Jon Burch Photography
Photograph - Digital Capture/film
How would you like to have to climb a 128 foot ladder to go to the bathroom? If you lived in Alcove House, you might have to. Formerly known as Ceremonial Cave, this alcove is located 140 feet above the floor of Frijoles Canyon in Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico. Once home to approximately 25 Ancestral Pueblo people, the elevated site is now reached by 4 wooden ladders and a number of stone stairs. In Alcove House, there is a reconstructed kiva and niches of former homes. Imagine climbing these ladders, carrying whatever supplies were needed, to this lofty home.
Bandelier National Monument is a 33,677-acre National Monument preserving the homes of the Ancestral Pueblo People. The monument named after Swiss anthropologist Adolph Bandelier, who researched the cultures of the area and was designated a National Monument on February 11, 1916. The National Park Service co-operates with surrounding pueblos, other federal agencies and state agencies to manage the park.
In October 1976, roughly seventy percent of the monument, 23,267 acres became part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. The park's elevations range from about 5,000 feet at the Rio Grande to over 10,200 feet at the summit of Cerro Grande. in The Valles Caldera National Preserve adjoins the monument on the north and west, extending into the Jemez Mountains.
Much of the area was covered with volcanic ash called Bandelier tuff from an eruption of the Valles Caldera volcano over 1 million years ago. The tuff overlies shales and sandstones deposited during the Permian period and limestone of Pennsylvanian age. Varying in hardness, the volcanic outflow of the firmer materials would be used by the Ancestral Pueblo People as bricks, while the softer material was carved into homes.
The original image was made on Kodachrome film and digitized for uploading to the internet. There was a young couple making out in the bushes just on the other side of the kiva at the time this image was made. I had to wait for the right moment when they disappeared behind the bushes. Timing is everything.
Photograph copyright Jon Burch Photography
April 1st, 2013
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