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Wahajhamka ruins

Wahajhamka was actually one of the first ruins I wanted to visit this season, but we were skunked by a locked gate. Not so this time, and it seemed a good idea to get in before the snow returns.

Wahajhamka means “Place of the squash moiety” (A moiety being one of two divisions a society is divided into). It’s a rather pretty, sprawling site, located around 7,500 feet. While surrounded by pines, the site itself is fairly open. The room mounds have only a very low ground cover on them, unlike the cactus and brush found at other Jemez ruin sites.

It was only first recorded in 1980 by Michael Elliot, and probably gets only an occasional visit by hunters. There wasn’t much in the way of standing or exposed walls, other than those areas dug up by pot hunters.

The site is estimated to consist of about 750 rooms. It has a number of plazas, two plaza kivas and one large or Great kiva depression. The occupation period is estimated to be between 1350 to 1500 AD, based upon ceramic analysis. No tree ring dating has been done, nor any excavation other than minor testing.

On the hike in to Wahajhamka, Jeri and I stumbled across what appeared to be an isolated field house. In the Santa Fe National Forest, they usually manifest themselves as anomalous mounds of rock, surrounded by pottery sherds. For some reason they almost always have a tree (or several) growing out of them. This particular field house had no forest service markings or tagging to indicate it had been recorded, so perhaps it hadn’t.

Jeri on top of what looks like a field house. A rock pile in the middle of nowhere, with trees growing out of it, surrounded by pottery sherds is usually a field house.

Wahajhamka Ruins (Adapted from “Overview and Synthesis of the Archeology of the Jemez Province”, New Mexico, by M. Elliot, 1986

Jeri in the main plaza of Wahajhamka. Why is she happy? There’s more hiking to do.

The typical open roomblock mounds of Wahajhamka. Very smooth with not much vegetation growing on them.

The latest addition to “Kivas I have hung out in.” This time Wahajhamka’s Great (or at least really good) Kiva.

Jeri in one of Wahajhamka’s pothunted rooms.

Another pothunted room.

More pothunting appears to have happened.