These cave rooms, classified as cavates (CAVE-eights) by Edgar Lee Hewett, an early archeologist, were dug out of the cliff wall. Even though the tuff is soft it would have been quite a task to carve them using only stone tools. Most cavates had stone rooms built in front of them, such as the one you will see at the next stop. The lower walls of cavates were usually plastered and painted while the ceilings were smoke-blackened. Smoking the ceilings hardened the volcanic tuff and made it less crumbly.
Last updated: February 24, 2015