360° VR Panoramas of Pueblo Country, Northern New Mexico
Aztec Ruins National Monument
Aztec, New Mexico

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Picnic area and visitor center at Aztec Ruins

Picnic area and visitor center at Aztec Ruins

Aztec Ruins National Monument is right on the edge of the town of Aztec and seems to function in some ways like a city park.

Aztec Ruins National Monument, New Mexico

Date photographed: May 8, 2014
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Overview of Aztec Ruin

Overview of Aztec Ruin

Aztec has two groups of cell-like rooms with small round kivas, a total of over 400 rooms, and one great kiva. This is the West Ruin, behind the visitor center.

Aztec Ruins National Monument, New Mexico

Date photographed: May 8, 2014
See location in Google Maps

Striped stonework at Aztec Ruin

Striped stonework at Aztec Ruin

Decorative horizontal bands of dark stone adorn the outer walls of the Aztec Ruin pueblo. This is the West Ruin, which had perhaps 400 rooms and stood three stories high.

Aztec Ruins National Monument, New Mexico

Date photographed: May 8, 2014
See location in Google Maps

Tier of roofed rooms at Aztec Ruin

Tier of roofed rooms at Aztec Ruin

Pueblos both modern and ancient can often only be entered through holes in the roof, a strong defensive feature. Inside the pueblo, rooms are connected to each other, often through series of aligned doorways such as these.

Aztec Ruins National Monument, New Mexico

Date photographed: May 8, 2014
See location in Google Maps

Roofless rooms and aligned doorways at Aztec Ruin

Roofless rooms and aligned doorways at Aztec Ruin

Masonry walls at Aztec Ruins usually consist of outer layers of squared stones with an inner layer of rubble between. The small round holes are for roof/floor beams. Continual remodeling is suggested by bricked up doorways and a variety of stonework patterns.

Aztec Ruins National Monument, New Mexico

Date photographed: May 8, 2014
See location in Google Maps

Original wooden door lintels at Aztec Ruin

Original wooden door lintels at Aztec Ruin

Original wooden door lintels protrude from the stonework at several places within Aztec Ruin. Logs like these, door sills, lintels, and roof beams, where they survive, have been used to date structures at many of the ancestral-Puebloan ruins, establishing an age of about 900 years for this pueblo.

Aztec Ruins National Monument, New Mexico

Date photographed: May 8, 2014
See location in Google Maps

Kivas and rooms at Aztec Ruin

Kivas and rooms at Aztec Ruin

The 400-room West Pueblo at Aztec Ruins consists of small square rooms and round kivas, and stood three stories high. The great kiva, restored, stands alone in a plaza.

Aztec Ruins National Monument, New Mexico

Date photographed: May 8, 2014
See location in Google Maps

Aligned doorways at Pueblo Bonito

Aligned doorways at Pueblo Bonito

A series of rooms with aligned doorways, now unroofed and out in the sunlight

Aztec Ruins National Monument, New Mexico

Date photographed: May 8, 2014
See location in Google Maps

Family kiva and great kiva at Aztec Ruins

Family kiva and great kiva at Aztec Ruins

A medium size "family" kiva stands in the plaza next to the restored great kiva

Aztec Ruins National Monument, New Mexico

Date photographed: May 8, 2014
See location in Google Maps

Entry room to restored great kiva at Aztec Ruin

Entry room to restored great kiva at Aztec Ruin

Chacoan-style great kivas are keyhole shaped, with a gap in the north wall and an antechamber allowing entry via a stairway or ladder. This contrasts with most puebloan structures, including small kivas, that are entered down a ladder through a hole in the ceiling.

Aztec Ruins National Monument, New Mexico

Date photographed: May 8, 2014
See location in Google Maps

The restored great kiva at Aztec Ruin

The restored great kiva at Aztec Ruin

Archeologist Earl Morris, original excavator of Aztec Ruins pueblo in 1921, returned in 1934 to restore the great kiva to what was thought to be its original form. It is a very impressive structure and gives an idea of what kivas might have been like in the days when the pueblos were occupied.

Aztec Ruins National Monument, New Mexico

Date photographed: May 8, 2014
See location in Google Maps

Peripheral viewing chambers at the Aztec great kiva

Peripheral viewing chambers at the Aztec great kiva

When it was excavated in 1916-21 the great kiva at Aztec Ruins was found to have fifteen small rooms around the perimeter. It is speculated that these might have allowed persons not allowed in the kiva itself (women and children?) to view the ceremonies.

Aztec Ruins National Monument, New Mexico

Date photographed: May 8, 2014
See location in Google Maps

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