Mound 7 is the largest of the pueblo mounds at Gran Quivira. Following the abandonment of the earlier circular pueblo around 1400, the first rectangular rooms of Mound 7 were built between 1400 and 1515. Following a thirty year abandonment, the rooms of Mound 7 began to expand further. By the beginning of the Spanish period with the arrival of Don Antonio de Espejo in 1583, the Mound 7 pueblo had over 200 rooms. Fray Francisco Letrado was able to negotiate the use of eight of these rooms in 1629, and built an additional eight rooms the following year.
Mound 7 was fully excavated between 1965 and 1967. This excavation exposed all of the rooms, 226 in all, and discovered the remains of the earlier circular pueblo beneath Mound 7. A wealth of artifacts were recovered including whole pots, water jugs, animal effigies, and stone tools. Many of these artifacts are now on display in the museum at the Gran Quivira Visitor Center. An interpretive trail on top of Mound 7 was created by backfilling a number of rooms. One room left open peers down into the lower circular pueblo showing the relationship between this older structure and the newer Mound 7 rooms.
In 2012 a project to backfill most of the remaining open rooms of Mound 7 was completed. The Park Service determined that backfilling was the best option for the preservation of the Mound 7 Pueblo. Using an army of 40 high school students from the local Mountainair and Estancia communities the project was fully completed in 10 weeks. Prior to backfilling every wall in every room was stabilized. Vertical drains were placed in each room during the filling process to help remove pooling water from the surface. Rooms were filled to create a mounded look with inner rooms filled higher than the outer rooms. The rooms of the Letrado's Convento, as well as the deeper room looking into the circular pueblo remain open.
Did You Know?
The caravan that supplied the missions only arrived every three years. Included in one year’s shipment was 45 gallons of sacramental wine, 42 pounds of prepared candle wax, and 26 gallons of lamp oil for illuminating the altar.