Many of the pueblos, now in ruins, were at the time of Coronado's expedition to New Mexico, in 1541-1542, at the height of their vitality, and a study of a number of these go to show that in their arrangement they were built upon some definite plan. Their ground plans point to the fact that they were laid out upon the quadrate of a circle in some instances, while in others the three sides of a parallelogram were chosen, or roughly the arc of a subellipse, the major axis joining the extremities, and represented by a double tier of houses. In other cases the entire ellipse can be traced from the ruins, but houses were not erected on the lines of its axes, as was the plan in Pueblo Peñasca Blanca. Most of these and the more elaborate ones are found upon the Rio San Juan and its tributaries; others are seen upon the Rio Animas, in the canon of the Rio de Chelly, in the Ute Mountains, and elsewhere.
Of the pueblos yet inhabited the best examples are seen in the Moqui group, in Zuñi, Acoma, Santo Domingo, and Laguna. Apart from the demoralizing influences of the Roman Catholics upon some of them, and the changes brought about by our civilization, these pueblos may be taken as fair examples, though by no means of the highest type, of what existed in the country at the time of the discovery. All these tribes have been termed the sedentary Indians, and they enjoy a sort of crude civilization of their own: engage in agriculture, make pottery, weave blankets and many garments of wool, and have many other simple arts and industries. They are the descendants of the inhabitants of the ancient pueblos discovered by Coronado, and in many instances are occupying, in the present villages, houses which certainly are as old as his time. Their government, religious rites and ceremonies, their dances and customs, habits and dress, and domestic life are all full of the greatest interest, but can not properly be treated in the present contribution.
My view in Fig. 2 of some of the houses in the pueblos of Acoma, New Mexico, shows very well their structure and arrangement. It will be seen that they are built in three tiers or terraces, one on top of another. The material used is adobe cobblestone flakes gathered from the country about, and laid in adobe or mud-mortar. The roofs are made of cedar rafters, hewn and brought in by the men, who also fetch in most of the stone material. Plastering, however, is done by the women, who puddle the mud and lay it on with their hands. While thus engaged, its consistency is regulated by their squirting water upon it, which they take into their mouths for the purpose. It will be observed that the lower stories of houses have few or no entrances, and this is undoubtedly for the purpose of defense. Their roofs form the terrace to the second tier, which is reached by the means of ladders.