Encyclopedia Article


The Spanish word for oven is horno. In the pueblos, hornos are adobe earth structures built separately from dwelling structures. With a distinct, bee-hive shape, hornos stand about 2-3 feet tall. Generally used for baking bread, the oval pyramid shape of the oven was appropriated by early Hispanic settlers, who brought the horno inside their adobe brick homes and sited it in a corner of the sala, or great room. Traditional hornos are still in use today, as are the beehive-shaped, or kiva-style, fireplaces found in the mission-style architecture of Santa Fe.

Photo Credit: 

"A grouping of traditional hornos in Zuni Pueblo, New Mexico, circa 1912," photograph by Jesse Nusbaum. Jesse Nusbaum Collection (061729). Palace of the Governors Photo Archive, new mexico History Museum.