Aztec National Monument, located in Aztec, New Mexico is the site of ancestral Puebloan structures/ruins from nearly ten centuries ago. First of all, the site has nothing to do with the Aztecs, though early explorers thought that it did. It represents the culture(s) that existed in this part of the Southwest long ago. This National Monument is a great place to stop for a couple of hours to see some really good Puebloan ruins and learn more about them. A close look at the walls shows how carefully and intricate the work was done, by hand, hundreds of years ago. The unique thing about this site is the “Great Kiva” that was not only excavated by early archaeologists, but under the direction of Earl Morris in the early 1920s, was reconstructed in a fashion he believed reflected the original design. It’s like a giant communal meeting chamber. Going inside it gives you a sense of place that is rarely possible at other kiva ruins.
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