moccasined feet going to and from the northern villages
n miles distant. The steam
of hatred betw
in the great period jealous
-groups could h
ave cooled off but
completely. Toward the clo
- se of the fifteenth century primitive
- wa farmers, it seems, had again settled in Frijoles Canyon.
They went to work in earnest this Ume, building houses,
not with mud walls which would wash down when it rained,
- with walls of stone, which type of construction their
predecessors had begun.
- Some of the caves occupied by the
- arlier people could have eroded aw
- ay while others could
have been re
- -hewn by these later occupants.. Who knows?
Crumbling remains of old talu
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s houses might
have been leveled
off at the base of the cliff and new homes built over
them. Indian men carved the heavy stones into square and
rectangular blocks with stone axes.
The stones lay
almost flat and the masons
did not have to be too
careful in their fashioning
because small pieces of
of rock hammered tight in
the joints would hold the
blocks steady. Th
were laid on footings of
smooth-wom river pebbles.
Block after block was
carved and laid into structures
feet high. Indian women carried water from the
little river in ollas on the tops of their heads and trudged day
after day up the steep slo
pes to the cliff. They gathered clay,
perhaps not from Frijoles Canyon, because it was hard to
find. They might have traveled miles for enough to appl
thin coating of wash over the stone walls of their homes.
Indian men labored with stone axes to fell the trunks
of pines which they used in buildi
ng roofs to their houses.
They gouged holes out of the soft cliff to insert the ends of
roof beams and sealed them in tightly with mud mortar.
Across these vigas they laid small po
les. Many miles were
covered to obtain long slender canes and cat-tail stems from
the muddy low banks of the Rio Gr
ande for the next roof
layer. Then pine needles and brush supplied the next coat.
Something leafy had to hold the thick
mud coats which
were smoothed flat over the top. Sometimes Indian houses
had doors in the front walls
mes they did not.
It all depended upon the wish of the individual builder.
Most of the houses had two-pole ladders of pine. Rungs
were lashed down tight with w
- illows, pliable reeds
- or even
strings of ra
- whide or rope made from t
- he yucca fiber. By
means of ladde
- rs the Indian could clim
b to his roof-top
and go down through a small hatchway or opening. This
gave added protection against hostile groups. In any one
of many cavate or house rooms was a fireplace. In the ceiling
above was an opening for the escape of the smoke. Cliff
dwellings were smoky places regardless of the type or style.
Time developed the terraced community apartment
house for the prehistoric Pueblo Indian in the cliff as well
in the ope
came quite late in the evolution of house types at
Frijoles. Narrow mud walls of such poor quality as were
built in earlier times at Tyuonyi would never have held two
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- ries but the new walls of fashioned
- rock would h
- old them
because they were more stable. It stands to reason that when
Contact your e and mortar were laid or into a wall, the process of drying