Generations of Kuauans began building their multi-storied village of adobe (mud and straw mixture) in the early 1300s. By the 1500s, 1200 rooms were connected together to form a pueblo, the Spanish word for town.
Survival depended on an abundance of natural resources and the coordinated efforts of all members of the pueblo. Wild animals flourished on the plains, and roamed the Sandia and Jemez Mountains. Adults and children joined in communal hunts. Animals provided food, clothing, blankets, and ceremonial objects; no body parts were wasted.
Fathers and uncles taught boys how to hunt, trap, and make tools. Pueblo women and girls gathered wild plants for food and medicine, hauled water, prepared meals, and probably tended to the domestic turkeys that were kept in pens on the plazas. The Rio Grande provided life - essential water for drinking, cooking, bathing, farming, and fishing. Catfish, chub and buffalofish swam there. Corn, beans, squash, and cotton were planted, weeded, harvested, and dried for preservation. Whether Kuauan farmers ditch-irrigated their fields with water from the river, as did other Rio Grande pueblos, has not been determined.
Kuaua was one of about a dozen Tiwa-speaking villages within the province of Tiguex (Tee-wesh), a 30-mile-long corridor flanking the Rio Grande. Long before contact with the first Spanish explorers, Kuaua held a strategic position at the crossroads of two major pre-European trade routes. Access to natural resources, proximity to and social ties with other pueblos, and location in a river valley bordered by mountains, placed Kuaua in an enviable zone for commerce. Trade routes brought seashells from the Pacific coast and the Gulf of Mexico, macaw feathers from Mexico, and pottery from Hopi. Trails extending as far east as Kansas and Oklahoma on the Great plains funneled freshwater shells, flint and bison products through Pecos Pueblo. Pueblos along the Rio Grande, using lead mined inthe Cerillos Hills to make glazes for pottery, traded vessels with each other, as well as with distant partners.
Pictures are from the Museum at Coronado State Monument and are recovered and preserved mural paintings from inside the Great Kiva at Kuaua
Continuation of the pueblo also depended upon the villagers' success in pleasing their spiritual benefactors. Kachina dancers, representing spirit messengers to supernatural beings, performed ritual ceremonies in a regular, seasonal sequence, thereby ensuring sufficient rain, successful hunting, and fertility of crops. Sacred and social activities took place in kivas (underground rooms that symbolized the people's place of origin in the underworld). The fact that rectilinear kivas, in addition to the round-shaped kivas traditionally constructed by the ancestral pueblo culture, were built in Kuaua's plazas may indicate that Pueblo people of the Mogollon culture from the southern part of New Mexico or eastern Arizona introduced new ideas to the Rio Grande valley. Kivas were central to ceremonies and communal processional dances in the plazas.
|Text and Pueblo Drawing from Coronado State Monument publication - Museum of New Mexico's Office of Cultural Affairs.|