Keeping with the grand tradition of “white people calling Native American things by the wrong name,” these ruins aren’t Aztec. They’re actually attributed to Pueblo peoples (Zuni, Hopi, Navajo, Zia…just to name a few) who also don’t consider them ruins. The Pueblo peoples consider the land to be their bible, and this site, as well as the “ruins” in Chaco Canyon, extremely holy places that their ancestors still occupy. In short, the “Aztec Ruins” are neither Aztec nor ruins. Discuss.
The construction of these multi-story communities started as early as 1100AD and integrated super complex mathematical computations into the architecture and design, aligning the structures with the cosmos.
I cannot say enough about how wonderfully this site is maintained and how awesome the National Parks team is. When I arrived, I was handed a laminated packet filled with super insightful information around the structure organized by stop on the short trail. The on-site museum is superbly curated and everyone on site was incredibly knowledgable and passionate.
Monday, I spent a couple hours exploring the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens State Park in Carlsbad, NM. I was delighted to learn from the docent that Living Desert is NOT your typical zoo. All the animals there are indigenous to the various desert environments and are only in captivity because a) they’ve been injured or were sick or b) they’ve imprinted onto humans in a way that would make them vulnerable in the wild…so it feels more like a wildlife sanctuary than a zoo.