The Aztec Ruins national park in Aztec, New Mexico.
The Aztec Ruins National Monument preserves ancestral Pueblo structures in north-western New Mexico, United States, located close to the town of Aztec and northeast of Farmington, near the Animas River. Salmon Ruins and Heritage Park, with more ancestral Pueblo structures, lies a short distance to the south, just west of Bloomfield near the San Juan River. The buildings date back to the 11th to 13th centuries, and the misnomer attributing them to the Aztec civilization can be traced back to early American settlers in the mid-19th century. The actual construction was by the ancestral Puebloans, the Anasazi.
The site was declared "Aztec Ruin National Monument" on January 24, 1923, and with a boundary change it was renamed "Ruins" on July 2, 1928. As an historical property of the National Park Service the National Monument was administratively listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966. Aztec Ruins was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites, as part of the Chaco Culture National Historical Park, on December 8, 1987.
Anasazi settlements in North America started during the late 11th century and ran until around 1300. The Anasazi are believed to most likely have moved from these ruins into neighboring areas such as the present day Hopi and Navajo reserves and the pueblos of the Rio Grande Valley. These relocations occurred due to drought or loss of nearby fertile land. With no humans living within these, what are now ruins, their settlements slowly were covered by sand and were untouched until the mid-1800s. These ruins would not receive official protection until 1923 when the national monument was established.
February 28th, 2013
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