October 16th Aztec National Monument
Ray here for this one. This morning saw me out the door and down the 2 blocks to the Aztec National Monument. This is another great pueblo of, not the Aztecs, but the ancestral Chacoan Puebloan People. The Spanish explorers screwed up just like naming Montezuma Castle in Cottonwood. This site is one of the larger sites we've been able to enter (Tuzigoot and BeshBaGowa are some others). The following pictures show an overview of how large the site is:
|North Wall and Fall Colours|
|West Wall Kiva with my Very Own Diva! lol|
The largest kiva at the site is called The Great Kiva. Between 1921-1934 a team led by Earl Morris excavated and then reconstructed the structure. A unique feature of this kiva is 15 surface rooms surrounding the central chamber. Here are two pics of the exterior:
|Deb showing the size of the interior chamber of The Great Kiva|
|Second Large Kiva with The Great Kiva in the background.|
|Interior of the Second Kiva|
We've seen a couple doors leading along a straight pathway. These doorway paths are certainly pronounced at this site. This is the fist site where we've so many windows do the same thing.
|Ahh Yes. That lower brace in the door gave me a rather large "rash" on the top of my head.|
This site also includes quite a few original artifacts and other unique structures. Keeping in the doorway theme, the next two pictures are of a mat of willows sewn with yucca cord. The mat is still in the location the inhabitants left it over 800 years ago.
Also door related is next picture of a door connecting rooms at their corner. These corner doorways are rare and unique to Chacoan Puebloan Great Houses.
The next pictures show roofing in the rooms that once again are original to the site. The larger beams were packed from up to 20 miles away. These beams, or vigas, are made of widely spaced Spruce, Douglas fir or Ponderosa Pine. The overlying smaller beams, or latillas, are made of aspen or pine.
The pictures below show various timbers still in their original location and the stone structure used to hold these up.
The last pictures are two more items rare or unique in the various pueblos found around the Four Corners area (where Utah, Colorodo, Arizona and New Mexico state lines meet). The first two show how the people incorporated lines of green stone within the exterior walls. Of course the meaning is lost in history, however these are associated with water and community protection according to more recent local Puebloans.
The second rare feature is these remnants of the upper walls of an unusual tri-wall structure, one of only a handful found in the Southwest.
The Aztec Ruins National Monument is recognized as a World Heritage Site... I can sure see why.
I'll turn the next blog back over to Deb.