DescriptionIn the northwest corner of New Mexico, just north of Aztec on US 516 to Ruins Road, is one of the best preserved Ancestral Pueblo ruins in the Southwest. The misnomer Aztec was given by early settlers who incorrectly identified the builders of these sandstone pueblos.
Although smaller than the site preserved at Chaco Culture National Historical Park, the structures here make up for that in terms of detail. Especially noteworthy is the Great Kiva, a ceremonial building that is the only reconstruction of its kind in North America.
The largest of these sandstone pueblos, the West Ruin, was built about 1110; it contained more than 500 rooms, some of which remain intact. Several smaller structures adjoin the main ruin. Among the architectural features are original roofs that have amazingly withstood the test of time.
The visitor center displays artifacts uncovered during excavations, and a 15-minute video offers background information and historical context. Monument open daily 8-6, Memorial Day-Labor Day; 8-5, rest of year. Closed Jan. 1, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Admission, valid for 7 days, $5; free (ages 0-15). Phone (505) 334-6174.
GEM DescriptionYou can practically hear the sound of ritual drums at one of the largest and best-preserved Ancestral Puebloan ruins in the Southwest.