the wandering chick
...Bandelier Natl Monument
home of the Ancestral Pueblo people

The people who, more than 10,000 years ago, settled in the Frijoles Canyon are known as the Ancestral Pueblo people. It could have been Frijoles Creek that attracted the people to the Frijoles Canyon. Water, even in the heaviest of droughts, flows through the canyon.

The canyon walls are predominantly pink in color, a volcanic ash that has compacted over time into a soft, crumbly rock known as tuff. Seen as a liking to Swiss cheese, the rock is easily eroded by wind and rain, creating small holes in the exposed face of the rock.

One million years ago and 14 miles away, the Jemez Volcano, 600 times more powerful than Mount St. Helens, erupted on two different occasions. It spewed enough rock to cover the 400-square mile Pajarito Plateau with ash that is 1000 feet thick, forming what we see today.

Bandelier National Monument is an amazing look into the dwellings of people who lived in this region. It is located southeast of Los Alamos.

cliff dwellings
cliff dwellings
cliff dwellings
At the same time that some of the Ancestral Pueblo people lived in the talus houses and cavates, others chose to live on the canyon floor in the village of Tyuonyi (pronounced QU-weh-nee) Pueblo, a large two-story circular structure of 400 rooms built around an open area, a central plaza. This picture and the next two (left and below) show the remains of the structure. It held only about 100 people and had only one entrance.
cliff dwellings
Railings and stairs have been installed to allow visitors to see the cliff dwellings close up.
cliff dwellings
cliff dwellings
Vigas are long, heavy poles that support a roof. They're used not only in cave dwelling eras, but also in today's southwestern architecture, though today's purpose is more ornamental than weight-bearing.
the cave dwellings are facing south since that side, in the winter, gets more sun, keeping them warmer.
petroglyphs on walls
Not all petroglyphs are understandable, but it IS known that they often had symbolic meaning in the life of the cave dwellers.
Ladder to Alcove House
ladder to Alcove House
Another dwelling in the Frijoles Canyon is Alcove House. It's located about a half mile from the main section of the cve dwellings. It is situated 140 feet up, set deep into the rock and with a thick overhang. The house is reached by four ladders that climb the face of the wall, as seen in these next few pictures.
Alcove House ladders
mule deer seen on Nature Trail
Alcove House
A small herd of mule deer was seen on the Nature Trail as we headed back to the Visitor Center.
To see more locaitons in The Land of Enchantment, please return to the New Mexico home page.
And, at some point along the path, a squirrel.

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