Campbell Ranch History

Here’s Some Information on the Prehistory of the Area

Tiime Period Dates Examples of Foods Eaten On the Ranch?
Classic Pueblo CE 1325-1598 Corn, Beans, Squash, Turkey, Some Wild Plants Yes
Coalition (Publeo III)


Corn, Beans, Squash, Turkey, Some Wild Plants Yes
Developmental (Basketmaker III, Pueblo I, II, III) CE 400 – 1200 Corn, Beans, Squash, Turkey, Deer, Rabbit, Wild Plants Yes
Archaic 5500 BCE- 400 CE Wild plants, deer, Rabbits; Some corn, Beans, Squash in Late Archaic Yes
Paleoindian 12500 BCE - 5500 BCE Bison, Elk, Mammoth, Small Game Birds, Wild Plants NO

Fun Facts

  • Because only a few archaeological sites have been excavated in the area, each new site offers important information.
  • The earliest sites excavated in the area (in Tijeras Canyon) were small, above-ground rectangular rooms made of jacal (small interwoven wood poles, with spaces filled in with mud, clay, and grasses). They date to ca. CE 1200.
  • During the Classic Period (CE 1325-1700), up to thousands of people lived together in large, plaster-covered stone structures (pueblos) containing tens or hundreds of rooms.
  • Paa-ko Pueblo, located north of this part of Campbell Ranch, is an example of a very large pueblo, with around 1500 rooms. It was built just before the Classic Period and was occupied mostly during the CE 1300s and 1400s.
  • Thirty prehistoric archaeological sites have been found in this part of Campbell Ranch!  All of them are much smaller than Paa-ko. Some, like the ones you’ll see on the site visit, contain cooking, roasting, and storage pits, as well as rooms made of stacked rocks. Others are very small sites consisting of a single stone windbreak, a small campsite, or a place where someone dropped something.

Can You Spot......

  • Any dark stains (ash and charcoal) on the ground?
  • Any dark stains (ash and charcoal) on the ground?
  • Any pieces of fine-grained rock that look out of place?
  • Any stacked rock walls?

Here’s Some Information on the History of the Area 

Archeological Periods in Central New Mexico
Time Period Dates Examples of Foods Eaten On the Ranch?
post-Pueblo Revolt CE 1694 - Present Corn, Beans, Squash, Turkeys, Goats, Some Wheat Yes
Mission/Pueblo Revolt CE 1598 - 1694 Corn, Beans, Squash, Trukeys, Rabbits, Birds, Other small Game, Wild Greens Yes

Fun Facts

  • After being abandoned, Paa-ko Pueblo was re-occupied from the mid-1500s to early 1600s, after the Spanish came to New Mexico. At the end, they penned their animals in the pueblo’s plaza and smelted copper just outside it1! San Antonio Pueblo (near Tijeras and I-40) also was occupied by Native Americans and Spanish during that time.
  • Spanish people also lived in the village of San Miguel de Carnue (in Tijeras Canyon) from 1760 to 1830.
  • In the late 1800s and early 1900s, people built railroads in the area to transport coal, gold, and copper that were mined from the hills further north. A portion of the now abandoned Rio Grande Eastern Railroad bed (built in 1924) can still be seen on Campbell Ranch. There is also an old stagecoach road.
  • General Thomas and Bess Campbell from the Santa Fe Gold and Copper Mining Company bought Campbell Ranch in 1937. In 1948, General Campbell deeded the property to the Campbell Farming Corporation, of which he was the head.
  • General Campbell helped to develop agriculture in Bernalillo County; he developed large-scale, industrialized agricultural practices and methods and invented several pieces of agricultural equipment.
  • For the last 70 years, Campbell Ranch has been used for ranching, as well as for farming crops such as wheat, tame (cultivated) grass, carrots, beans, corn, and alfalfa.
  • Fifteen historic archaeological sites have been recorded so far in this part of Campbell Ranch, but there are probably many more unrecorded ones. Many consist of garbage dumps containing old cans, window and bottle glass, and broken dishes. Archaeologists have even found porcelain doorknobs and leather shoe parts! Many other sites consist of axe-cut juniper stumps, which provide evidence that people collected firewood and cleared the land for planting.

 Here’s Some Information on the Natural Resources of the Area

Birds, Mammals, Reptiles, and Invertebrates Observed
Bird Common Name Habitat
Bullock's oriole PJ
Curve-billed thrasher, Say's phoebe JW/S
American kestrel, Barn swallow, Black phoebe, Brewer’s sparrow, Cooper's hawk, Dark-eyed junco, Downy woodpecker, Killdeer, Mallard, Red-naped sapsucker, Red-tailed hawk, Song sparrow, Turkey vulture, Western kingbird, White-throated swift, White-winged dove O
Juniper titmouse, Western scrub jay PJ, JW/S
Ash-throated flycatcher, Audubon's warbler, Black-chinned hummingbird, Mountain chickadee, Piñon jay, Plumbeous vireo PJ, O
American crow, Bushtit, Cassin's kingbird, Chipping sparrow, Common raven, House finch, Lark sparrow, Lesser goldfinch, Mountain bluebird, Mourning dove, Western bluebird PJ, JW/S, O
Greater roadrunner, Bewick's wren, Canyon towhee, Ladder-backed woodpecker, Northern mockingbird JW/S, O
Mammal Common Name Habitat
Botta's pocket gopher , Raccoon, Tassel-eared squirrel O
Black bear, Rock squirrel PJ, O
Collared peccary, Cottontail, Coyote, Gray Fox, Mule deer, Pocket gopher, Ringtail, Skunk PJ, JW/S, O
Badger, Black-tailed jackrabbit, Bobcat JW/S, O
Reptiles and Amphibians Habitat
Collared lizard PJ, JW/S
Invertebrate Common Name Habitat
Mourningcloak O
Tiger swallowtai PJ, JW/S, O
  • PJ = piñon-juniper; JW/S = juniper woodland/savannah; O = other (small pockets of habitat that are atypical or disturbed)
Plants, Shrubs, and Trees Observed
Plant Common Name Used Historically or Prehistorically

Bindweed, Buffalo gourd, Cattail, English plantain, Germander, Indian paintbrush, James penstemon, La Jolla prairie clover, Mullein, Musk thistle, Plank's campion, Red-stemmed filaree, Sandia alumroot,

Santa Fe milkvetch, Sapello Canyon larkspur, Scarlet globemallow, Silverleaf nightshade, Six-weeks grama, Slender wheatgrass, Spurred lupine, Squirreltail, Three awn, Three-seed phlox, Wire lettuce, Wrinkled globemallow, Yellow sweetclover
buffalo gourd, cattail, plantain, paintbrush, penstemon, mullein, thistle, campion, filaree, alumroot, milkvetch, larkspur, globemallow, nightshade, grama,  lupine, phlox, wire lettuce
Cactus Common Name  
Claret cup cactus, Dagger cholla, Pincushion cactus, Plains prickly pear, Soapweed yucca, Spanish bayonet, Tree cholla claret cup cactus, cholla, prickly pear, yucca
Shrub Common Name  
Barberry, Broom snakeweed, Four-wing saltbush, Pale wolfberry, Russian olive, Sand sage, Southwestern rabbitbrush, Three-leaf sumac, Wax currant snakeweed, saltbush, wolfberry, sage, rabbitbrush, sumac, currant
Tree Common Name  
Alder, Cottonwood, Gambel oak, Live shrub oak, One-seed juniper, Piñon pine, Ponderosa pine, Salt cedar, Siberian elm, Tree of heaven, Willow cottonwood, oak, juniper, piñon, ponderosa , willow

Fun Facts

  • This portion of Campbell Ranch spans elevations of 6,500 feet to 6,700 feet.
  • Vegetation on Campbell Ranch includes both (1) piñon-juniper woodland, and (2) juniper woodland and savannah
  • A savannah is an ecozone in which widely spaced trees grow in the midst of large grassy areas. Africa also has savannahs, where millions of wild animals live–many more than are on Campbell Ranch!
  • San Pedro Creek, located on the east side of Village 2 West, is fed by some natural springs and provides vital seasonal water for animals, plants, and people today, just as it did in prehistory. Rainfall amounts during prehistoric Pueblo times were similar to today’s, although they varied over time.
  • Many different kinds of animals live on Campbell Ranch, including hawks, lizards, coyotes, and black bears.
  • Red-tailed hawks can have wingspans of nearly 5 feet. They live all across North America, from Alaska to Florida (and further south).
  • Collared lizards can run up to 3.5 meters per second, or 7.8 mph. Could you outrun one?  (Most likely!)
  • Coyotes eat mostly mice, rabbits, ground squirrels, other small rodents, insects, reptiles, and the fruits and berries of wild plants.
  • Adult black bears are usually 4 feet to 6 feet long. When they are at their heaviest, adult male black bears often weigh up to 500 pounds. However, the heaviest one recorded weighed 800 pounds!
  • Today two bands of wild horses, descended from Spanish mustangs, also live on Campbell Ranch. They’re very curious, and are seen often in the southern part of the ranch! Some people call the lead stallion, who is gray to black in color, “Sombrillo.”
  • Prehistoric and more modern people have used many of the trees, shrubs, and grasses that grow in the woodland and savannah as sources of food, as well as building materials and medicine.
  • Some examples of edible wild plants found on Campbell Ranch are piñon nuts, juniper berries, wolfberry, three-leaf sumac, prickly pear, plantain, and mullein.
  • Prehistoric people made rope and sandals out of yucca fibers.
  • Prehistoric people living at Paa-ko and nearby sites also grew domesticated plants, including corn, beans, and squash.
  • When the Spanish came to the Campbell Ranch area, they brought domesticated sheep and cattle for food, as well.