Aztec Ruins National Monument, Aztec, New Mexico

Aztec Ruins consists in a remarkable variety, number, and concentration of
masonry rooms and kivas, roads, earthworks, and prehistoric canals.
Aztec Ruins consists in a remarkable variety, number, and concentration of  masonry rooms and kivas, roads, earthworks, and prehistoric canals.
Aztec Ruins is well-developed for visitation, featuring a museum, theatre, book store,
the only reconstructed great kiva in the American Southwest, a picnic area, and accessible trails.

Aztec is a misnomer—the Ancestral Puebloan town has no known associations with the prehistoric Aztecs of Central Mexico. Early Anglo settlers, who knew little of American prehistory, first named the ruins and the town drew its name from the ruins.

The first record of Anglo visitation at Aztec dates to 1859. Geologist Dr. John S. Newberry found well-preserved, 25-feet-high walls. Archaeologist Lewis H. Morgan visited the site in 1878, and observed that much of the stone had been mined for local settler buildings. Local residents also robbed the ruins of artifacts.

West Ruin, the largest Great House at Aztec, consisted of over 400 adjoining rooms and kivas, and rose to three stories. The carefully planned and built community includes unexcavated pueblos, great kivas, tri-walled structures, earthworks, and many small structures. Relationships, orientations, and placement of the structures suggests overall planning was adhered to during the centuries of building and occupation.

Above, a portion of the long north wall of West Ruin.

Several t-shaped doors open onto the plaza from West Room pueblo.

View of the reconstructed West Ruin Great Kiva from the northwest.

Interior views of the Great Kiva.

Several upper rooms feature diagonal doorways in the northeast section of the ruins.

The east wing of West Ruin viewing across the plaza from the west wing.

Several bands of green sandstone are a unique feature at Aztec Ruins.

The museum features artifacts from archaeological excavations.

Aztec Ruin Great Kiva
Aztec Tri-Wall Kiva

Aztec Ruins PowerPoint Presentation = 3MB download

During the summer of 2009, I completed more Aztec GPS readings.
Additional comments are added to the Chaco Meridian page.

Aztec West Ruin Great Kiva
GPS 2m, mean of 6
Aztec East Ruin Great Kiva
GPS 2m, mean of 11
Aztec Hubbard Tri-Wall Kiva
GPS 2m, mean of 2
Aztec Ruin F Tri-Wall Kiva
GPS 2m, mean of 5

Aztec Ruins Placemarks for Google Earth - 15 KB KML file.

Next on the Southwest Web Ring:

Salmon Ruins

External Links

Next on the Southwest Web Ring:

Salmon Ruins

Mesa Verde National Park
Spruce Tree House
Canyon de Chelly
Chaco Culture National Historical Park
Aztec Ruins
Salmon Ruins
Hovenweep National Monument
Trail of the Ancients
Pecos National Historical Park
Canyons of the Ancients
Edge of the Cedars
Coronado State Monument
Bandelier National Monument
Blythe Intaglios
Salinas Pueblo Missions
Montezuma Castle
Water Politics and the History of
the Fort McDowell Indian Community
Social Organization of
Three Apache Tribes
A History of Havasupai
Political Organization
Diabetes: Thrifty Genotype
or Thrifty Phenotype?
Southwest Archaeology
Lecture Notes
Pueblo Grande Mound
A Labor Analysis
Rattlesnakes of Arizona
The Chaco Meridian

Home - Photo Galleries - Archaeology - Andes - Astronomy - Art - Web Design

Southwest Anthropology and Archaeology Pages
© 2013 by James Q. Jacobs.  All rights reserved.  Photo Stock.
Your comments, inquiries, etc. welcomed.  Contact and Educator Permissions.