March 15, 2023, Santa Fe- The day featured what is almost typical of my visits outside Home Base, this winter: A light, cold, but not overbearing rain. So, I took my umbrella, donned my rain and shine hat (with its flap and wide circular brim, to aid in protection from the two elements) and set my phone to the QC-enabled audio guide, going around Aztec Ruins National Monument. A ranger spoke of Earl Morris, the driving force behind the excavation of the western sector of the ancient community and the original occupant of the house which now serves as the Monument’s headquarters and museum. She also noted that the name of the place came from a Spanish stereotyping of all Mesoamerican First Nations into a single ethnicity: The Aztecs. The Tewas, Tiguas, Towas, Keresans and Hopi who settled Chaco, Mesa Verde and Aztec, before dispersing to their present home areas, had their trade connections with the people of Mexico, but they were entirely separate, culturally and linguistically, from the nation that dominated much of that ancient land. Another focus of the ranger’s talk was the system of roads that traversed outward from Aztec, as well as from Chaco. With no vehicles or beasts of burden, the people likely had to carry cut wooden beams, building stones and other materials on foot, using hauling mechanisms and walking two or three abreast, for almost unimaginable distances, in order to build the communities.
Here are some scenes of this remarkable complex, the pride of modern Aztecans.
The ruins on the eastern and northern sectors of the complex have yet to be excavated to the point they may be safely shared with the public. The ranger also noted that there may well be sites buried under the modern town of Aztec. These could very well be uncovered at some future time, as so many sites have been, around the world.
The rain only intensified, after I left this UNESCO World Heritage Site, so postponed until a later time are Salmon Ruin and other sites in Bloomfield, southeast of Aztec-and a hike up Kitchen Mesa, at Ghost Ranch.
I am holed up for the night at King’s Court, a small, cozy place (and my favourite in this town) not far from either downtown Santa Fe or from Pantry Restaurant, where three people I love dearly provided me with a steaming bowl of Green Chili Stew-a perfect, healthful meal for this chilly evening.