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Title: Bandelier National Monument: New Mexico
Author: Wing, Kittridge A.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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    [Illustration: Department of the Interior · March 3, 1849]

                     Stewart L. Udall, _Secretary_

                         NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
                      Conrad L. Wirth, _Director_


This publication is one of a series of handbooks describing the
historical and archeological areas in the National Park System
administered by the National Park Service of the United States
Department of the Interior. It is printed by the Government Printing
Office and may be purchased from the Superintendent of Documents,
Washington 25, D. C. Price 25 cents.

                           NATIONAL MONUMENT
                                                              NEW MEXICO

by Kittridge A. Wing

    [Illustration: Decorated pottery]

                                                 Washington, D. C., 1955
                                                          _Reprint 1961_

_The National Park System, of which Bandelier National Monument is a
unit, is dedicated to conserving the scenic, scientific, and historic
heritage of the United States for the benefit and enjoyment of its

    [Illustration: National Park Service · Department of the Interior]


  THE RUINS: THEIR TYPES AND EXTENT                                     2
  PRINCIPAL RUINS OF THE NATIONAL MONUMENT                              8
      Tyuonyi                                                           8
      Talus House                                                      10
      Long House                                                       11
      Kivas                                                            12
      Ceremonial Cave                                                  12
      Stone Lions                                                      14
      Painted Cave                                                     14
      Otowi                                                            16
      Tsankawi                                                         17
  ORIGINS OF THE PEOPLE                                                17
      Work of the Archeologists                                        17
      The Basketmakers and the Developmental Pueblo Period             18
      Great Pueblo Period                                              22
      Drought and Migrations                                           23
      Late Pueblo Period                                               24
  LIFE OF THE EARLY PEOPLE AT BANDELIER                                24
      Food                                                             24
      Shelter                                                          27
      Clothing                                                         27
      Religion                                                         30
  THE NATURAL SCENE                                                    32
      Climate                                                          32
      Life Zones                                                       32
      Wildlife                                                         33
      Geology                                                          35
  GUIDE TO THE AREA                                                    39
  HOW TO REACH THE MONUMENT                                            41
  ABOUT YOUR VISIT                                                     41
  ESTABLISHMENT AND ADMINISTRATION                                     42
  RELATED AREAS                                                        43
  GLOSSARY OF SPANISH AND INDIAN WORDS                                 43
  SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER READING                                      43

    [Illustration: _Ceremonial Cave, reached by a series of ladders
    extending 150 feet above the floor of Frijoles Canyon._]

    [Illustration: Agave in bloom]

In the picturesque canyon and mesa country of the Pajarito Plateau, west
of the Rio Grande from Santa Fe, N. Mex., are found the ruined dwellings
of one of the most extensive prehistoric Indian populations of the
Southwest. Bandelier National Monument, in the heart of the plateau,
includes and protects several of the largest of these ruins, in
particular the unique cave and cliff dwellings in the canyon of the Rito
de los Frijoles.

The Indian farmers who built and occupied the numerous villages of the
Pajarito Plateau flourished there for some 300 years, beginning in the
1200’s. By A. D. 1540, when historic times open with the coming of
Coronado and his adventurers from Mexico, the Indian people had already
started to leave their canyon fastnesses for new homes on the Rio

From all evidence it seems that modern Pueblo Indians living along the
Rio Grande today are descended in part from the ancient inhabitants of
the Pajarito area. Thus Bandelier National Monument preserves ruins
which link historic times to prehistoric, and which further link the
modern Pueblo Indian with his ancestors from regions to the west, whence
came the first migrants to the Bandelier environs. The continuity of
Pueblo life traces from origins in northwest New Mexico and the Mesa
Verde country of southwest Colorado, through the Bandelier region, to
the living towns of Cochiti to the south, San Ildefonso to the
northeast, and other local Indian communities.

                  _The Ruins: Their Types and Extent_

The evidences of ancient human occupation in the Bandelier neighborhood
are apparent even to the most casual observer. When driving over the
approach road to the monument headquarters one cannot fail to observe
cave rooms in the cliffs on every hand; the continuing spectacle of
smoke-blackened chambers dug into the rock provides the stimulus of
discovery en route. But the roadside introduction is an infinitesimal
preview of the total scope of prehistoric man’s activity in the region.
In actuality, all of the ruins contained within the national monument
represent but a small fraction of the ruins of the surrounding plateau.

    [Illustration: _Park ranger and visitors at the Big Kiva in Frijoles

The entire eastern slope of the Jemez Mountains to the west, throughout
the zone of moderate elevations from 7,000 feet down to the Rio Grande
at 5,500 feet, appears to have been thickly settled in prehistoric
times; this eastern slope has been given the name of Pajarito Plateau.
The extent of the plateau is, very roughly, 30 miles north to south, and
10 miles east to west (from the Rio Grande west to the crest of the
Jemez). From Santa Clara Creek on the north of the monument to the
Canada de Cochiti on the south of the monument, this tract of forested
mesas and canyons contains Indian ruins which, if not innumerable, at
least at this writing have not yet been totaled. It perhaps may be said,
to emphasize the concentration of these ruins, that an observant person
can hardly walk a quarter of a mile in any direction through the
once-inhabited zone without noticing some sort of ancient structure or
handiwork of prehistoric man.

    [Illustration: _Base of a cliff of volcanic tuff, showing several
    cave rooms._]

The habitations of the early people were of two types, basically: the
cliff or cave dwelling, and the masonry or open pueblo structure. But
these two types were frequently blended into composite dwellings, part
cave and part masonry, wherein a cliff formed the back wall of the
building. It is this third type, called a talus house, which is
conspicuous along the canyon sides within and near the national

The rock which forms the walls of all the Pajarito canyons is a cemented
volcanic ash called tuff, with many erosion cavities which can be
readily enlarged with tools of hard stone. It might be logical to assume
that early migrants to the Pajarito country, 700 years ago, first took
shelter in the natural cavities, then presently improved these crude
holes into more livable chambers. There is, however, no evidence to
support the idea that the cave rooms were lived in first. In fact, some
authorities reason that since the firstcomers had been living in masonry
dwellings in their earlier homes, they would first have built the
familiar communal buildings on arrival here, leaving the caves to be
taken up later by overflow population.

Whatever the sequence of construction, many thousands of cave rooms were
prepared, involving the removal of thousands of cubic yards of tuff—an
industrious people, these. Although some rooms are found with a long
dimension of over 10 feet, the great majority of them are smaller. A
typical room measures about 6 by 9 feet, with ceiling height perhaps 5
feet, 8 inches. Such a chamber has a doorway not over 3 feet high and
only half as wide; there is an opening or two in the front wall near the
ceiling to permit escape of smoke; and there may be a corresponding hole
at floor level near the door to admit a draft of air to the fireplace.
The appointments of the typical home are completed with a cupboard niche
dug into the rear wall, a coat of mud plaster on floor and walls, and a
covering of soot all over the ceiling—this last an inescapable penalty
of cave living.

A room of such size might have provided sleeping quarters for a family
of 5 or 6, considering the fact that no furniture took up space within.
Frequently two cave rooms are found connected by a doorway cut through
the interior wall, suggesting the expansion of a family beyond the
limits of a single room.

    [Illustration: _The ruins of Long House, once a dwelling of some 300

The most impressive ruins of the Pajarito country are the remains of
communal masonry dwellings of pueblo architecture. (Pueblo is Spanish
for village or town. The first Spanish explorers applied the word to the
permanent dwellings or settlements of farming Indians; by association,
the word pueblo has come to designate also the builders of these
dwellings and their modern Indian successors.) At least one of these
great buildings contained over 600 rooms; there are several which had
over 500 rooms, to a height of 3 stories. These multistory towns were
built of the local tuff, shattered and pecked into convenient size for
masonry use, and laid with mud mortar. The great houses were situated
both on mesa-tops and in canyon bottoms; some were designed as hollow
squares or circles, others had only a haphazard ground plan. None of
these dwellings today is more than one story high, so that their
original height is unknown in detail, but great massivity and
considerable defensive strength are apparent even from the remaining
mounds of rubble.

    [Illustration: _The unexcavated ruin of Yapashi._]

The rooms of the community houses were scarcely larger than the cave
rooms already described; almost none of the surviving ground-floor rooms
are more than 10 by 12 feet, and the typical room measures perhaps 7 by
10 feet. These chambers were quite dark and unventilated, since there
were almost no windows or even connecting doorways between rooms; almost
every room of the ground floor was entered by a ladder through an
opening in its ceiling. It is conjectured that these first-floor cells
were designed in this fashion to serve as storage places for foodstuffs,
more secure from rodents by reason of having only one opening in the
roof. Moreover, the lower-floor walls were a stronger foundation for the
upper floors when built without door or window openings. Finally, this
design provided maximum security for defense against human marauders.

It has been mentioned that a composite type of building, combining cave
rooms and masonry walls, is common in the area. This sort of
construction was responsible for the many rows of small holes still to
be seen in the cliffs, evenly spaced some 2 feet apart above the cave
doorways. These holes were cut and used as sockets to support the ends
of roof beams extending forward from the cliff and providing ceilings
for the masonry rooms which once stood there. These evenly spaced holes,
which you first see along many of the canyon walls, give mute evidence
of the early aboriginal occupation of this area. Many of these talus
dwellings reached a height of 3 stories and pushed out from the cliff 3
and 4 rooms deep, so that the cave rooms which were occupied first
became relegated to storage space in the dark rear interiors.

To conclude this general summation of ruin types, some description
should be made of kivas. Kivas were, and are, the ceremonial chambers of
the Pueblo people; as such, they are universally present in the Pajarito
communities and their design makes them identifiable even in the ruined
state. The local kivas were always round and were dug almost full-depth
into the ground, except for certain examples which were excavated into
the relatively soft bedrock of cliff or mesa-top. The circular
depressions still to be found in the plazas of the great communal houses
are the remains of kivas with their roofs collapsed and with the
wind-borne debris of centuries accumulated in the hollows. A more
complete discussion of kivas and their functions will be found on page

    [Illustration: _Entrances to cave rooms._]

               _Principal Ruins of the National Monument_

Bandelier National Monument is divided into two parcels of land: the
Otowi section of about 9 square miles and the Frijoles section of nearly
33 square miles. Within these two areas are contained great
concentrations of ruins, including several of the largest on the
plateau. A number of the Bandelier ruins have been excavated, so there
is quite a detailed knowledge of the culture which once flourished on
the monument lands.

    [Illustration: _Tyuonyi Ruin, with the Big Kiva at left rear, and
    the trees of the campground at top of the picture._]

The most frequently visited part of the monument is the canyon of the
Rito de los Frijoles, wherein is located the monument headquarters. In
this well-watered and wooded canyon are to be found ruins of the three
types described above, which had well over 1,000 rooms in their prime
some 500 years ago. Here also is the excavated remnant of the largest
kiva found anywhere in the Pajarito country—a chamber which perhaps was
the community center of religious practice for the entire canyon.

TYUONYI.   On the floor of Frijoles Canyon, a little upstream from the
headquarters museum, is Tyuonyi, the chief building of the area, and one
of the most impressive pueblo ruins in the Rio Grande drainage. Situated
on a level bench of open ground, perhaps 100 feet from the Rito and 15
feet above the water, Tyuonyi at one time contained over 400 rooms, to a
height of 3 stories in part. Its modern aspect is greatly reduced in
height; although excavated, no walls have been restored, so that only
the ground floor is still evident, with outer and inner walls standing
to a height of 4 or 5 feet throughout.

    [Illustration: _The ruins trail; the south rim of Frijoles Canyon
    shows in the background._]

To appreciate the size and lay-out of Tyuonyi, you should climb the
nearby slope until a bird’s-eye view reveals the entire ground plan of
the huge circle. From above, more than 250 rooms can be counted, placed
in concentric rows around a central plaza. The most massive part of the
circle is 8 rooms across, narrowing to 4 rooms in breadth at the brook
side. The 2- and 3-story parts of the building, as computed from the
height of the original rubble, were at the massive eastern side.

One of the most striking features of Tyuonyi is the entrance passage
through the eastern part of the circle. This passage was apparently the
only access to the central plaza, other than by ladders across the
rooftops. An arrangement of this sort, of course, suggests a concern for
defensive strength on the part of Tyuonyi’s builders; certainly the
circle of windowless, doorless walls would have presented a problem to
attackers, once the ladders were drawn up and the single passageway

It is believed that a good part of the first-floor rooms of Tyuonyi were
storage chambers of the type previously discussed. This belief is borne
out by the fact that during excavation many of these rooms were found to
be without fireplaces, a condition which would have made such rooms
unlivable in cold weather. The problem of smoke clearance was very
serious in the larger pueblos, since the builders had no knowledge of
modern fireplaces with chimney flues; hence the building of fires on the
lower floors of multistory buildings worked a hardship on upstairs
occupants and must have been avoided whenever possible.

The age of the Tyuonyi construction has been fairly well established by
the tree-ring method of dating, so widely and successfully used by
archeologists in the Southwest. Ceiling-beam fragments recovered from
various rooms give dates between A. D. 1383 and 1466. This general
period seems to have been a time of much building in Frijoles Canyon; a
score of tree-ring dates from Rainbow House ruin, which is down the
canyon a half mile, fall in the early and middle 1400’s. Perhaps the
last construction anywhere in Frijoles Canyon occurred close to A. D.
1500, with a peak of population reached near that time or shortly

TALUS HOUSE.   On the talus directly above Tyuonyi to the north, at the
foot of the prominent cliff, there once stood a cluster of houses. The
group here had as its nucleus 12 or 15 cave rooms which were
supplemented by at least as many masonry rooms at the front. Excavation
of these rooms was completed in 1909 and the name Sun House was given to
the building, because of a prominent Sun-symbol petroglyph carved on the
cliff above. A part of this house group has been restored on the old
foundations, with its new ceiling beams placed in the ancient holes in
the cliff. This restoration work, done by the Museum of New Mexico in
1920, serves to show faithfully the original appearance of this typical
specimen of a talus house. Here again the rooms are small (by modern
standards) with doors only large enough to squeeze through, and no
windows. During the 1400’s, it is probable that several such dwellings
were occupied along a 2-mile stretch of this cliff.

    [Illustration: _A restored talus house._]

LONG HOUSE.   About one-fourth of a mile up the canyon from Tyuonyi,
also against the northern and sun-warmed cliff, is the ruin of one of
the largest combination cave-and-masonry dwellings to be found anywhere
on the plateau. This great ruin is known as Long House for an obvious
reason—it stretches almost 800 feet in a continuous block of rooms. For
all of this distance, the masonry walls are backed by a sheer and
largely smooth wall of tuff some 150 feet high. Into this cliff are dug
many cave rooms, several kivas, and a variety of storage niches, all of
which were incorporated into a single dwelling of over 300 rooms, rising
3 stories high. At Long House the rows of viga (roof-beam) holes in the
cliff are particularly conspicuous, defining the onetime roof levels for
hundreds of feet at a stretch. The site of Long House is especially
pleasing, having an elevation of 40 or 50 feet above the canyon bottom,
but close enough to the creek so that the sound of running water may be
heard, and near enough to the huge stream-bordering cottonwoods to
partake of the coolness of their foliage. If it is conceivable to envy
any of the people of prehistoric times, surely we should envy the
dwellers of Long House.

KIVAS.   Associated with the numerous ruins in Frijoles Canyon are
various kivas, both in the canyon floor and in the cliffs. The large
kiva previously mentioned is a short distance east of Tyuonyi, very
nearly in the center of the widest part of the canyon floor. The
rock-walled circular pit is 42 feet across and 8 feet deep, with a
ventilation shaft at the east side and a narrow entranceway opposite.
When the roof was intact above the chamber, there must have been little
evidence of the existence of the subterranean room; perhaps a ladder
protruding from a center hole in the roof was the only conspicuous
indication of the kiva below. In its present and partially restored
state, this kiva shows the butt ends of six roof columns similar to
those which once bore the load of the roof, as well as the stub ends of
roof stringers. The restoration work in this kiva was accomplished by
the Civilian Conservation Corps, which was responsible for much valuable
work in the monument during the late 1930’s.

Of particular interest in Frijoles Canyon are the unique kivas in the
cliffs. Of the thousands of kivas found throughout the ancient land of
the pueblos, there are no others of this cave style. The largest of the
cave kivas in the monument is a few hundred feet north of Tyuonyi, at
the base of a fantastically eroded block of tuff. The oval chamber,
nearly 20 feet across its long dimension, has been restored by the
replacement of rock work around its doorway and ventilation openings.
The interior effect now presented, with soot-blackened ceiling,
mud-plastered lower walls, and looms set in their ancient positions,
must closely approximate the appearance of the kiva in the days when it
was used. Many such kivas were decorated with painted or incised designs
on the plaster of the walls. Although this particular kiva does not show
evidence of mural paintings, it does still contain scratched designs in
the plaster, unidentifiable because covered in part by later

CEREMONIAL CAVE.   A restored kiva of very different type may be found
up the canyon nearly a mile. By climbing a series of ladders to a ledge
150 feet above the stream, the great rock overhang known as Ceremonial
Cave can be reached. Under the shelter of this arch a number of masonry
dwellings and a kiva were once built; the subterranean kiva, excavated
and reroofed, is very small but would have served the needs of the few
families who lived on this impregnable balcony.

    [Illustration: _Entrance to Cave Kiva._]

STONE LIONS.   Other noteworthy remains of the monument area lie outside
Frijoles Canyon, accessible only by foot or horse trail across the mesas
to the south. Perhaps the most frequently visited of these antiquities
is the shrine of the Stone Lions, 10 miles from monument headquarters.
Here on the mesa-top near an extensive ruin are two life-size crouching
mountain lion effigies carved side by side out of the soft bedrock. This
work of sculpture must have been accomplished many centuries ago, for
long weathering and erosion have left small semblance of a true
likeness. The shrine here is known to modern Indians, being visited
occasionally by hunters who leave prayer offerings for success in their
hunt. A second pair of stone lions was carved on a mesa-top several
miles to the south, outside the monument boundary. These two pairs of
life-size stone effigies are unique in the Southwest.

    [Illustration: _The restored kiva in Ceremonial Cave. The ranger and
    party are standing on the roof of the circular chamber._]

PAINTED CAVE.   A final feature of particular interest in the back
country of the monument is the Painted Cave. This art gallery in the
cliffs decorates a canyon wall some 12 miles from headquarters. Once a
large population inhabited this canyon of Capulin Creek, but most of the
evidences of habitation have vanished except for the extensive
pictographs on the weatherproof back wall of the Painted Cave. The arch
of the cave is shallow but wide, so that a smooth area over 50 feet long
was available to the artists; several dozen drawings in a variety of
reds and blacks adorn this surface. It is probable that many generations
of artists used the cave, since space finally ran out and later drawings
are superimposed on their faded predecessors. Moreover, evidence of
historic, or post-Spanish, artistry is here—a sketch of a conquistador
on horseback, another of a mission church complete with cross.

    [Illustration: _The shrine of the Stone Lions: Twin effigies of
    mountain lions in a walled enclosure._]

    [Illustration: _Painted Cave._]

    [Illustration: _Trail worn into the rock, near Tsankawi Ruin._]

OTOWI.   The smaller section of Bandelier National Monument, lying some
15 miles from the headquarters area, takes its name from the Otowi ruin,
the largest pueblo on the monument. Although not so impressive as the
Tyuonyi ruin at first glance, the great spread and complexity of the
rubble mounds surely dwarf all other ruined dwellings of the vicinity.
Probably 450 ground-floor rooms were here, with an indeterminate number
of upper-floor rooms—perhaps 600 rooms altogether is a reasonable
estimate. The Otowi rooms have not been excavated to any great extent,
but two burial mounds south of the building group have been investigated
with spectacular results—over 150 interments were found in a space about
80 by 100 feet. With these burials was found a great variety of
offerings to the dead, ranging from food bowls to bone awls and
ceremonial pipes. Specimens of these handicrafts may be seen at the
National Park Service museum at monument headquarters and at the Museum
of New Mexico in Santa Fe.

TSANKAWI.   The Otowi house-group occupies a site atop a low ridge
walled in by the cliffsides of steep Pueblo Canyon. Its nearest
neighbor, Tsankawi, is sited on a very different terrain: Tsankawi is
very near to being a “sky-city” in the style of the modern Acoma in
western New Mexico. Not as large as Otowi, this ruin has equal majesty
by reason of its commanding position on top of a cliff-ringed island
mesa overlooking a vast north-south sweep of the Rio Grande and the
Sangre de Cristo Mountains beyond. The location and the ground plan
suggest defense as a first consideration. Of masonry construction in a
rough hollow square, Tsankawi would have presented a serious problem to
enemy besiegers. On the other hand, a siege would have cut off the
defenders from their water supply, far in the canyon below. There is,
however, some evidence of a rain-catchment basin close outside the
eastern walls, and excavation may in future confirm the existence of an
ingenious water-storage system.

The most memorable sight at Tsankawi lies along the trail that climbs
from the end of the access road to the mesa-top. Here for 100 yards the
path, crossing a bald slope of soft gray tuff, is worn down for almost
18 inches by the climbing and descending feet of thousands of Indian
passersby. Granted that the rock is extremely porous and soft, it is
nonetheless almost beyond the scope of imagination to conceive the vast
traffic required to so entrench the path. Today, when you climb this
trail, you cannot but visualize a procession of Indian farmers over
several generations traveling to and from their fields, their sandaled
feet scuffing each year a fractional inch deeper into the calendar of
the rock.

                        _Origins of the People_

The great number of Indian ruins in the Bandelier vicinity, some of
which have been described, give evidence of the presence and labor of
thousands of prehistoric people. Who were these people? Whence did they
come, and where have they gone? A myriad of questions is inspired by the
far-flung ruins—and in the ruins, of course, are the answers to these
questions, answers which have been gradually unearthed by scientists
over the past 75 years. Beginning with Adolph Bandelier, the
Swiss-American ethnologist for whom the monument is named, a succession
of scientists has brought to light many facts once buried beneath the
rubble of the ruins.

WORK OF THE ARCHEOLOGISTS.   Before entering upon a description of the
life and times of the early Bandelier dwellers, it may be well to
discuss briefly the efforts of the archeologists and others who have
built up the picture of this long-lost culture. The work of the
archeologist is essentially historical detective work—in his digging and
searching he must find, assemble, and interpret clues. Some of these
clues will be tangible, like pottery fragments. Other clues will be
intangible—the very absence of pottery fragments in an ancient dwelling
tells a story. The correct evaluation and interpretation of
multitudinous clues by many experts over two generations have at last
given us a very considerable knowledge of Southwestern prehistory—and
the knowledge is being added to daily. H. M. Wormington, in _Prehistoric
Indians of the Southwest_, wrote “... the development of archaeology in
the Southwest may be compared to the putting together of a great jig-saw
puzzle. First came a period of general examination of the pieces, then a
concentration on the larger and more highly colored pieces, and finally
a carefully planned approach to the puzzle as a whole with serious
attempts to fill in specific blank areas.”

such concerted study and deduction, there exists today a fairly solid
understanding of the general course of human events in the Southwest for
the past 2,000 years. Many details are still missing, and some will
always be, but the general outline of Indian life and customs is
established back to the early centuries of the Christian era; beyond
that, the picture becomes hazy. Those earlier years were seemingly times
of a seminomadic, hunting-gathering existence for the early
Southwesterners; only from about 3,000 years ago is there clear evidence
of the advent of intensive farming and a settled life.

As soon as agriculture became their primary sustenance, the people began
to live more or less permanently in one place. From certain early
cave-shelters are derived the clues which begin to formulate the story
of the days before history. Human burials have been found in the earth
floors of shallow caves scattered through the San Juan river drainage;
and in these same caves are found storage chambers prepared to protect
the foodstuffs, principally corn. Their outstanding handicraft was
basketry, as far as remaining evidence shows. Because of the great
numbers of skilfully worked baskets found in their homesites,
archeologists have named these people Basketmakers. It is now quite
certain that the Indians who came much later to live in the Bandelier
vicinity can claim as ancestors the Basketmaker people of the area to
the west.

The life of these ancestral farmers was a primitive one, even by the
standards which prevailed in Frijoles Canyon 1,000 years later. For one
thing, no permanent dwellings appear to have been constructed until late
in Basketmaker times, and even then dwellings were of crude pithouse
type—an excavation some 3 feet into the ground, walled up and roofed
with logs, brush, and earth. Further, the bow and arrow was not used by
these people until perhaps A. D. 600; the early weapon of hunting and
warfare was the spear and spear-thrower (atlatl). For the greater part
of Basketmaker times, pottery was unknown; only after A. D. 400 was true
fired pottery introduced in the northern Southwest.

    [Illustration: _Typical prehistoric pottery vessels made in the
    Bandelier vicinity._
    Photo courtesy Museum of New Mexico.]

The production of decorated pottery late in Basketmaker times began a
development which has had the greatest archeological significance. The
long-enduring fragments of painted pottery found in subsequent
housesites have been a principal tool by which students have pieced
together the relative chronology of ruins and the migrations of the

With successive introduction of pottery, the bow and arrow, and other
new traits in the approximate period A. D. 450 to 750, the character of
Basketmaker life became so modified that a new name—the Pueblos—was
applied to the subsequent peoples. Presently they began to move from the
Basketmaker pithouse into masonry chambers above ground, perhaps with
several rooms connected, the old pithouse surviving in use as the
ceremonial kiva. Cotton came under cultivation and was woven into
garments. Hoes and axes of stone with serviceable handles came into use.
Turkeys and dogs were by this time commonly domesticated, the former
being valued primarily for feathers which served to make warm robes and
ceremonial garb.

    High-resolution Map]

    [Illustration: _The useful yucca plant._]

GREAT PUEBLO PERIOD.   The stage was now set for the great flowering of
the Pueblo people; the way of life which had taken rough shape from A.
D. 450 to 1050 now reached culmination in the Great Pueblo period. For
about 200 years, or until around A. D. 1250, fortune smiled on the
farming towns of the Four Corners country. The population grew and
spread, and the handicraft arts reached a stage of impressive
proficiency. The centers of this classic period which are today best
known lie in three different States: Mesa Verde (in Mesa Verde National
Park, Colo.), Chaco Canyon (in Chaco Canyon National Monument, N. Mex.),
and the vicinity of Betatakin and Keet Seel (in Navajo National
Monument, Ariz.) These three areas, all now under the jurisdiction of
the National Park Service, contain the great cliff dwellings and
communal houses which mark the highest development of prehistoric Indian
attainments in the northern Southwest.

It is beyond the scope of this handbook to present an adequate
description of the Great Pueblo towns and their inhabitants. Although
almost contemporaneous, the three largest centers differed greatly in
development, so that the total story becomes most complex. In general it
may be said that the skills of farming and production of foodstuffs
became highly efficient, allowing the people more leisure in which to
experiment with and improve their arts and crafts and their ceremonial
rituals. Much elaboration and refinement of the potter’s craft, for
example, is traceable to these years; some of the world’s finest ceramic
art, ancient or modern, comes from Chaco Canyon and the Mesa Verde.
Again, in the field of jewelry-making and personal adornment, the
craftsman of the 1100’s produced shell- and turquoise-inlay work which
would have earned the admiration of Cellini. Finally, a multiplicity of
kivas is to be found in all the great houses of the period, as well as a
number of Great Kivas embodying various elaborate altar features. This
expenditure of effort to crowd the towns with ceremonial rooms would
seem to indicate something of a preoccupation with religion. The
numerous discoveries of carved stone fetishes and other ceremonial
objects serve to bear out a concept of elaborate ritual and unending
dedication to the service of their gods.

DROUGHT AND MIGRATIONS.   It seems, however, that the gods were fickle.
Some two centuries of growth and prosperity were all that were to be
allowed the farmers of the Great Pueblo centers. In the last quarter of
the 13th century, a period of drought came to the high plateaus of the
Pueblo people. From the evidence of the tree rings of the time, the
majority of the years between A. D. 1276 and 1299 were so deficient in
rainfall that the Indian corn crops could not have matured. Although
this drought was not actually continuous, and varied between regions,
there was undoubtedly much starvation, and a decimation of the
inhabitants of the great towns, perhaps from enemy raids as well as
hunger. There were undoubtedly numerous migrations from the
drought-stricken areas into places with reliable streams.

These troubled times in the western centers and emigrations therefrom
were responsible in large part for the settling of the Pajarito Plateau
and the canyons of what is now Bandelier National Monument. The streams
of the Jemez Mountains continued to flow during the dry time,
apparently, for large-scale colonization of well-watered canyons such as
Frijoles appears to date from the end of the 13th century. The drift of
the emigrants from the western areas is impossible to trace in detail,
continuing as it did for several generations and originating from many
sources. The Bandelier region may have been something of a melting pot,
assimilating migrants from various distant places. A study of the
pottery types produced in the early days of residence here affords the
best clue to possible origins. Among these types are found precise
copies of decoration styles from a number of the western centers,
indicating that the women potters carried on their respective
traditional decorations upon arrival in their new homes. One particular
kind of black-on-white pottery can hardly be distinguished even by
microscopic examination from a similar ware made in the Mesa Verde

LATE PUEBLO PERIOD.   The upsurge of population and the main
construction activity in Bandelier began after A. D. 1300. Large towns
grew up and down the Rio Grande drainage, and their people achieved in
most respects as high a standard of living as their forebears had known
in the Great Pueblo centers of 200 years earlier. Very possibly the Rio
Grande pueblos might have gone ahead to a new peak of cultural
development if they had not been interrupted and demoralized by the
coming of the Spanish. In 1598, some 400 farmers and soldiers led by Don
Juan de Onate, the first permanent Spanish settlers, came from Mexico,
and with the entry of these land-seekers the ascendancy of the Pueblos
was finished.

                _Life of the Early People at Bandelier_

The typical male inhabitant of Frijoles Canyon in the early 1300’s,
then, was a newcomer to the area. He was a man of Mongoloid cast of
countenance, about 5 feet 4 or 5 inches in height, with medium red-brown
skin and black hair. His wife measured 5 feet or perhaps a little less,
and was inclined to a stout build. A few children and a dog or two
completed the family circle. These newcomers had arrived in their chosen
valley with only such belongings as they could carry on their backs, and
were immediately faced with the problems of wresting a livelihood from a
somewhat grudging environment. In the pattern of all mankind before and
since, this Indian migrant’s first requirements were food, water,
shelter, and clothing for himself and his family.

FOOD.   As a practicing farmer, the man’s chief reliance for food had
been the crops of corn, beans, and squash that he knew how to raise.
Perhaps the family had managed to bring some remnants of their most
recent harvests with them to Frijoles; but these remnants had to be
saved for seed, to insure crops for the coming year. What did the family
eat meanwhile? In the warm season, a diet of sorts could have been
pieced together by gathering various plants and fruit and nut crops.
Spring brought out of the ground several annuals such as the mustard and
bee plants which can be boiled for vegetable-greens while young. A bit
later the local berry crop came into fruit—currants, gooseberries,
chokecherries, and a few raspberries. The ever-present yucca offered its
bananalike pod of fruit toward August. When fall arrived, the
countryside, in good years, abounded with wild produce: pinyon-nuts and
juniper berries, the staples, with trimmings of prickly pears, acorns,
and many other seed and nut crops. The ingenuity of the modern Pueblo
Indian in coaxing sustenance out of his familiar native plants is
extraordinary; very few things that grow are not of some use to him as
food or medicine. It may surely be assumed that the Pueblo ancestor of
600 years ago was equally resourceful.

    [Illustration: _Ancient sandals, made from yucca leaves._]

Fortunately, however, this ancient Frijoles resident was not restricted
to the collection of wild crops to feed his family. He was a hunter as
well as a gatherer. He was armed with bow and arrow, and was undoubtedly
an expert shot. Other tools were snares and nets for small game and
birds. If he did not bring cordage with him on his migration he promptly
wove it from the useful yucca plant, and set out a trapline. Many small
animals which moderns would disdain were important food items to the
early Pueblos: the once-common prairie dog and the still-common pack rat
were eaten in great numbers, if the evidence of bones in ancient trash
heaps can be believed. Perhaps only the skunk escaped the designs of the
early food-seeker, for a reason which was as valid then as it is today.
Of larger animals, the deer was most taken, although elk and antelope
were not immune. The remains of game pits, dug into the soft bedrock to
entrap larger beasts, have been found in several places in the monument.
One of these pits is 15 feet deep with a bottom diameter of 8 feet,
narrowing to a smaller bottleneck opening above. The preparation of such
a trap as this was obviously a laborious community enterprise, and
suggests an occasional community deer-drive to herd the victims across
the concealed mouth of the pit.

All this work of hunting and gathering was secondary to planting and
tending crops, once the growing season arrived. The Pueblos had
discovered, many centuries before, that their best defense against
hunger was in growing corn—so the Frijoles hunter became a farmer in
late May or June. With digging stick and stone hoe, he prepared the
ground to grow his corn, beans, and squash. Not only were the moist
canyon bottoms thus cultivated, but also the mesa-tops wherever a
sufficient depth of soil had accumulated. This agriculture was not
assisted by irrigation systems of any sort that have been discovered
here, although irrigation was practiced on the Mesa Verde a century
earlier. Apparently the local rains in summer were adequate in Frijoles
to bring a crop to maturity. Climatologists believe that there was a
little more precipitation over most of the Southwest 500 years ago than
there is today, and possibly the ancient corn was more
drought-resistant. In any case, in good years the local farmer managed
to harvest enough of his three crops in September to tide his family
over the privations of winter—if no human marauders descended to loot
the granary.

The harvesting of the corn by no means concluded the labors concerned
with it. A place of storage safe from rodents was a first requisite,
bringing about the building of tight-walled chambers both in the cliffs
and in the pueblo understory; then long grinding with stone metate and
mano on the part of the housewife was called for to convert the kernels
to cornmeal. One ancient use of this cornmeal no doubt is duplicated in
the modern Pueblo cooking of Piki—a thin crisp paperlike bread baked on
a hot stone griddle. Traces of such griddle-stoves are to be found in
some of the ancient pueblos.

    [Illustration: _A modern Indian dance, with masked figures, as seen
    by a Pueblo artist._
    Photo of a sketch by Pablita Velarde.]

SHELTER.   With his food needs taken care of, the new Frijoles resident
thought next of shelter from the weather. Either he organized with some
of his neighbors to construct a masonry dwelling in the traditional
style of the west country, or he took shelter in a natural cave of the
tuff cliff. In the latter case, a few days of scraping and chipping at
the soft rock would normally suffice to level off the floor and raise
the ceiling; final trimmings, such as fireplace and rocked-up doorway,
could be completed at leisure. As years passed and the family grew, it
may be assumed that the sooty cave became crowded and was supplemented
with rooms in front, built up from rock fragments lying close by,
mortared together with adobe from down the slope. For ceiling beams,
pinyons and junipers were large enough, since the span needed to be only
6 or 8 feet; even these small timbers were hard enough to cut and trim
with a stone axe. Above the beams, small sticks, mostly willow, were
tightly laid, then grass or bark was spread to take the final layer of
earth which weatherproofed the ceiling, or which made the floor for the
room above. The design of the ceilings in the modern buildings at
monument headquarters is of this type, a style of Pueblo architecture,
largely derived from ancient Indian models, which is commonly seen
throughout the Southwest.

It is uncertain which type of construction is the older—the talus house
or the open pueblo on the canyon floor. But one thing is evident—a
building of the size of Tyuonyi, previously described, was worked on and
occupied by scores of families. In troubled times, this massive
structure would have served better for mutual defense than scattered or
smaller houses.

The rock of which the Bandelier masonry walls were made is not an easy
material to build with. Unlike sandstone or even limestone, it refuses
to fracture into clean straight lines or right angles. To employ it as
building stone, the Indians had to find small miscellaneous blocks and
chip these odd pieces into some semblance of usable shape. This chipping
or pecking was done with hammerstones and axes of harder lava. The work
required to fashion the walls of Tyuonyi, crude though they are, must
have been prodigious.

CLOTHING.   The third basic requirement of the Frijoles newcomer was
clothing, particularly warm clothing to combat the winter. Traveling
into this area in the warm months, presumably, he may or may not have
been able to bring along a full cold-weather wardrobe. If he did not,
the materials to contrive warm clothes were available here for the
taking. Ingenuity and work would have produced the necessary garments.

The obvious coverings were skins and hides of the game animals which the
hunters collected. A bear skin was a most desirable cold-weather
protection—but there were certainly never enough bear in this part of
the country to take care of all the Indian needs. Other long-haired
animals, such as wolf, coyote, fox, and bobcat, no doubt played a minor
part in the clothing schemes of the local people. But the real mainstay
of fur-robe manufacture, of which there is fragmentary evidence in many
ruins, was the lowly rabbit.

    [Illustration: _Frijoles Canyon and the Jemez Mountains._]

Rabbit skins apparently were not used in one piece, but rather were cut
into long strips about one-quarter inch wide. These strips were then
spirally wound about a core of yucca-fiber rope, the resulting fur cable
being woven by loose twining into a pliant and comfortable blanket. The
same technique was used with turkey feathers to produce an equally warm
and much lighter-weight garment. The Bandelier people for many years
domesticated the wild turkey in order to have an abundant supply of
feathers, both for utilitarian and ceremonial garments.

Summer clothing was most conspicuous by its near absence. Since about A.
D. 700, however, the Pueblo world had known cotton and had developed
considerable skill in weaving it, so that the Frijoles dweller of the
1300’s was able to produce such fabric as he required from cotton, which
could be obtained by trade with low-country people only 50 miles down
the Rio Grande. Weaving techniques have apparently been passed down to
the modern Pueblo people from their prehistoric ancestors. Present-day
Pueblo men, particularly in the Hopi towns of Arizona, produce cotton
blankets, belts, and ceremonial clothing of a very high standard, on
looms of the ancient type.

    [Illustration: _A pinyon-juniper woodland in winter._]

The items of wearing apparel most important to the early people,
perhaps, were sandals. In the Southwest it is difficult, if not out of
the question, to go barefoot outdoors; even the toughened Indian feet
could not have been impervious to cactus spines. A great deal of time
and skill was expended, therefore, in the devising of footgear. From the
days of the Basketmakers, the sandal most in favor had been woven of
yucca, the plant with slender swordlike leaves sometimes known as
Spanish-bayonet. Yucca is to be found in one species or another
throughout the one-time land of the Pueblos. Such intensive use was made
of it by the early people that it is almost surprising that it could
have survived. As mentioned previously, yucca was the favorite fiber for
cordage, and essentially it was cordage which made up the best types of
sandals. A twilled weave of small-diameter cords was carefully shaped to
the foot, the edges were neatly bound, then lashings to tie around the
ankle and over the toes were made to finish the job. A sole of this sort
was durable and had remarkable nonskid qualities, as anyone who has worn
modern rope-soled shoes can testify. Cruder, more quickly made sandals
were plaited together from the unworked blades of the narrow-leaf yucca,
the resulting weave looking rather like modern palm-frond matting.

    [Illustration: _Mule deer._]

RELIGION.   It has been said that “Man cannot live by bread alone.”
Nowhere is the truth of this better illustrated than in the history of
the Pueblo Indian who, in spite of appalling difficulties to achieve the
physical sustenance of life, found much time to develop a spiritual
life. The principal evidences of a widespread ancient religion are, of
course, the remains of kivas, found in all the old communities. Although
details of the use of prehistoric kivas cannot be established, some
ideas of their use can be inferred from the part that kivas play in the
modern Pueblo religion. The kiva rituals practiced today are traditional
in the highest degree, and in all likelihood have descended in their
basic form from centuries-old origins.

Hence it is perhaps valid to assume that the following conditions
prevailed here at Bandelier 600 years ago: The principal social and
religious organization was a society or clan; each such organization had
its own kiva; and in their kiva the men of the group conducted
ceremonies to honor and propitiate many deities, which were personified
in birds and beasts, the elements, and natural forces.

Certain parts of these ceremonies were very likely performed outside the
kiva, so that others of the village might also participate—and thus
originated the spectacular public dance dramas which visitors nowadays
so greatly enjoy at the modern pueblos. Indian dances, as the
20th-century Southwest knows them, are usually short-term public
displays of long-term private rituals entailing days of prayer and
chanting in the privacy of the kiva. The best known of these Pueblo
ceremonies is chiefly a prayer for rain—The Hopi Snake Dance. Others may
be prayers for success in the hunt, for productivity of crops, or for
healing the sick.

The complexity of the Pueblo religion is increased by the fact that it
is indivisibly allied to social and family organization. In the Pueblo
scheme of worship, there is not, and seemingly never was, any elite
group of “medicine men” or chief practitioners of religion; each person
has a part in religious observances, his respective role growing more
important as he advances in seniority within a ceremonial organization.
With responsibility for the conduct of worship thus placed on all the
people, religion is an extremely pervasive force and enters into much of
the daily life of each individual.

    [Illustration: _Two hummingbirds on a nest at the end of a pine
    twig. Several species of these birds are common at Bandelier._]

A CAUTION.   In the foregoing attempt to portray the origins and modes
of life of the Bandelier dwellers, it has been necessary to generalize
and abbreviate to a degree which may occasionally lead a reader astray.
Particularly in the matter of dating periods of habitation and
migration, it has been impossible to detail the many exceptions to the
general chronology. It is suggested that the reader who wishes to
investigate further the history of the Pueblo people make reference to
the publications included in the list on pages 43-44. These represent,
of course, only a small fraction of the written material which exists on
the subject. Further publication of new findings will increase our
knowledge and alter present-day ideas as the years go by.

                          _The Natural Scene_

The countryside in and around Bandelier National Monument is wholly
forested and even in dry months is cool and green. Lying at an elevation
of nearly 7,000 feet, about one-third of the monument receives
sufficient rain and snow to support a handsome stand of ponderosa pine.
Over the remaining two-thirds of the area, where the slopes are too warm
and dry for the big pine, the hardy pinyon pine and the juniper produce
the “pygmy forest” growth common in the middle elevations of the

CLIMATE.   Summer at Bandelier is the shower season. From the first of
July until well into September, there is an impressive display of lofty
cumulus clouds and thunderheads almost every afternoon. Fortunately for
your comfort, these cloud displays do not always result in showers on
the monument every day. As is the habit of southwestern thunderstorms,
the rains usually cling to the higher peaks, leaving the midelevations
cooled but not drenched. The spring and fall are relatively dry seasons,
when the skies may remain entirely cloudless for weeks at a time.

In the fall, the great range of temperature from night to day is
particularly noticeable; at monument headquarters a difference of 50°
between afternoon high and night low is not unusual. This condition is
still evident even in midwinter, when the sun may send the thermometer
up far above freezing even after a below-zero night. Partly for this
reason, the snows of winter at Bandelier are not long-lasting. The usual
snowfall of a few inches will quite commonly melt away in a day or so
after the sun has returned. Even the snows of blizzard proportions do
not interfere for long with access to monument headquarters, for the
typical snow of New Mexico is light and dry, easily cleared from the

LIFE ZONES.   There is a great variety of herbs, shrubs, and trees
within the monument, as a result of the varied terrain and the range of
elevation from the bank of the Rio Grande up to the summit of the San
Miguel Mountains on the west boundary. Three life zones, or climatic
zones, are encountered in traveling the central part of the monument;
the Upper Sonoran zone of pinyon and juniper by the river, the
Transition Zone of ponderosa pines on the higher mesas, and, highest of
all, the Canadian Zone of spruce, fir, and aspen near Boundary Peak.
Each of these zones has its characteristic mammals and birds, so that
the population of wildlife is likewise varied and extensive.

    [Illustration: _Group of cave rooms between Long House and
    Ceremonial Cave._]

WILDLIFE.   Of the larger animals, the mule deer are most commonly seen,
becoming quite bold in Frijoles Canyon, where humans are familiar to
them. Black bears are encountered occasionally on the trails in the back
country, but are too wary to invade much-traveled areas. The shyest of
them all, the mountain lion, leaves his footprints here and there, but
is rarely seen. Smaller predators such as coyotes and foxes are
numerous, as is the bobcat. These small hunters get most of their living
from a large population of rabbits and small rodents such as ground
squirrels and wood rats. For the visitor, one of the most popular wild
residents is the tufted-eared Abert squirrel, which circulates
decoratively through the pines and cottonwoods of the public campground
during the summer.

    [Illustration: _A cross section of sandstone overlain by lava,
    Frijoles Canyon._]

The trees lining the Rito de los Frijoles through the Bandelier
campground are a haven for birds as well as squirrels. In some spots,
the shrubbery by the stream becomes jungle-thick, making a perfect
small-bird habitat. Probably the most common of the Frijoles Canyon
songbirds, after the robin, is the black-headed grosbeak. Next in
numbers comes the hermit thrush, followed by warblers, vireos, and
western tanagers. But the bird most commonly heard in the canyon, and
frequently seen around the ruins, is the canyon wren; the melody of his
song brings life and brightness to the crumbled walls and the gloomy
caves of the vanished people.

During the colder part of the year, the forests of Bandelier become the
home of flocks of wild turkeys. These great birds stay high on the Jemez
crest during the summer, but come down into the zone of oaks and pinyons
to feed on nuts and acorns when the crops ripen in the fall. The turkeys
are also very fond of the purple berries of the juniper, as are many
other birds and virtually all of the small rodents of the locality.

Down along the Rio Grande, which makes the southeast boundary for the
main part of the monument, there is a rewarding variety of plants and
animals for those who wish to walk or ride horseback the 3 miles from
headquarters. The river at this point is midway in its passage through
White Rock Canyon, a roadless stretch of steep walls and boulder-strewn
rapids. Here, the fringing willows and cottonwoods are festooned with
wild grape vines; these green tangles provide food and shelter for a
great community of birds, insects, and reptiles. Flycatchers are
everywhere over the river in the summer, taking water-dwelling gnats and
insects from the air. Swallows and swifts further the inroads on the
insect population. On shore, water snakes and an occasional rattler take
the sun and keep watch for the unwary lizard or rodent which will make a
next meal.

The river is a major flyway for migrating water birds, and in the course
of 12 months a large traffic of ducks, geese, and shore birds may be
seen going north or south. There is other wild traffic along the Rio
Grande, mostly evidenced by tracks left on the mudbanks and sand
bars—mink, beaver, and rarely an otter follow the stream in their
water-borne prowlings. The beavers seem to be resident on the monument
in White Rock Canyon, although the Rio Grande is too large to allow them
to build dams; the unmistakable beaver-tooth pattern on sapling stumps
is frequently seen along the riverside. On the headwaters of the Rito de
los Frijoles, about 9 miles above monument headquarters, a permanent
colony of beavers is established, pioneered long ago by some migrant
pair who left the big river to venture up the tiny tributary.

GEOLOGY.   The landscape of the Bandelier area is predominantly one of
cliffs and canyons; as a visitor to the plateau you will be made
conscious of the involved structure and contour of the region in the
course of the auto trip over the approach highway. The impression you
may get on arrival is of a vast confusion of canyons separated by
equally confused mesas and ridges. The topography, however, is not so
mixed as first appearance would indicate, for there is a regularity to
the pattern of the drainage which becomes apparent from study of a map
or aerial photo. The geology, on the other hand, is extremely complex
and can be outlined only in general terms in this handbook.

The dominating feature of the landscape is the uplift of the Jemez
Mountains, forming the western skyline as one approaches the monument
from the east. These mountains are the remains of a great volcano which
erupted during the past million years. As seen from a distance, there is
very little to suggest a volcano in the profile of the present
mountains; only by traveling some 15 miles west of Bandelier into the
central valley of the range can the nature of the eruption be
visualized. Here is a basin of grassland ringed with forested hills, on
a scale so large that its extent is difficult to appreciate. This is the
Valle Grande—“great valley” of the Spanish discoverers, who could not
have known that they had found one of the largest calderas in the world.
Although the Valle Grande now has superficial characteristics of a
volcanic crater, there was no single crater here in the days of the
eruption—rather a vast dome of a mountain which poured from its flanks
such a quantity of lava and other materials that its roof finally fell
in. The dimensions of the caldera, a rough oval, are approximately 16 by
18 miles. It is estimated that at least 10 cubic miles of lava and ashes
were ejected here to produce the cavity which now exists. The ring of
hills around the oval are the remnants of the ancient volcano’s
perimeter, which remained elevated after the central areas collapsed.

The volcano, then, played the chief role in fashioning the landscape of
the Pajarito Plateau. It provided an uplift of the land at the caldera,
by the same means establishing a down-slope from the center outwards,
along which the lavas of the eruption avalanched in fire and smoke.
Interspersed between the flows of heavy lavas were other avalanches and
showerings of volcanic ashes in great depth. When cooled and welded
together as they are today, they are called tuff. This process of
earth-building went on intermittently for many centuries until the
volcano had exhausted its violence and had distributed its many cubic
miles of outpourings in encircling deposits around its flanks. With the
subsidence of volcanism, the great earth-removing force of erosion
became the predominant factor in forming the landscape.

The first rains and snows which fell upon this ancestral uplift found
relatively smooth slopes descending outward from the rim of the central
caldera. These rains and melted snows began to drain downhill, finding
whatever slight channels or irregularities there were in the surface. As
the centuries passed, the little water-channels became gullies, then
ravines, trending east and southeast through the Bandelier quadrant,
down the natural fall-line of the Pajarito slopes. In less than a
million years, the plateau has eroded into its present form and the
drainage pattern of canyons radiating from the Jemez ridge and emptying
into the Rio Grande has become well defined. Such canyons as Frijoles,
then, are the products primarily of water erosion, etched into a
one-time smooth slope of volcanic deposits.

During the early years of this erosion process, the caldera itself
became a lake, entrapping the runoff of waters within its circle. This
body of water eventually found an outlet to the south, through the
guarding rim of the basin, and in its outflow began the present system
of canyons of the Jemez River. A modern example of a caldera containing
a lake is to be seen in Crater Lake National Park in Oregon, but the
Valle Grande Lake had nearly six times as great an area.

    [Illustration: _Headquarters area in Frijoles Canyon, showing, from
    bottom upwards, Tyuonyi Ruin, the Big Kiva, the Museum, and the

Many of the almost sheer canyon walls of the monument provide good cross
sections of the lava and ash deposits exposed in cliffs several hundred
feet high. In simplest form, these cross sections reveal at their base a
flow of lava or basalt, overlain by perhaps 200 vertical feet of tuff,
and capped by another flow of lava forming the rimrock of the mesa-top.
In most places, the alternating layers of lava and tuff were deposited
several successive times, variously distributed, and complicated by
later faulting and interim periods of erosion, so that the
interpretation of the rock layers is not everywhere as simple as in the
example given above.

    [Illustration: _The Lower Falls of the Rito de los Frijoles._]

One difficulty you may encounter in understanding the makeup of the
Pajarito cliffs stems from the very different appearance of the two
opposite walls of such a canyon as Frijoles. In the north wall, facing
the sun, the cliffs stand bold and somewhat barren; in the south and
shadowed wall, there are no prominent cliffs, but rather a rough slope
of boulders overgrown with trees and brush. Because of this contrast, it
might be difficult for you to realize that the two walls are made up of
nearly identical rocks. The difference in appearance is due simply to
the difference in exposure. The north wall, hot and dry in the sun and
subject to extremes of temperature, has never had a heavy vegetative
cover and has eroded into a cliff; the south wall, relatively cool and
moist, has been able to support a growth of plants which have held and
produced soil sufficient to mask the underlying rocks.

As mentioned earlier, the geology of this locality is complicated to
such a degree that the foregoing discussion should be considered as only
a general outline. The whole story of the Jemez volcano has not yet been
worked out in detail, for the eruptive activity was on a scale so vast
and involved such complex forces that geologists are continuing to
evolve new concepts as new facts come to light.

                          _Guide to the Area_

FRIJOLES CANYON.   Monument headquarters are at the terminus of the
approach road, on the floor of Frijoles Canyon. This center of
development is the focal point of activity throughout the year. Listed
below are the features of interest to be found in and around the
headquarters area; reference to the map on pages 20-21 will help to
locate the points mentioned.

1. _Administration Building and Museum._ This building contains a
reception information desk manned by park rangers and a lobby from which
visitors leave to walk to the ruins. Reference books are available from
the monument library on request, and a stock of publications on
pertinent subjects is for sale.

The museum occupies a part of the headquarters building. Three rooms of
exhibits present Indian artifacts and information on the life and
origins of the prehistoric people, and on the modern Pueblo Indians of
the vicinity. A visit to the museum is advisable before making a trip to
any of the ruins, since the exhibits provide a background against which
the ruins are better understood and appreciated.

2. _Tyuonyi Ruin_ lies about 500 yards by trail up the canyon from
headquarters. This ruin is one of the principal way-stations on the loop
trail over which the trips are routed. Other features on this same loop
are an unexcavated ruin, the Big Kiva, Sun House, Cave Kiva, and Long

3. _Ceremonial Cave_ is reached by trails either along the Rito or along
the north cliffs, approximately 1 mile above headquarters. A walk to
this cave is very popular with hikers of modest ambitions, and is
particularly rewarding to the photographer. There are a number of tall
ladders to climb to reach the cave; consequently, rubber-soled shoes and
a degree of caution are recommended.

4. The _Upper Falls_ are downstream from headquarters about a mile and a
half. The trail follows the Rito down through some of the handsomest
forest glades on the monument, crossing the stream several times. The
falls, in a deep lava cleft, are about 80 feet high. The _Lower Falls_,
a quarter-mile farther down, are only half as high. Along the trail
between the two falls, a geologically interesting exposure of the canyon
wall is conspicuous.

OTOWI SECTION.   Two large ruins, Tsankawi and Otowi, are the principal
features to visit on this detached section of the monument. The main
access road from Santa Fe to monument headquarters passes through this
section and close to the Tsankawi Ruin. Distance from this ruin to
headquarters is 16 miles.

5. _Otowi Ruin_ lies between Pueblo and Bayo Canyons on a disused road.
Inquire of a park ranger before attempting to make the trip.

6. _Tsankawi Ruin_ is reached by a spur road and foot trail branching
from State Route 4. At the end of the road, a stand contains booklets
for the self-guiding trail which leads up onto the mesa to the ruins, a
round trip walk of about three-quarters of a mile.

THE BACK COUNTRY.   A network of some 50 miles of foot and horseback
trails reaches out from monument headquarters into the roadless southern
areas of the monument. Hikers and horseback parties frequently make a
loop trip of 2 days, visiting the Stone Lions and Yapashi Ruins, and
spending the night at Base Camp in Capulin Canyon, where a National Park
Service fire guard is on duty during the summer. The return trip may be
made past Painted Cave to the Rio Grande, then up White Rock Canyon to
Frijoles Canyon and point of beginning.

    [Illustration: _Frijoles Canyon Lodge, one of several verdant

ADJACENT POINTS OF INTEREST.   The _Valle Grande_ is 15 miles west from
the Frijoles Canyon checking station, on State Route 4, toward Cuba, N.
Mex. This drive across the Jemez ridge cannot be made in the winter, for
the road is never cleared of snow.

_Los Alamos_, the atomic city, borders the monument on the north. At the
time of this writing (1955), visitors are not allowed to enter the gates
of Los Alamos without special passes.

_San Ildefonso_, the modern Indian Pueblo nearest to the monument, will
make an interesting side trip when you either enter or leave Bandelier.
The village lies one mile north of State Route 4, just east of the Rio
Grande. This is the home of Maria Martinez, the woman whose
pottery-making skill has won nationwide awards and who was instrumental
in reestablishing the production of high-quality pottery in the Rio
Grande pueblos.

                      _How to Reach the Monument_

Bandelier National Monument is 46 miles west of Santa Fe, N. Mex., by
way of U. S. 285 to Pojoaque, then left onto State Route 4. Coming from
Taos and the north, leave U. S. 285 at Espanola, turning right across
the Rio Grande. During the summer, access is possible from the south via
Jemez Springs and through the Valle Grande on unimproved gravel roads.

                           _About Your Visit_

The monument is open every day of the year. The administration building
and museum are open daily from 8 a. m. to 5 p. m. (from 8 a. m. to 9 p.
m. in summer). Monument literature is available at the reception desk.

Interpretive services include self-guided tours to the principal ruins
of Frijoles Canyon. Make application at the reception desk for the
booklet and map which describe the walk.

Two other interpretive trails are provided, one visiting the ruins of
Rainbow House immediately down canyon from headquarters; the other, in
the Otowi Section, climbing to the mesa on which Tsankawi is situated.
At the latter place, a booklet will guide you along the trail and tell
you the archeological story, point by point.

Each evening from mid-June until Labor Day a program is presented at the
administration building by a ranger or archeologist of the monument
staff. The subjects of these informal talks range through many fields,
from wildlife or botany to Indian ceremonials. Slides or movies are
usually shown.

A campground is maintained near headquarters along the Rito de los
Frijoles. Campsites are available in the shade of the grove which lines
the stream; and fireplaces, tables, and firewood are provided.
Housetrailers can be accommodated, and free toilet, shower, and laundry
facilities are nearby.

Frijoles Canyon Lodge and Restaurant, directly opposite the
administration building, provide excellent accommodations and meals
under a concession contract from the National Park Service. The lodge is
built of native stone in pueblo architecture, surrounding several
landscaped patios; it is one of the more picturesque resorts of the
Santa Fe region. The season for these accommodations is May 1 to October
15; no meals or rooms are available in the monument during the balance
of the year. For reservations and further information write Frijoles
Canyon Lodge, Bandelier National Monument, Santa Fe, N. Mex.

Horseback riding is very popular over the 50-mile network of trails. A
saddle-horse concession is operated from April into October. Although
the majority of riders take horses for the day only, overnight trips
into the back country can be arranged.

                   _Establishment and Administration_

Adolph Bandelier, a Swiss-American historian and ethnologist, gave the
first prominence to the Pajarito Plateau ruins as a result of his
explorations and descriptions during the 1880’s. Around the turn of the
century a bill was introduced in Congress to create here a Cliff Cities
National Park, it being apparent that some protection of the area was
necessary to reduce the vandalism of the ruins. The bill, however,
failed to pass. Presently, attention was again drawn to the area by the
archeological work in Frijoles Canyon from 1909 to 1912, directed by the
late Dr. Edgar L. Hewett. The renewed interest resulted in a proposal by
the Secretary of Agriculture, in 1915, that a national monument be
created. The Smithsonian Institution strongly supported this idea and
recommended the name Bandelier in honor of the pioneer student of the
region. The Secretary of Interior concurred, and as a result, on
February 11, 1916, Bandelier National Monument was established by
Presidential proclamation.

From 1916 until 1932, the monument was administered by the Forest
Service of the United States Department of Agriculture. In 1952, the
area was transferred to the National Park Service of the United States
Department of the Interior, with a small adjustment of boundaries. The
total area is now slightly over 27,000 acres. Since 1932, a National
Park Service superintendent has been resident at monument headquarters
in Frijoles Canyon. The monument has a small complement of rangers and
fire guards for protection of the ruins, the wildlife, and the forests;
in the summer, several temporary rangers are employed to aid in
archeological interpretation.

Requests for further information should be addressed to the
Superintendent, Bandelier National Monument, Santa Fe, N. Mex.

                            _Related Areas_

A number of other southwestern areas in the National Park System have
been established for the protection of prehistoric structures. These
include Mesa Verde National Park, in southwestern Colorado, and the
following national monuments: Aztec Ruins, Chaco Canyon, and Gila Cliff
Dwellings, in New Mexico; Canyon de Chelly, Casa Grande, Montezuma
Castle, Navajo, Tonto, Tuzigoot, Walnut Canyon, and Wupatki, in Arizona.

                 _Glossary of Spanish and Indian Words_

  Caldera    (cahl-DEHR-ah)      Spanish     Caldron—a volcano that
                                             has collapsed upon itself
  Canada     (cahn-YAH-dah)      Spanish     Wide shallow canyon
  Chaco      (CHAH-coh)          Unknown     A canyon in northwestern
                                             New Mexico
  Cochiti    (COH-chee-tee)      Indian      A pueblo south of
  Frijoles   (free-HOH-less)     Spanish     Beans
  Hopi       (HOH-pee)           Indian      A pueblo Indian tribe
  Jemez      (HAY-mess)          Indian      A mountain range west of
                                             Bandelier and an Indian
  Kiva       (KEE-vah)           Indian      Ceremonial chamber or room
  Mano       (MAH-noh)           Spanish     Hand
  Mesa       (MAY-sah)           Spanish     Table; hence, a tableland
  Metate     (Meh-TAH-teh)       Spanish     A large grinding stone
                                 from Aztec
  Otowi      (OH-toh-wee)        Indian      A ruin in Bandelier
  Pajarito   (PAH-hah-REE-toh)   Spanish     Little bird. The plateau
                                             between Jemez Mountains
                                             and the Rio Grande
  Pueblo     (Pooh-EB-loh)       Spanish     Village or people
  Rio, Rito  (REE-oh)            Spanish     River, creek
  San        (San                Spanish     A pueblo near Bandelier
  Ildefonso  ILL-de-FON-soh)
  San Juan   (san WHAHN)         Spanish     A river and a pueblo
  Tyuonyi    (tchew-OWN-yee)     Indian      A ruin in Frijoles Canyon
  Valle      (VAH-yeh            Spanish     Great Valley
  Grande     GRAHN-deh)
  Viga       (VEE-gah)           Spanish     Roofbeam

                   _Suggestions for Further Reading_

  Bandelier, Adolph F. _The Delight Makers._ Dodd, Mead and Co., New
          York City.
  Bolton, Herbert E. _Coronado, Knight of Pueblos and Plains._
          Whittlesey House and the University of New Mexico Press,
          Albuquerque, N. Mex.
  Butcher, Devereux. _Exploring Our Prehistoric Indian Ruins._ National
          Parks Association, Washington, D. C.
  Dutton, Bertha P. _New Mexico Indians Pocket Handbook._ New Mexico
          Association on Indian Affairs, Santa Fe, N. Mex.
  Hewett, Edgar L. _The Pajarito Plateau and its Ancient People._
          University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, N. Mex.
  McGregor, John C. _Southwestern Archaeology._ John Wiley and Son, New
          York City.
  Stallings, W. S. _Dating Prehistoric Ruins by Tree Rings._ Tree Ring
          Society, University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz.
  Tilden, Freeman. _The National Parks: What They Mean To You and Me._
          Alfred Knopf, New York City.
  Underhill, Ruth. _First Penthouse Dwellers of America._ Laboratory of
          Anthropology, Santa Fe, N. Mex.
  Wormington, H. M. _Prehistoric Indians of the Southwest._ Denver
          Museum of Natural History, Denver, Colo.

                         NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
                       HISTORICAL HANDBOOK SERIES

(Price lists of National Park Service publications may be obtained from
the Superintendent of Documents, Washington 25, D.C.)

  Chickamauga and Chattanooga Battlefields
  Custer Battlefield
  Custis-Lee Mansion, the Robert E. Lee Memorial
  Fort Laramie
  Fort McHenry
  Fort Necessity
  Fort Pulaski
  Fort Raleigh
  Fort Sumter
  George Washington Birthplace
  Guilford Courthouse
  Hopewell Village
  Jamestown, Virginia
  Kings Mountain
  The Lincoln Museum and the House Where Lincoln Died
  Manassas (Bull Run)
  Montezuma Castle
  Morristown, a Military Capital of the Revolution
  Petersburg Battlefields
  Scotts Bluff
  Statue of Liberty
  Vanderbilt Mansion

    [Illustration: Cover sketch of the big ruin]

                          Transcriber’s Notes

—Retained publication information from the printed edition: this eBook
  is public-domain in the country of publication.

—In the text versions only, text in italics is delimited by

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