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Published on Dec 7, 2007
Adolph Bandelier, the first anthropological scholar of the southwest, explored Frijoles Canyon, New Mexico in 1880. The oldest site in Bandelier National Monument dates back to 2010 B.C. Around 1100 A.D. Pueblo Indians began inhabiting Frijoles Canyon and the Pajarito Plateau. Around 1300 A.D. about a dozen large villages existed in the area. One of them, Tyuonyi, is accessible within the Monument near the visitor's center. The remnants of cliff cave dwellings dug into the volcanic tuft, along the canyon walls, suggest an extensive multi-story village. Some of these Pueblo structures with labyrinths of caves and rooms were occupied for over 400 years. Approximately 3,000 archaeological sites are being documented within the Monument. An unexcavated village, Tsankawi, lies 11 miles away in a separate section of the Monument. The pueblos and cliff cave dwellings were vacated in the 1500's. Part of the Monument has wilderness designation. Visitors can overnight in the backcountry with a permit. Family and group campgrounds are also available. Slideshow by John Wanserski.