gran Quivira. Under the supervision of Fray Francisco Letrado, rooms on the west end of Mound 7 (the Letrado’s Convento) were used by the Spanish for housing and probably an early chapel. Letrado was moved to the Zuni Pueblo in 1631 and Gran Quivira came under the control of Fray Francisco de Acevado at the Abo Mission. Construction on Inglesia de San Isidro was completed in 1635. In 1659 Fray Diego de Santander was permanently assigned to Gran Quivira. Soon after, construction on a new larger church, San Buenaventura, began. By 1672 a combination of disease, drought, famine, and Apache raiding led to the abandonment of Gran Quivira.

For over 100 years Abo was quiet. In 1815 Spanish sheep hearders attempted to return to the area, but were pushed out by Apaches in 1830. Settlers would permanently return in 1865. The remains of these Reoccupation Structures can be seen today south and east of the Abo Mission.

Still photos approved for media use:  https://www.dropbox.com/sh/o88n6s4jzwvd91u/AAC8dNiUEaNMgzvP-HIeGPCja?dl=0

All Photos: Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument Gran Quivira images:  Credit: Richard Estrada, Edgewood Picture Company

Media Resources: Audio and video resources approved for media use: https://youtu.be/tswb4pj_RnY      B-roll of Gran Quivira (2:24), interview (4:42) with Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument Superintendent Tom Betts about the Lake County Astronomical Society.