SIA0182: Ceremonial Cave

Photographer:Calvin J. Hamilton
Copyright:© 2003 Calvin J. Hamilton
Location:Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico

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For years this site was called Ceremonial Cave, which suggested it was used primarily for religious purposes. In fact, the alcove sheltered the homes of several ancestral Pueblo families. As many as 23 rooms, in places two stories high, were inhabited between 1250-1600. At the front of the cave is a reconstructed kiva, a room for religious activity, teaching, and meetings.

Climbing up and down ladders and hand-and-toe-hold trails, Pueblo men farmed crops or hunted game in the canyon and on the mesa tops. Women prepared and dried foods, cared for childrin, and collected and carried drinking water and firewood to their lofty home. The spirits of the Pueblo ancestors still live here.

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