• western bluebirds

    Bandelier

    National Monument New Mexico

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  • Access by Shuttle Bus Only

    Through October 27, 2014 all access to the most visited part of the park, Frijoles Canyon, will be via a mandatory shuttle bus from the nearby community of White Rock from 9 AM - 3 PM daily. Private cars may drive in before 9 AM or after 3 PM. More »

Fibrolite Axes

fibrolite axe head

Fibrolite axe heads are made of a type of fibrolite found only near Truchas Peak.

Photo by Sally King

Fibrolite is related to such minerals as sillimanite, kyanite, and muscovite. It is composed of highly metamorphosed shale, which started out as clays with quartz, calcite, feldspar, and other components.

Fibrolite axes are made from a type of fibrolite found only in an area near Truchas Peaks. Not only is the stone itself distinctive, but the form into which it has been ground is also instantly recognizable. Most noticeable is the sharp blade and the spiral groove where the handle is attached.

 
fibrolite axe head

Due to limited availability of fibrolite, the location of fibrolite axes may tell much about Ancestral Pueblo trade networks.

Photo by Sally King

Because the fibrolite is found only in one place, axes made from it provide information about early trade networks. Starting in the area around the Truchas Peaks, fibrolite axes were apparently traded to such widespread locations as Frijoles Canyon in Bandelier, San Lazaro Pueblo in the Galisteo Basin, San Ildefonso and other pueblos along the Rio Grande, and the Hopi villages in Arizona.
 
fibrolite axe head
Fibrolite axes are distinctive in design with a sharp blade and a spiral groove where the handle is attached.
Photo by Sally King

Did You Know?

Three-leaf Sumac

A drink that tastes a lot like lemonade can be made from the berries of the Three-leaf Sumac. From this, the bush gets its common name, the Lemonade Bush.