On Dwelling in Cliffs

Finally, the long awaited photos of Bandelier National Monument!  (Yes, probably more drama than it’s worth but it does seem a bit of an accomplishment).

This beautiful place is in the care of the U.S. Park Service. It’s had a rough couple of years, with a forest fire and flash flood in 2011, so the park is open but the visitor’s center is not. There is still quite a lot of evidence of the flood, which ran through the bottom of the valley but luckily did not damage the cliff dwellings that are a main focus of visitor attention.

Because I have so many photos of this lovely place and I don’t think I can whittle it down to just a few, I’m going to break this post into several days and let you savor a few each day. Hope you don’t mind.  We were lucky enough to be leaving at what photographers call the Golden Hour and the light for some of the later photos was just lovely.

But first, the cliff dwellings, as promised! The history of this area dates back over 10,000 years with the first human habitants, and by about 1150 the Pueblo people had begun building permanent settlements. The cliff dwellings in Bandelier are among these settlements.

This view of the side of the cliff shows a number of dwellings that were carved out into the rock as well as a reconstruction of the lower level dwellings with pole roofs made with adobe. Not all of the homes were for people; the Anasazi also raised turkeys in some of the higher openings.

In one section, you can walk alongside one of the reconstructed dwellings, as you see my husband doing here.

Many of the dwellings were multi-level.

Another view of the cliff dwellings.

The dwellings were accessed by pole ladders.

If you look carefully above this set of dwellings, you can see petroglyphs carved into the wall.

This photo has more petroglyphs and also shows the line of holes where the poles were set in to support the roofs.

I hope you enjoy the pictures – I’ll post more late next week as I’ll be gone for a conference for the first few days. In the meantime, happy weekend everyone!


One thought on “On Dwelling in Cliffs

  1. Dana says:

    Mardee, thank you so much for sharing this wonderful piece of history with us. Very interesting! I am looking forward to seeing the rest of the photos.

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