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Archaeologists unearth paved Santa Fe road dating to 1600s

October 20, 2011 |  2:12 pm

Santa fe new mexico
Archaeologists digging near the central plaza in Santa Fe, N.M., recently found what may be the city’s first paved road, a gravelly patch that probably dates to the 1600s.

We can probably assume it’s also the site of Santa Fe’s first pothole.

Archaeologists discovered the bumpy surface, which runs north-south, about four feet underground near the city’s main hub of shops and restaurants, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.

“It just looks like somebody brought in a couple of loads of gravel and dumped them on the road to create a nice solid surface,” archaeologist Jim Moore told the paper.

The road, which parallels modern-day Otero Street, may have been a pathway to the city’s first “parroquia,” or parish church, when Santa Fe was still a Spanish enclave. Now the capital of New Mexico, the city markets its rich history much the way Las Vegas does its casinos.

During their excavations, archaeologists also found a garbage pit with shards of pottery and bone, as well as a particularly intriguing piece of Chinese porcelain. Archaeologists said the porcelain may have been created a century before Santa Fe was founded, even traveling to the Philippines and Mexico before ending up in the city.


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Photo: Shoppers crowd the plaza in Santa Fe, N.M., during the city's annual Indian Market. A road dating to the 1600s was recently discovered nearby. Credit: Rosemary McClure / Los Angeles Times