Week of September 07, 2003
New Mexico is a wealth of Native American (IE: Pueblo people) history and ruins.
It is very easy to spend many days exploring the architecture left behind by the
natives that thrived in the New Mexico/Colorado area from 800 A.D. through 1250
A.D. The Puebloan cultures created organized villages, communal "Great Houses",
refuse areas, sewer systems, ceremonial rooms, etc. So much for the thought of them being
We first explored Bandelier National Monument. This archeological treasure is made up of
cave homes that were hand excavated by the Pueblo people sometime in the 800's.
These caves were interconnected and overlooked a stream and surrounding forest.
They climbed up and into their homes by use toeholds and footholds they created
in the sandstone. They also built structures up against the rock walls,
two and three stories high as well as constructing "field" homes out of stone.
from cliff homes
Louise in typical
|Typical structures built
onto wall. Holes were
dug into wall and wooden
poles were inserted as a
brace for the roof of the
structure - see the structure
imprint still visible on the
feet - so
Our next ruin was Chaco Culture National Historical Park. These ruins were similar to Bandelier as the structures were built around the same time and by
the Puebloan people that were influenced by similar architectural techniques. The
only difference was the Chaco location did not have a soft sandstone to dig
caves, but they had an abundance of shale that they could chip and cut for
The Chacoan created a culture that was unlike its neighbors. Its
monumental scale of its architecture, the complexity of its community life, the
high level of its social organization, its far-reaching commerce, its extensive
road system - all have been evidenced by the ruins and the artifacts found.
left on wall -
see pole insert
holes for roofs
is the Kiva or
see wood poles for
headers and see
retaining wall for
village raised 12'
above desert floor
Fortunately, Chaco was worth the horrendous 16 mile "graded" dirt road that
took 1 1/2 hours to cross...yes, that is an average of 10 mph and we still felt
as though we were shaking apart at the seams.
Main area is
call the "Plaza"
Great Houses were oriented to
solar, lunar, and cardinal
directions and "planned"
Ok, last ruins. As my father advisedly said to me "you will get ruined
on ruins" and he was correct. We visited Mesa Verde National Park in Southwestern
Colorado as the final ruin stop. These ruins are a combination of the
previous two in that they are structures built within natural alcoves and caves .
When you see the pictures, you should see the similarities.
rooms in ground - Kivas
This site has 200 rooms
tucked into the
||These rooms go
back over 60'
||Wall as it was originally
left, loose stones on top
1200+ years ago
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