11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Manuelito Archaeological Complex

Year Listed: 1994
Location: New Mexico
Threat: Natural Forces, Deterioration


In the vicinity of Gallup, NM, the Manuelito complex of underground remains and above-ground ruins has seen successive occupation by not only the Anasazi, but by the Zuni and Navajo peoples from A.D. 700 to modern times. Anasazi, a Navajo word meaning "ancient ones," are the ancestors of the present-day Pueblo people; no one knows exactly why their civilization collapsed in the 14th century. But by the 1990s, erosion had already damaged or destroyed many of the Manuelito sites, and others were threatened. A single flash flood could have demolished the Big House, the most prominent structural feature remaining. Patrols by Navajo rangers and the presence of the nearby Navajo community saved the complex from looting but effective protection from the elements was hampered by a lack of resources and a confusing patchwork from the federal, state, tribal and private ownership.