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Photographer's Note

Bandelier's human history extends back for over 10,000 years when nomadic hunter-gatherers followed migrating wildlife across the mesas and canyons. By 1150 CE Ancestral Pueblo people began to build more permanent settlements. Reminders of these past times are still evident in the park as are the strong ties of the modern Pueblo people. By 1550 the Ancestral Pueblo people had moved from their homes here to pueblos along the Rio Grande (Cochiti, San Felipe, San Ildefonso, Santa Clara, Santo Domingo).

Of particular interest in National Monument 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 replastering.

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Viewed: 2020
Points: 4
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Additional Photos by JC Ramos (jramos) Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 47 W: 26 N: 141] (507)
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