Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Native American Ruins in New Mexico

Over the several years I have been visiting New Mexico, I have been to most of the National Monuments and Parks.  New Mexico is rich in Native American history.  There are ruins of the buildings their society built.

This recent trip, I was able to visit the Chaco Culture National Historical Park in NW New Mexico.  From books I picked up at the Park, the Chaco Canyon area was inhabited in the years 850 to 1150 CE. (upper photo)  Previous to this time, most of the inhabitants of the area were nomadic tribes.

During that same trip, I visited Aztec Ruins National Monument in Aztec, NM.   The Four-Corners area of the USA has many more ruins in what is called the San Juan Basin.  It is believed that various settlements in the area where located and moved as climate conditions change.

One of the more interesting parks is Bandelier, with their multi-room masonry buildings and cliff dwellings.  All of these settlements had one common factor.  The spiritual lives and rituals were centered around the kiva.  Many of these settlements had several small kivas and one large kiva.

With the influx of the Spanish Missionaries in the 17th century, the spiritual lives of the native peoples was changed by the Missions.  Most of these seem to be in the Rio Grande valley.  Undoubtedly, the El Camino Real Historic Trail was a large influence on the creations of missions in the area.

The spiritual center of the pueblo now was the mission church.  Life centered around the church.  The lower photo is of the Quarai Pueblo Mission.  Some of these missions were built on top of the ruins of the earlier settlements.

What is interesting to me is the similarity of construction of their building from the earlier days of the 1100s to later years to the 17th century.  Visit National Parks and Monuments to learn all about the early residents of the country.

Aztec Ruins National Monument
Bandelier National  Monument
Chaco Culture National Historical Park
El Camino Real Historic Trail
El Morro National Monument
Pecos National Historical Park
Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument

There are more sites in New Mexico.  These are those that I have visited and took some photos.  Check out my web site for photos:  http://tomwinfield.com/new-mexico/albuquerque-nm.html

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