Puye Cliff Dwellings
The Puye Cliff Dwellings are the ruins of an abandoned pueblo, located in Santa Clara Canyon on Santa Clara Pueblo land near Espanola, New Mexico. The site was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1966.

The site was home to some 1500 pueblo Indians from about the 12th century until 1577 when drought finally forced the villagers to leave for locations nearer to the Rio Grande. Oral tradition suggests that the present day inhabitants of Santa Clara Pueblo, some 10 miles (16 km) to the east, are the descendants of Puye. The dwellings are remarkable for being carved out of a 200 ft (61 m) high (60 m), cliff ridge formed from volcanic tuff. The rock is relatively soft and can be excavated using wooden tools. Some 740 rooms are carved out of the cliff, although foundations show that additional houses constructed from talus blocks lined the base of the cliff. In fact it seem likely that many of these houses grew to be several stories high and the cave rooms were then just the back rooms of these homes. Along with the cave rooms, lines of post holes are carved into the cliff face. These would have supported roof beams for the block house and may also be anchor points for wood ladders and walkways used to reach the cliff houses. There are also about a dozen stairways, more like ladders of foot and hand holds, that lead to the top of the cliff. Many of the stairways lead up to the large 'Community House' which has been partly reconstructed on the top of the cliff. The American Indians living in pueblo in northern New Mexico traditionally speak the Tewa language. The Tewa name 'Puye' can be translated as 'pueblo ruin where the rabbits assemble or meet'.

Recent history
The cliff dwellings were declared a National Historic Landmark in 1966, under the name of "Puye Ruins." In 2000, a planned burn of trees in Bandelier National Monument burned out of control. The resulting wildfire, known as the Cerro Grande Fire, eventually claimed 46,925 acres (189.90 km 2), some 250 houses in Los Alamos, and devastated Santa Clara Canyon. Puye Cliff Dwellings site has recently (2009) been reopened to the public. Current information can be obtained from Santa Clara Pueblo. Tours can be scheduled to explore the cliffs and learn of their history.

Building Activity

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