Forrest Digs San Lazaro….


The Galisteo Basin south of Santa Fe is celebrated for its diverse ecosystem as well as for its cultural assets.

It has been written that Paleo Indians first arrived in this area around 7,500BC and about 6,800 years later the Tano Indians moved in and began building a large pueblo community that had nearly 2,000 rooms.

Today, the abandoned, prehistoric pueblo of San Lazaro occupies about 160 acres of land that Forrest bought in the mid 1980’s. The property is both a retreat and an active archeological site where he has reflected, learned, investigated and worked to preserve and share the Tano legacy culture that disappeared over 300 years ago.

The hilly countryside  of the Galisteo Basin is primarily savannah grasslands dotted with piñon and juniper.  Its arroyo-riparian plants provide critical habitat for a surprising variety of New Mexico mammals including antelope, deer, bear, coyote and bobcat. In spring the grassland is carpeted with a rich display of colorful wildflowers.

The earliest written descriptions of the basin come from Coronado’s travels north while looking for the legendary City of Gold in 1540. Several celebrated  American archeologists have visited here, including Adolph Bandelier before the turn of the 20th century and Nels Nelson in 1912.

Forrest is no isolationist. He has brought many of his friends out to San Lazaro to excavate with him. He annually invites a group of teens, under the supervision of a professional archeologist, to stay on the land and get involved in the San Lazaro excavation. Generally speaking, ruins are reserved for exploration by professionals and not for amateurs, but Forrest has introduced the joy of archeology to hundreds…perhaps thousands of novices. Who among us wouldn’t love to get our hands dirty and minds excited while uncovering the wondrous artifacts of a lost culture?

Forrest has written a beautifully illustrated book on his San Lazaro Pueblo.

So here are some photos from Forrest’s scrap book and a short video of Forrest and friends out working and enjoying the pueblo.


Left to right we have Forrest’s grandson Shilo Old, Trevor & Samantha (Valerie’s kids), Tom Haven (my step-son) Alan Hamel (Suzanne’s husband), Valerie Plame (America’s most popular ex-CIA agent), Suzanne Somers (America’s girl next door) and Forrest, all studying the ground at San Lazaro. What are they looking for?

Here's something they're all looking for. Valerie holds a lovely collection of Tano pot shards that are hundreds of years old.

Here’s something to look for. Valerie holds a collection of Tano pot shards that are hundreds of years old. This is FUN!

And here's another...Samantha found this magnificent arrowhead on the side of an anthill.

And here’s another. Samantha found this arrowhead on the side of an anthill.

Forrest and Suzanne appear to get along well.

Forrest and Suzanne appear to get along well.

Suzanne helped excavate a kiva at the pueblo.

Suzanne helped excavate a kiva at the pueblo…or maybe she just watched as Forrest excavated…

Valerie and Suzanne pay attention in case there is a quiz later...

Valerie and Suzanne pay attention in case there is a quiz later…

Shilo and Tom discussing why it is that Forrest gets all the cool girls.

Shilo and Tom discussing why it is that Forrest gets all the cool girls.

Shilo up on medicine rock in the late afternoon sun...It's a magical place.

Shilo up on medicine rock in the late afternoon sun…It’s a magical place.

And here’s a short video from the pueblo with Forrest and Suzanne.


22 thoughts on “Forrest Digs San Lazaro….

  1. So many rooms waiting to be uncovered, so many stories to be told of ancient lives . As the sun sets on San Lazero if you listen good you can hear the ancient past come alive….

  2. Dal you mention that Forrest bought the San Lazaro Pueblo in the 1980’s, but if you check the land plat office in Santa Fe it lists the property owner as William Sathers..what is the mystery behind that?

  3. I would be fascinated to attempt to decipher (oops) what the climate was like when the Pueblo was inhabited. The arroyo looks totally uninhabitable now–no water source I could infer from GEarth. But 6-7000 ybp is nearly half way to the last ice age, so ???

    Forrest (if you are lurking about); have you been able to find any clues as to water source/storage? The “watering hole” could possibly have unique artifacts associated with water or spring of life. jj

  4. Reading the Secrets of San Lazaro book was the best experience I’ve had on the chase to date. It would be nice to go there so day and see the site where the masks were found.

    If they studied the Medicine rock in terms of energy, frequency and vibration they might find something interesting about the ritual passage way. Maybe the jet mystery would hold some new promise of being solved?

  5. Read more here about jet:

    Besides being unsure of all the details for this extraordinary ceremony, Medicine Rock gives another mystery to ponder. In the tailings around the shaft behind the rock are tiny pieces of Jet scattered about. Jet is not to be found (naturally or unnaturally) anywhere else on the Pueblo. And so no one to date has a reason for its presence here. Were these pieces of Jet part of the warrior ceremony? Was it believed to hold sacred properties? Was there another use for Medicine Rock, unknown today, which used the Jet?

    • Hello, 23Kachinas. I have the pleasure…and gratitude…of owning a copy of the beautiful book Secrets of San Lazaro. My wife won a copy in the Easter egg contest. Thanks again, Jenny and Forrest. 🙂 Forrest did an amazing job of sharing with us all many of the objects and mysteries which he unearthed at the pueblo.

      I have no direct knowledge of what the jet was used for at Medicine Rock. I can only guess that the jet was used symbolically to represent absolute darkness…which was in direct contrast to the Light they were seeking as they made their way through the dark Labyrinth under Medicine Rock and into the Light…represented by the ceremonial fires as they would exit. My guess is that each Warrior would be given a piece of jet which they would carry with them…likely in their medicine bag….to remind them of their own thoughts and experience on the night of their initiation. That’s just my uneducated guess.

  6. One of Forrest’s special leather-bound copies of “Secrets of San Lazaro Pueblo” will be up for auction in May, to benefit The Horse Shelter in Cerrillos.
    (in case that sways anyone’s travel plans)

  7. This looks like so much fun! I would love the opportunity to do anything like this one day. I just love exploring.

    • No doubt! I love reading Forrest’s book, “Secrets of San Lazaro Pueblo”! It would be even greater to do this type of thing for many days.

      • I will get that book one day, I’d love to read it, but right now I’m saving every extra penny for another trip to the mountains. Hoping the world goes back to normal soon and my husband can go back to work. Hope all is well with you Suzy_S.

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