The scientific tourist #257 — a peek at Tyuonyi

Two images for you today, both from the ruins of Tyuonyi in Bandelier National Monument.  First, the view from the nearby cliff dwellings:

Tyuonyi from the cliffs

Tyuonyi (pronounced QU-weh-nee), the little pueblo-style village ruins on the valley floor, contained roughly 400 rooms and was once home to about 100 people.  The walls are simply made of local materials — cut stone from the tuff cliffs nearby, with mud mortar and plaster.  Based on tree-ring dating, construction on Tyuonyi started more than 600 years ago, at the same time as the cliff dwellings were occupied.

Tyuonyi, up close

It’s not known what determined who lived in Tyuonyi, and who lived in the cliff dwellings.  It may have been a function of clan membership, or even just personal preference.

It is known, though, that Frijoles Canyon (where Tyuonyi and the cliff dwellings are sited) forms a rough boundary between Tewa-speaking puebloans to the north, and Keres-speakers to the south.  And the name “Tyuonyi” is a Keres term for a place of meeting or treaty.

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