Thursday was kind of a slow news day. It didn’t rain, and temperatures were much more pleasant so I tried to spend much of the day outdoors. It started off cool but warmed up to the upper 60’s by early afternoon. I didn’t want to venture too far from Durango until I get new tires put on first thing Friday morning. I went in to Durango in the morning, walked around town a good bit and had lunch. I went back to the house (about 10 miles south of town) and dropped off some maps and materials I will need later, then headed about 20 miles further south to the little town of Aztec, New Mexico (I am staying in Colorado but am very close to Four Corners so 3 other states are close by). I toured the Aztec Ruins National Monument, then went back up to Durango to spend some time relaxing and people-watching in their city parks, many of which were along the Animas River and had a paved walking/bike trail. Lots of folks out walking, jogging and biking (schools were out by late afternoon).
The Aztec Ruins are located in Aztec, New Mexico. Aztec was the name of the village and was NOT built or occupied by the Aztec Indian Tribe of central Mexico, which is what I would have assumed. This village was constructed from the late 1000’s to the late 1200’s and was modeled after the villages at Chaco Canyon, which I visited earlier in the week. Chaco is about 55 miles south of Aztec. The villages there were thought to have been built between 850 and 1130. The buildings here were constructed of different types of rock than those at Chaco Canyon.
And a big reason why ruins are ruins is that after these villages were abandoned, people from other groups came and pilfered the materials to build their own villages.
Aztec Ruins was declared a National Monument by Congress in 1923. In 1987 is was declared a World Heritage Site due to it’s cultural significance.
Kind of hard to tell from the picture but in the photo below the window (or doorway) in the upper left hand corner of the photo was actually built into a corner where two walls intersect, a novel concept for when these structures were built.