• Bandelier Short-horned Lizard

    Bandelier

    National Monument New Mexico

Main Loop Trail Stop 18

Main loop Trail Stop 18

Jemez Mountains are to the west, they provided Obsidian to the Ancestral Pueblo people

NPS Photo by Stella Carroll

Standing in the middle of the canyon, you can look up and see the Jemez Mountains in the distance. Volcanic activity provided the Ancestral Pueblo people with raw stone, such as obsidian and fine-grained basalt, essential to daily life and trade. Obsidian breaks with sharp edges producing excellent knives, scrapers, and arrowheads. The much denser basalt was used axe heads and projectile points, as well as manos and metates. Obsidian taken from the Jemez Mountains has been identified in the Central Plains and northern Mexico, indicating a broad trade network. The volume of obsidian flakes found within Tyuonyi indicates the production of obsidian tools was an important activity in the village.

Trade items were brought to Frijoles Canyon from distant places such as Mexico. These items included shells, special stones, live parrots as depicted in petroglyphs and feather remains, and worked goods such as copper bells. The exchange of ideas, as a byproduct of trade and travel, is also prevalent in Bandelier. Rock markings, such as the Awanyu seen at stop 13, may indicate that there was interaction between the Ancestral Pueblo people and people in Mexico.Construction techniques, such as those found in the Big Kiva, mirror those found in Colorado Plateau sites such as Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde.

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Did You Know?

Pinon cone with nuts

Pinon nuts are rich in vitamins, flavor, and calories (3,000 per pound). Although produced in abundance only every 7 to 10 years, these nuts were a valuable native food source for the Ancestral Pueblo people. More...