Aztec Ruins National Monument, Aztec, New Mexico.

Not a very large area, maybe an acre or less, but very cosmopolitan.  One huge Kiva as shown in the first photo, then multiple Kivas sprinkled through out, including two within sight of the large Kiva.  When viewing, anything round is a Kiva.  Except for this first one, where the roof has been restored, all of the Kivas are roofless now but all had roofs at one time.  All access to all Kivas including the huge one, was with ladders through a hole in the roof.

I have to mention, it was weird touring this site as it felt like you were in an actual village with real residents scurrying around you.  A tiny bit disquieting.  One teenage girl was touring by herself and rushing through each exhibit.  I wanted to tell her; "Stop, shut your eyes and listen to the people."  With the abundance of rooms and Kivas, there had to be a thousand or more Aztec, living in or about these structures.  (video tour of this site, not mine.)

Keep in mind that this site was a mound of dirt when first discovered.  It took years to reveal the detail of all of this.  Mostly the work of one dedicated man, Earl Morris.  In 1921 he directed the reconstruction of the Great Kiva, as depicted in the first photo.

Huge decision on my part as to what to show, so instead, I stopped processing after the first three photos and simply decided to show the best of all of them.  The following were batch processed inside photoshop elements for sharpness, color, and resized to 512 pixels, horizontally.  I am very happy with the result and really happy with the time this batch process saved me.



3.  Inside the large Kiva, looking towards the back door.  (Added for the tourists.)  Just a reminder, all access to all Kivas and buildings, were with ladders.

4.  Not sure what the rectangular pool structures were, maybe hot tubs?

5.  Imagine it with a fire pit in the middle, no stairs, just a ladder, no iron work. and certainly, no doors.

6.  Block for sacrificing bad children and goats on?

7. The ceiling of the large Kiva showing the supports.  The lumber had to be transported from as far as 20 to 40 miles away.

8. Kind of has the appearance of a small Roman arena with the roof removed.  If you have ever tried to build something perfectly round, you can imagine how skilled these Indian craftsmen had to be.  They seemed to be pretty serious about their Spiritual needs.



11.  Multi storied, multi layered, 3X  The doorways were all about 40" high.  No hallways, always going through one room to get to another.




15. All interior and exterior walls were equally thick.  Built to last a millennium. No sheet rock here.
















31.  Ceiling structure inside the Hilton Hotel.

32.  A very unusual Kiva with multiple walls.  Rare, but not unheard of.  The outer ring was for living.  I would of loved to see this structure with the roof in place.

33.  This was excavated at one time and then backfilled for preservation.

34. Far view of the backside of the Hilton Hotel.

35. Same view but nearer.  This wall is aligned with the rising Summer Solstice Sun and the setting Winter Solstice Sun.  The Moon was their monthly calendar.





40.  Can you spot the two Kivas?








48. Rough stones were used in the middle of the wall and finishing (pretty) stones were used on the outside.  No cement or mortar, all fixed in place with adobe mud.  It seems to me, that a wall would need to dry for a year before being stable.

An awful lot of this site was restored to make it safe to view as well as make it more interesting.  It has the flavor of a recent ruin but mostly because of the careful restoration done to retain the feel of the ruins.  For instance, at one time the three walled Kiva was completely uncovered.  Later, it was back filled to preserve it and prevent future deterioration.

Switching gears and photographing at Navajo Lake State Park:

Showing more photographs of this lake, would be redundant.  Suffice to say, it is huge and deep, basically a reservoir overwhelming a former canyon.

Driftwood art.

Not sure what type of lizard it is but if I get some spare time, I will add it later.

Hiding in plain sight.  I would not of noticed this spider except it scurried in front of me at 97 KPH.  Looks to have four eyes which is not unusual for arachnids.  You could cover it with a dime or maybe a fifteen cent piece.

Might be a variety of Indian Paint Brush but different then ours on the West Coast.

This is the first time I have ever successfully photographed a small bird in flight albeit, not the best view.  The problem with shooting small birds is, well, they are small and the autofocus isn't attracted to focusing on them, and they are fast, making them difficult to keep in the autofocus detection field.  In another words, probably another ten years before ever getting this nice a shot again.  A Desert Wren.

All of the above photos were taken with a Canon EOS 5D MKii camera body and a 100 to 400mm 1:4.5-5.6 L IS telephoto zoom lens as well as a wide angle zoom: 24-105mm L IS 1:4 USM lens.


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