Bandelier | Ancestral Inhabitants | Frijoles Village | Frijoles Petroglyphs | Painted Cave
Tsankawi | Tsankawi Cave Dwellings | Tsankawi Petroglyphs


Chronology of Events
1.6 Million & 1.2 Million Years Ago
Tremendous series of volcanic eruptions (600 times larger than Mount St. Helens) from the Jemez Mountains create the Pajarito Plateau.
8000 BC
According to archeological evidence, humans first occupy the Nothern Rio Grande Valley around this time.
600 AD
Beginning of Develomental Period in Pueblo Cultural Sequence in Rio Grande Valley. Temporary sites appear around Sante Fe area.
Mid 1100s
Ancestral Pueblo people settle on the Pajarito Plateau and in Frjoles Canyon. They lived in the canyon until the mid 1500s.
Captain Andres Montoya Petitions the Spanish Crown for the land grant between Ancho and Alamo Conyons, which includes Frijoles Canyon. His Descendents remain until 1811 when the Spanish authorities order the area cleared because it had purportedly become a "den of outlaws".
People from Cochiti Pueblo guide historian and ethnologist Adolph Bandelier to their ancestral homes Frijoles Canyon. Describes the canyon in his journal as the "grandest thing I ever saw."

Bandelier National Monument

The drums beat no more, and the songs are now silent. Yet the spirit of those who lived here continues to dwell in the magic that is Bandelier National Monument. Natural beauty and years of culture bring to life the enchanted land of tan cliffs, forested mesas, and deep gorges.
-- Cecilia Shields

Perched on the eastern slopes of the Jemez Mountains in the high desert of nothern New Mexico, Bandelier National Monument possesses a wealth of natural and cultural beauty. Evidence of Native American activity dates back 10,000 years, but the most visible signs are the remains of ancestral Pueblo settlements scattered throughout the park and its surrounding area. Sometime after 1100 A.D., ancestral Pueblo people first arrived in the ajarito Plateau (home of present day Bandelier) and settled in the area's many canyons and mesas. One of the largest and best preserved settlements, called Tyuonyi, lies in Frijoles Canyon. Here there was once a circular community house that probably stood three stories tall and contained over 400 rooms. Just above are cliff dwellings, known as cavates, which housed families for hundreds of years. Built directly into the volcanic tuff, cavates are found in canyons across the plateau. The Pueblo people left Frijoles sometime in the 1500s, concentrating their settlements along the Rio Grande valley a few miles to the east.

It was not until October 1880 when Adolph Bandelier, for whom the Monument is named, and his Cochiti Indian guide Juan José Montoya ventured into Frijoles Canyon that the magic of Bandelier was revealed to the world beyond the area Pueblos and early Spanish settlers (who moved into the area in the 1740s). Proclaiming it "the grandest thing I ever saw," Bandelier paved the way for others to explore the Pajarito Plateau and document the area's rich cultural history. Indeed, individuals such as Edgar Lee Hewett played a defining role in the development of modern archeologocal techniques with their work at Bandelier in the early 20th Century.

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