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Frijoles Canyon History
Most Text from Southwest Parks & Monuments Association Bandelier Monument Guide - SPMA/100M/10th printing/9/99
     During what is referred to as the "Coalition Period" of the Ancestral Puebloans (formerly known as Anasazi), roughly from 1175 A.D. to 1325 A.D., an increase in population led to the settlement of previously unoccupied areas.   It was early in thsi period that the Pueblo people first settled the Pajarito Plateau and Bandelier National Monument.   During the 1200s, population and trade at the large settlements of Mesa Verde began to decline.
At Bandelier, you can see the excavated ruins of the Pueblo village of Tyuonyi (chew-OHN-yee), shown here. At least two stories high, it contained about 400 rooms and housed about 100 people. During excavation, post holes in a zig-zag pattern were found at the entrance to the plaza, suggesting that posts may have been arranged as a barrier to strangers attempting to enter the village. There is little evidence of warfare, but the defensive location and arrangement of the structure suggests that people were concerned about possible attacks.

Around this area today there are Pueblo groups who speak two different languages: Tewa (TAY-wah) speakers to the north and Keres (CARE-ace) speakers to the south. This was likely true in the past also, and there is an old tradition that Frijoles Canyon was the dividing line between these language groups. Some Keres speakers say that the name "Tyuonyi" means a place of meeting, or place of treaty.
     Coalition Period pottery exhibited new styles, some of which resembled pottery from the Four Corners area, and Mesa Verde in particular.   This suggests to archeologists that some people from the Four Corners migrated to this area.   A new technique of decorating pottery using carbon paint replaced the mineral paints used in earlier times.
     During the Classic Period (1325 A.D. - 1600 A.D.) Pueblo people left the Four Corners region, heading southwest into what is now central Arizona and southeast into New Mexico's northern Rio Grande Valley.  Population on the Pajarito Plateau peaked during this time.   The most striking characteristic of Classic Period villages is their immense size.   Most Pueblos ranged from 150 to 500 rooms, but some contained 1000 to 1500 rooms.   These large communities were often constructed to enclose a central plaza   Tyuonyi in Frijoles Canyon is a good example.   The kivas were often located in the central plaza or near the outer edge of the pueblos.
     An important advancement was the widespread use of water control and soil retention techniques.   Remains of irrigation canals, terraces and gardens divided into small sections date from this period.   Possibly through trade, people from the west introduced the technique of glaze paints for decorating pottery.   This new method brought change in designs and styles.
     The transition between the Classic Period and the Historic period came with Spanish exploration and settlement in New Mexico, led by Oñate in 1598.   Spanish colonialization brought about profound change in the lives and culture of the Pueblo people.