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Aztec Ruins National Monument.
Near Aztec, New Mexico.
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October 07, 2011

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Inside Great Kiva Aztec Ruins, Aztec Ruins National Monument, New Mexico. Hikes, Travels, & Tours. Photos, Pictures, Images, & Reviews.
Inside Great Kiva Aztec Ruins, Aztec Ruins National Monument, New Mexico.
Courtesy: NPS.
Aztec Ruins National Monument, New Mexico. Hikes, Travels, & Tours. Photos, Pictures, Images, & Reviews.
Aztec Ruins National Monument, New Mexico.
Courtesy: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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Aztec Ruins National Monument:

We wish to thank Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia for some of the images and information on this page. We share information with Wikipedia.

The Aztec Ruins National Monument preserves ancestral Pueblo structures in north-western New Mexico, located close to the town of Aztec and northeast of Farmington, near the Animas River.

The structures at Aztec Ruins date back to the 11th to 13th centuries, and the misnomer "Aztec", attributing them to the Aztec civilization in Mexico, can be traced back to early American settlers in the mid-19th century.

The actual construction was by the ancestral Puebloans, the Anasazi.

Aztec Ruins, was actually built and used over a 200-year period of time from about AD 1050 to about AD 1300.

The construction at Aztec shows a strong influence from Chaco Canyon, the site of a major ancestral Pueblo community to the south. Aztec may have been an outlying community of Chaco, a sort of ancillary place connected to the center to distribute food and goods to the surrounding population. Or it may have been a center in its own right as Chaco's influence waned after about AD 1100.

Aztec Ruins is the largest Ancestral Pueblo community in the Animas River valley. Concentrated on and below a terrace overlooking the Animas River, the people at Aztec built several multi-story buildings called “great houses” and many smaller structures. Associated with each great house was a “great kiva”—a large circular chamber used for ceremonies. Nearby are three unusual “tri-wall” structures—above ground kivas encircled by three concentric walls. In addition, they modified the landscape with dozens of linear swales called “roads,” earthen berms, and platforms.

An interesting 700 yard trail leads visitors through the West Ruin, which is an excavated great house that had at least 400 interconnected rooms built around an open plaza. Its massive sandstone walls tower over 30 feet. Many rooms contain the original pine, spruce, and aspen beams hauled from distant mountains.

Archeologists excavated and reconstructed the Great Kiva in the West Ruin plaza, and it now gives you a feel of how it may have actually looked while in use. It evokes a sense of the original sacred space.

The site was declared "Aztec Ruin National Monument" on January 24, 1923, and with a boundary change it was renamed "Ruins" on July 2, 1928. As an historical property of the National Park Service the National Monument was administratively listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966. Aztec Ruins was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites, as part of the Chaco Culture National Historical Park, on December 8, 1987.

Anasazi settlements in North America started during the late 11th century and was used over a 200-year period, until around AD 1300.

In about 1300 the Ancestral Pueblo people left the region, migrating southeast to join existing communities along the Rio Grande, south to the Zuni area, or west to join the Hopi villages in Arizona.

The Anasazi are believed to most likely have moved from these ruins into neighboring areas such as the present day Hopi and Navajo reserves and the pueblos of the Rio Grande Valley. These relocations occurred due to drought or loss of nearby fertile land.

With no humans living within these, what are now ruins, their settlements slowly were covered by sand and were untouched until the mid 1800s.

These ruins would not receive official protection until 1923 when the national monument was established.

The Salmon Ruins and Heritage Park, containing other ancestral Pueblo structures, lies a short distance to the south, just west of Bloomfield near the San Juan River.

History Of The Anasazi People:

Archaeologists Say The Following:


The first people in the San Juan Basin were hunter-gatherers: the Archaic. These small bands descended from nomadic Clovis big-game hunters who arrived in the Southwest in about 10,000 BC.

By about 900 BC, Archaic people lived at Atlatl Cave and similar sites.

By about AD 850, the Ancient Pueblo population—the "Anasazi", from a Ute term adopted by the Navajo denoting the "ancient ones" or "enemy ancestors"—had rapidly expanded across the San Juan Basin.

Aztec Ruin National Monument features a village built by these Ancestral Puebloan people, sometimes called the Anasazi.

The Anasazi inhabited Aztec Ruin anywhere between 550 to 1300 AD. These people were mainly subsistence farmers; they grew crops on nearby mesas. Their primary crop was corn, which was also was the major part of their diet. Men were also hunters which further increased their food supply. The women of the Anasazi were famous for the elegant basket weaving. Anasazi pottery is just as famous as their baskets; their artifacts, even today, are highly prized. Since the Anasazi kept no written records, their artifacts are the only link to understanding their interesting culture.

By 750 AD, the Anasazi people were also building mesa-top villages made of adobe. By the late 12th century they began to build the cliff dwellings for which Mesa Verde in Colorado is famous.

The cohesive Anasazi system began unravelling in about AD 1140, perhaps triggered by an extreme 50-year drought that began in about AD 1130. This chronic climatic instability, including a series of severe droughts, again struck the region between about AD 1250 to AD 1450.


Aztec Ruins National Monument is open 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. most of the year and 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.

The park is closed Thanksgiving, December 25th, and January 1st.

Phone: Visitor Information - (505) 334-6174x230

When entering the ruins we suggest that visitors first stop at the visitor center to receive brochures, trail maps, and current park information.

We also suggest checking for more information, that is constantly updated, at the Aztec Ruins National Monument link, at the bottom of this page.


Aztec Ruins National Monument.
84 County Road 2900 ("Ruins Road")
Aztec, NM 87410

How To Get There:


For an Aztec Ruins National Monument Area Map, of area locations, in Acrobat pdf format click "Aztec Ruins National Monument Area Map".


For an Aztec Ruins National Monument Map, of Aztec Ruins, in Acrobat pdf format click "Aztec Ruins Map".


Aztec Ruins National Monument is located on Ruins Road about ˝ mile north of New Mexico Highway 516, in the City of Aztec, New Mexico.


If you are planning to visit Aztec Ruins National Monument, New Mexico. And if you are coming from outside of New Mexico, you could fly into Albuquerque International Sunport (IATA: ABQ, ICAO: KABQ, FAA LID: ABQ) is a public airport located 3 miles (5 km) southeast of the central business district of Albuquerque, a city in Bernalillo County, New Mexico, United States. It is the largest commercial airport in the state, and then rent a car.


There are many hotels and motels in New Mexico and Colorado, and if you need a place to stay; Priceline.com can arrange that for you.

We have personally, booked flights, hotels, and vacations; through Priceline.com and we can highly recommend them. Their website is also easy to use!

We have some links to Priceline.com on this page since they can arrange all of your air flights, hotels and car.

We also have some links to Altrec.com on this page since they are a good online source for any outdoor camping gear and clothing that you may need.

We of course, appreciate your use of the advertising on our pages, since it helps us to keep our pages active.

Whenever you make a purchase from a link on our page we get credit for that transaction. Again, Thanks!

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Aztec Ruins National Monument. New Mexico. Hikes, Travels, & Tours. Photos, Pictures, Images, & Reviews.Aztec Ruins National Monument. New Mexico. Hikes, Travels, & Tours. Photos, Pictures, Images, & Reviews.
Aztec Ruins National Monument
Courtesy: NPS.
Aztec Ruins National Monument
Courtesy: NPS.
Graywacke Stone. Aztec Ruins National Monument. New Mexico. Hikes, Travels, & Tours. Photos, Pictures, Images, & Reviews.Graywacke Stone. Aztec Ruins National Monument. New Mexico. Hikes, Travels, & Tours. Photos, Pictures, Images, & Reviews.
Graywacke Stone. Aztec Ruins National Monument
Courtesy: NPS.
Graywacke Stone. Aztec Ruins National Monument
Courtesy: NPS.

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