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Village of the Great Kivas at the Zuni Pueblo

Alternate Plans: Back on the Four Corners Circuit
Friday, May 27, 2022

After leaving Lyman Lake State Park we drove through St. Johns as we headed further north and east until we entered New Mexico and the Zuni Pueblo. We stopped at the Zuni Visitor Center and arranged a guided tour to the Village of the Great Kivas, which is considered a Chacoan Outlier that features two Great Kivas and two separate room blocks that housed around 100 inhabitants. This site is also known for its impressive array of petroglyphs and pictographs and is one of the main archeological sites illustrating the development of Zuni culture. Once our guide arrived we hopped into the large white van and he drove us over to the site for our private tour.

Welcome to the Zuni Visitor Center.

Zuni Visitor Center

We started hiking from the locked gate to reach the site.

Zuni Pueblo Archaeological Site

As far as ruins go, there’s not too much to see here aside from some low rubble walls and round depressions in the ground outlining the Great Kivas.

Village of the Great Kivas

After checking out the sites on the ground, we climbed up to the cliffs above for a close look at the rock art found here.

This was the first panel we stopped at which was both interesting and unusual.

First Petroglyph Panel

Under The Star

Two Petroglyphs

This was a nice panel high in the corner of the cliffs with a good pair of spirals.

Corner Petroglyphs

Wavy Lines Zoomorph

Wavy Lines Zoomorph

Horned Lizard

Horned Lizard

Spiral Eyes

Spiral Eyes

Following the path to more rock art along the cliffs.

Rock Art Trail

We then stopped at the largest panel of petroglyphs at the site, which was also very cool.

Big Panel

Left Side


Upper Middle Petroglyphs

This figure kind of reminds me of Grimace.


After hiking around the front of the point we got our first view of The Great Kachina Gallery which were painted by the Zuni in the late Nineteenth to early Twentieth centuries and have been continuously renewed since.

The Great Kachina Gallery

The figure on the left in this photo is Atoshle, a male “scare” kachina, an ogre; and the figure on the right is Kumance, a Comanche

Two On The Left

In this photo the figure on the left is Hehe’a, the Blunderer kachina, a clown; and the one on the right is a Shalako. Shalakos are couriers from the rain gods who visit the village in an important rite held in late November or early December each year. They are large bird-like creatures with clacking bills.

Two Kachinas

In this photo the kachina on the left is Wo’latana, the Bear; and on the right is Wilatsukwe, who is Apache.

Zuni Pictographs

Here’s an overview of the middle of the panel.

The Middle

Further to the right is this deer-like figure.


Around the final corner was one more large, but more faded, pictograph panel. The brightest white figure on the left side of this panel is the mask of Sayatasha, the Long Horn kachina.

Last Pictographs

After visiting all the rock art panels with our guide, we hiked back down from the cliffs and returned to the van. Then is was just a short drive back to the Zuni Visitor Center and we were soon on the road again to El Morro National Monument.

>> Village of the Great Kivas Photo Gallery


  1. LInka Tobola
    LInka Tobola November 26, 2023

    In 1975-76, I lived at Zuni. My partner, at that time was an archeologist for the Zuni. The First Petroglyph Panel…MY FAVORITE. A Dancer and a Lover of
    Movement, I treasure my photo in this panel. THANK YOU…
    Years Ago Brought Alive With Your Photography!

    • Randy Langstraat
      Randy Langstraat November 30, 2023

      Thank you Linka, I’m glad my photos could help bring back some great memories for you!

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