Parque Natural Mexiquillo


Ancestral Pueblo People

Bandelier National Monument

The Ancestral Pueblo People started building large permeant structures in Frijoles Canyon around 1150. For 400 years they hunted, farmed, loved, laughed, and raised their families in this lush green oasis. Then they moved south to pueblos along the Rio Grande River. This canyon was carved through hundreds of feet of volcanic tuff deposed when the Valles Volcano erupted 1.2 million years ago.

Frijoles Canyon
Diorama at the visitors center 

Tyuonyi was one, two and three stories tall and consisted of around 400 rooms. 

How it might have looked back in the day.

When in use, the kiva would have been covered by a roof made of wood and earth. It was the center of the community, not only for religious activities, but also for education and decision making.

Rooms were carved out of the soft volcanic tuff. 

A reconstruction of how some of the rooms might have looked

Other caves were fronted with rooms built of local materials. This reconstruction may not be accurate as the pueblos traditionally entered their homes through the roof.

Long House
At Long House a long series of rooms were built against the South facing canyon wall. All these dwellings, Tyuonyi, Long House and rooms carved out of the tuff were occupied simultaneously. Who lived where and why is up to speculation; maybe clan, family groups, personal preference.

Long House
The rows of holes that anchored roof poles indicate that the building here was three stories high. The cliff face at the back of some rooms looks like this has been smoothed and plastered over. Niches were cut in the wall. 

 This pictograph was uncovered behind a layer of plaster on the back wall of a second story room.

I made the 140 climb to Alcove House. You can see two people climbing the ladders.

Alcove House
 A nice climb up three different ladders leads to a spectacular view and another kiva. This one restored, but you may not enter it.

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