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Painted Cave, Bandelier National Monument

The Painted Cave, La Cueva Pintada with its expressive pictographs is in the back country of the Bandelier National Monument near Los Alamos and White Rock, New Mexico.  Adolph Bandelier for whom the National Monument was named, visited the cave twice in 1880.  Even then it was not discernable which red ochre, black and white pictographs were made from the ancestors of the Norther Pueblos or shepards who rested there frequently.   Native americans occupied the site between 1250 - 1600 AD and most likely returned for ceremonial reasons throughout the intervening centuries.  Several pictographs depict missionaries and missions as the Spanish moved into the area.