Thirteenth-century migrations of Anasazi/Ancestral Puebloan people from the Four Corners region had a major impact on the existing
population of the Rio Grande region.
Many locals left their homes to establish new communities up the Chama River Valley.
Poshuouinge (poshu means "muddy river" and ouinge is the Tewa term for village), which sits on a terrace overlooking the Chama, is a good
Other sites such as Tsama, Sapawe, Tse Ping, and Posi, are much less accessible.
Poshuouinge was founded around 1400 AD and within two generations had become a thriving community. Its residents found many advantages to living in this valley: plenty of water from the Chama and its tributary streams, arable land along the river and on its terraces, and excellent foraging and hunting in the nearby uplands. The valley also was a travel and trade corridor between the southern Rockies and the Rio Grande.
Poshuouinge, like scores of other villages in the area, survived until 1500 or so, when its inhabitants began moving to the valley of the Rio Grande. It is doubtful that any of the Chama communities were still inhabited when Coronado's expedition explored this region in 1540-1541.
In 1919, the archaeologist J.A. Jeancon dug 137 rooms and produced a report that consists mainly of an inventory of artifacts that he unearthed. It lists many stone tools, such as polishing stones for floors, andirons, mortars, and arrow shaft polishers. Bone implements included awls, tanning tools, breastplates, turkey calls, flutes, spautlas, and knives.
Jeancon and his crew uncovered ceramic pipes, dishes and vessels (the remains of which can still be seen on site...see smaller picture on the right), gaming pieces, spindle whorls, and pot lids. Among ceremonial items found were fetishes, ceramic cloud blowers, and lightning stones, the last being small, smooth, white quartizite pebbles that produce a faint flickering light resembling distant lightning when rubbed briskly together in the dark.
Poshuouinge had about seven hundred ground-floor rooms surrounding two large plazas, in one of which the remains of a large kiva is visible (see picture left). The pueblo was mostly one- and two-storied, possibly with one three-storied section. Its walls were built of adobe mud mixed with river cobbles. After the site was abandoned and rains eroded the mud mortar, the walls melted to low mounds capped by scatters of stones.
Text from Ancient Ruins of the Southwest - Noble, 2000