The prehistoric people who lived here were dependent on their immediate environment for everything they needed, including food, clothing, shelter, and medicine. The environment within Frijoles Canyon has several characteristics which made it a good place for the Ancestral Pueblo people to live. Frijoles Creek is a permanent stream, a rare commodity in the arid Southwest. A reliable source of water, diverse vegetation, and an abundance of wildlife supplied the needs of some of the earliest inhabitants of Frijoles Canyon. As people began more permanent settlements, agriculture appeared. Beans, corn, and squash were grown in the canyon bottom, in shallow basins, on side slope terraces and on the mesa tops, where the Ancestral Puebloans developed water conserving methods. Shelters could be made by carving a cave into the soft cliff, or by building a home of stone blocks cut from tuff.