Aztec National Monument

A Lesson In History

There are a number of different historical places that you can find around New Mexico and each and every one of them has a great deal to offer you in terms of both history and tourism. However, while these places may be admired and visited by a huge number of tourists all year round, there is one specific place that pretty much takes the hot seat when it comes to popularity and well roundedness of the experience. The place in question here is the Aztec National Monument, a place that has played a very important role in the preservation of the culture and lifestyle of the Ancestral Pueblo people, a nation that used to live in this area nearly a thousand years ago during the 1100s and 1200s. Today the place is one of the most popular tourist attractions in all of New Mexico and there are plenty of activities that have been devised by the local tourism setup for the visitors, making it an amazing place to go to when planning a proper tourism trip. Read on to find out more about this place and what you can do when you visit.

History and Background

According to the findings of the archeologists, this place is believed to have been created as a satellite community nearly a thousand years ago by the Ancestral Anasazi who came to this place in order to take advantage of the fertile lands that filled the area. They built a fully functioning community in that place and kept on living there for quite some time as the many household items and other artifacts that were found there suggest. A hundred years after them came the Mesa Verdeans who brought a lot of changes and addition to the structures that are found in this place. This addition and remodeling can be noticed clearly in the buildings and there is a further evidence endorsing their presence as it is also known that the pottery found here was of two types. By the year 1300 however, it is believed that the changes in the climate of this area and depletion in the naturally available resources made it impossible for the Anasazi people to stay here, thus forcing them to leave this place like the many places they had left before in the past throughout the Southwest region.

The Park

With the year 1859 being the first time that an actual geological trip was ever made to these ruins, the place quickly found fame and attraction as a national archeological treasure and it wasn’t long before the Museum of National History started working on the excavation project that started in 1916. In the years to come, the place was constantly explored and visited by people with both archeological and historical interest. In the year 1987, this site was declared as a World Heritage Site and while there is still a lot that hasn’t been excavated, there is plenty of exploration that you can do there during your visit.

What to do?

One of the most important parts of the visit is the museum where you will find an extensive collection of artifacts that were found here. In addition to that you should also watch their comprehensive orientation video as it really gives you a clear picture of the place. The museum also has a picnic area where you can enjoy snacks while you take a break from the exploration.

There is a quarter mile long self guided trail that you can take through the West Ruin and explore the hundreds of interconnected rooms. There is also a huge partially underground room called the Great Kiva that was used for big gatherings by the community. In addition to that you can camp or lodge there as well. However there are no hotels or motels situated in the monument itself.

To round it all up, the trip to Aztec National Monument is a one of a kind experience and with the opportunity to have a lot of fun while exploring ancient history, it definitely a good idea to make proper preparations for a well rounded trip.

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