SANTA CLARA PUEBLO — After every few steps, Joseph Mark Chavarria points out more pottery shards, pieces of obsidian and other artifacts that are laying on the ground while walking around the stunning Puye Cliff Dwellings.

They’re absolutely everywhere — embedded in the dirt road near the visitor center, displayed in clusters atop rocks that sit along the paths that skirt the cliff dwellings and spread all around the remains of the multi-story ancient complex that contained some 140 rooms on the mesa top.

This is true preservation, said Chavarria, operations manager at Puye Cliff Dwellings.


Colorful pottery shards and pieces of obsidian are displayed on a rock along a trail that takes hikers along the cliff dwellings at Puye Cliff Dwellings.


A reconstructed portion of an ancient complex on the mesa top at Puye Cliff Dwellings.


Joseph Mark Chavarria, operations manager at Puye Cliff Dwellings, looks up at the cliffs on Thursday, Dec. 15.


From left, petroglyphs of a deer-like figure, concentric circles and a human figure are visible on the cliff face at Puye Cliff Dwellings in Santa Clara Pueblo.

Matt Dahlseid is a digital enterprise producer and outdoors writer for the Santa Fe New Mexican.

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