Thursday, May 18, 2017

BANDELIER NATIONAL MONUMENT

Bandelier National Monument is 50 miles northwest of Santa Fe, New Mexico.  It is largely a wilderness area that includes a significant number of archeological sites created by cliff-dwelling Native Americans generally during the period from 1100 to 1400 CE.  We visited the area on our recent trip to New Mexico.  There are a number of fairly long hiking trails in the monument, but we confined our visit to the Main Loop, a trail that runs past a number of the ruins but is only about 1-1/4 miles in length.

The cliffs that were used for dwellings appear to be sedimentary rock but actually consist of tuff, a compared volcanic ash.  It is porous and much softer than sandstone and therefore very workable for creating cavities for shelters and other purposes.  Here are some examples of that.




The tuff was also cut into blocks that were then used to build other structures, as in the following.





Many of the cliff shelters were accessible by ladders extending up from the trail.  They, of course, are of recent vintage.



It did not rain during our hike, though the skies were threatening the entire time.


And, in fact, it began raining just as we were finishing our hike.

John

1 comment:

  1. BANDELIER NATIONAL MONUMENT was one of the most interesting set of pictures. Just think natives dwelt in the caves during the period of 1100-1400. Did you climb up into the caves?

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