Aztec Ruins National Monument

Aztec Ruins National Monument

Detailed Description

Aztec Ruins National Monument is a preserve of an Ancestral Puebloan community in the Animas River valley in northwestern New Mexico. The community shared many of the characteristics of neighboring communities centered in Chaco Canyon (about 65 miles to the south) and the Mesa Verde area (about 50 miles to the north). Many lines of evidence show that the pre-Columbian community at Aztec Ruins was a Chacoan outlier settlement (Cajete and Nichols, 2004; NPS brochures on ceramic materials and trade materials). The puebloan-style construction in the park area includes two large ruin complexes, Aztec East and Aztec West, with additional dwelling sites in the vicinity. Tree-ring dating methods (dendrochronology) were used to resolve details of the construction of the great houses at Aztec Ruins. The larger Aztec West ruin complex (partially shown here) was constructed between A.D. 1110 and 1125 (NPS, 1962). As described in a 1931 journal article, Aztec West pueblo ruin was constructed in a large E-shape and had approximately 500 rooms. In addition, in 1931 the first floor of the structure was still standing, and 24 of the rooms still had original ceilings intact, and some parts of second and third story rooms remained standing (Anonymous, 1931). Aztec East was constructed after A.D. 1115; however, tree-ring studies (dendrochronology) indicate that most construction took place in the 13th century (Benson and others, 2003).


Image Dimensions: 1200 x 900

Date Taken:

Location Taken: US