Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/827

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A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF SOME INDIAN HOMES.

Sometimes, too, the partitions or vertical walls between the houses are extended upward, and externally are formed into steps, each step being made by a slab of stone as seen in the figure. Ladders are also used to reach the other terraces, as well as the roof that tops the whole of this human bee-hive. In Zuni I found doors opening from the street directly into the rooms of the groundfloor, and there were many hatchways in the roofs, the rooms below being reached by the means of ladders, such as the long ones shown in my picture of Acoma. Chimneys are built up with stone and mortar, and frequently are topped off by a large clay olla set in the latter, after having its bottom knocked out so as to give egress to the smoke from the stone fireplace found in so many of the rooms.

Small windows with four panes each admit a meager light to the interior of these dwellings. These panes are most often composed of mica obtained in the mountains, but of recent years they have not infrequently obtained glass from the whites suitable for the purpose, and they always prize that material very highly. Rain which accumulates on the several roofs during the continuance of storms, finds its escape at guttered apertures supplied with small troughs, shown in the engraving. Often a dome-shaped oven is built out on the roof in one of the angles, and in this they bake their bread. One of these is also shown in the picture, and at Las Nutrias Pueblo, in New Mexico, I saw that they built these ovens out on the ground, and were baking tortillas in them at the time of my visit.

One of these pueblan houses rarely has less than three rooms, and may contain as many as eight or nine. Most of those that I have been in—and I have been in a good many of them—are kept scrupulously clean and neat. Their repair devolves entirely upon the women, who consider it their especial prerogative. The floors are evenly laid in moistened clay, and when that material dries, an excellent surface is the result, hard and smooth. They make a kind of whitewash of gypsum, with which the smoothly plastered walls are kept constantly white.

The ceiling overhead is composed of a generous supply of stout rafters of cedar that run horizontally across from wall to wall, and at Zuni, the Indians had filled in the interspaces with osier brush, covering the outside or roof with a heavy layer of adobe-plaster. Often an entire family is confined to one large room, or, if better circumstanced, they may control two or even more.

Conspicuous among its finishings in the living-room are the arrangements to do the family cooking. Sometimes the fireplace, built of the usual masonry, is fitted into one of the angles of the room; sometimes it juts out at the middle of the long side of the apartment; in either situation the chimney, smaller in its dimen-