Rare Access to Unexcavated Ancient Pueblo Indian settlement


Fifteen lucky visitors recently toured what’s mostly unexcavated at Aztec Ruins National Monument. Aztec Ruins East normally is off limits because of its fragile archaeological resources. The great kiva is 16 feet high, and has nearly 300 rooms. By Donna K. Hewett. This story is sponsored by Service Master Restore and Three Rivers Brewing

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Aztec Ruins National Monument receives 50,000 visitors every year to see how ancestral Puebloans lived and built their homes a thousand years ago. It's an ancient site that was discovered in the late 19th century and named a national monument in 1923. 15 lucky visitors recently were allowed to tour what is still underground, An unexcavated ruin on the east side of the park. The great house on the site is 16 feet tall and has up to 300 rooms. You're watching the Local News Network brought to you by ServiceMaster Restore and Three Rivers Brewery. I'm Haley Opsal. A small group of people were given rare access to Aztec East, which is normally off limits to visitors because of its fragile archeological resources. The East ruin post dates the fully excavated West ruin by about 50 years. It's a pure Mesa Verde site, not preceded by Chacoan occupation. It was built, occupied and finally abandoned by the Pueblo in and about the 13th century.

We've got this big kiva here. We have the East ruin annex, and again, you can see where it goes. You can see that it's over there, it's over here, and then the main complex is here.

Visible to the group were cobblestone alignments, the exposed state of the ruins.

And you can see that there is, that they've done some roofing material over there. You can see more roofing material over here. This really gives, protects some of the interior. And we have a little depression here. This is, this number H kiva right here. Because we can't go into East ruin, any further than we are. I have a ton of interior photos.

Color photos of interior rooms were passed around. Because the East ruin teaches us nothing new about the ancient Pueblo, the park service at Aztec Ruins has a preserve in place philosophy. And because of the potential expense, excavation of the East ruins won't be happening anytime soon.

Yeah, huge financial commitment to doing an excavation like this. So like I said, who knows whether that will even happen in our grandchildren's lifetime.

Meyers says future tours, like the one of the East ruin will be offered more frequently at the park.

Well, we will be doing more tours like this. I think obviously the popularity of today's walk around is evidence enough that the public would like more of this, so we will be doing more of these. I think the next one is scheduled for October sometime but I don't have an exact date yet.

The tours are free, but they fill up fast. For more information, go to farmingtonnm.org/listings/aztecruinsnationalmonument. Thanks for watching this episode of the Local News Network. I'm Haley Opsal.


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