Photography by: Marilyn Angel Wynn/Nativestock.com
No region of this continent and few areas of the world can boast a collection of archaeological ruins equal to that of the American Southwest. it is to our great fortune that over the past 100 years, a few far-sighted
individuals recognized the extraordinary cultural heritage of the Southwest and successfully campaigned to have certain archaeological treasures set aside as public monuments. These outdoor museums have sheltered human beings for over 12,000 years. Village remnants showcase thousands of years of Native American survival, culture and advancement. Ancient buildings are scattered throughout New Mexico, Arizona, Southern Utah and Southern Colorado. Ruins remind us of the mortality of civilizations. How do these Pueblo ancestors and our culture in today's society compare as victims to drought, flood, famine, disease and warfare? Repeated patterns of history only deepen our appreciation of archaeological sites.
Through many trips I've made to the Southwest, here are some of my favorite ruins to visit. Not in any particular order they are Mesa Verde, Edge of the Cedars, Hovenweep, Walnut Canyon, Tuzigoot, Pueblo Grande, Besh Ba Gowah, Aztec and Bandelier. These inherited monuments are not only supreme photo opportunities, but you also get to climb up stairs, through chamber doors and walk where the ancient inhabitants once lived. It's truly a magical and enriching experience.
My recommendations are that you visit these sites in the morning during the warmer months, bring good walking shoes, a camera, snacks and plenty of water. Most of these locations are a considerable drive from today's comforts. The majority of roads are in great condition and many are fee sites, but well worth purchasing. Half of the sites I mentioned have gift shops on sight that sell books, postcards, music CD's and more.
Enjoy your journey into the past!
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