Cliff Dwellings: Bandelier

Mesa Verde is, insofar as I’m aware, the most famous of the cliff dwellings (I’ve not visited it)–but there are lots of them throughout the southwest. This was a major civilization, after all. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit some of the preserved cliff dwelling sites — in particular the Gila and Bandelier. Today’s post is about Bandelier.

The first photos offers a view from above the valley — and of the creek which runs through it (one of my works-in-progress is connected to a fictional tributary of the creek).

From what I understand (and I am not an expert in this!) Bandelier was occupied particularly during the western calendar centuries of 13-15 BCE. Most of the peoples dwelling there had begun to move down to live near the river generally known as the Rio Grande or Rio Bravo — before Europeans arrived in the area. They’re now known collectively to non-indigenous Americans as the Pueblo, although they are a number of separate, related nations.

These three images show some of the remains of a village built between the cliff and the creek. The last photo is of the village from not-very high up on the cliff. Its my understanding there are many of these villages scattered throughout the park–most unexcavated and likely to remain so (particularly since excavation is inherently destructive).

This last set of images is of the main cliff dwellings and/or evidence of them (one shows part of the cliff from the village). They don’t properly present the scale, but this is a very impressive site which reflects the complexity and ingenuity of the people who built it and lived there. I’m not particularly fond of heights, so I wouldn’t have done well (and admit to not having climbed up any of the ladders)


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