February 9, 2015 Santa Fe
Morning Destination: Bandelier National Park
Pueblos! The Taos Pueblo is famous for its shunning of modern conveniences and living conditions; rather they live as their ancestors did reminding us of the Amish. Fortunately, the pueblo is open to the public so that non-natives can view a totally different lifestyle. Unfortunately, during the month of February the Taos Puebo is closed to the public due to private ceremonies and rituals taking place. Bandelier National Park is our choice to see the ruins of ancient pueblos!
What a treasure Bandelier is! The park is nestled in Frijoles (free-HOH-lace) Canyon, a wonderfully ideal place for the Ancestral Pueblo people to settle. Descendants of these ancients, circa 10,000 years ago, live today in Cochiti Pueblo just south of Bandelier.
In Bandelier there are two specific living quarters of these ancient peoples shown: 1.) pueblos on the canyon floor and 2.) cave dwellings.
Visitors to Bandelier can view on the canyon floor the amazing labyrinth of stone foundation remnants of the Tyuonyi (QU-weh-nee) pueblo. These remnants display the supporting walls which would have been smooth-plastered with mud. Ends of logs jutting from the plaster would reveal the supporting beams between first and second floors. Ladders would lean against the sides of the pueblo providing access to roof-top doorways. Shockingly these small rooms are only about 4x8 ft., but it is assumed that they were probably used as first-floor storage of food stuffs and to house turkeys (mostly for their feathers).
The cave dwellers of Bandelier had the advantage of a south-facing sun to warm their homes during the winter. A cave kiva (cavate) was a social, ritual gathering place. There was no “separation of church and state”. Petroglyphs adorn the face of the cliff, but you must look hard; they are not obvious!
What a gorgeous park!
Lou and Bonnie Janelle (LBJ) are career professionals who are currently pursuing life-long interests in photography and digital imaging techniques, respectively.