4 Must-See Archaeological Sites In The Southwest US

4 Must-See Archaeological Sites In The Southwest US

Archaeological sites in the US provide a glimpse into the past of many cultures, including the Ancestral Puebloans and Sinagua people. Discover four must-see archaeological sites in the southwest US.

Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado

Cliff Palace - Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado, USA

Mesa Verde is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in southwest Colorado. This site preserves the cliff dwellings of the Ancestral Puebloans.

The Ancestral Puebloans lived in Mesa Verde for over 700 years. You’ll find plenty to explore as the park features over 500 archaeological sites.

Nearby Chimney Rock National Monument

To learn more about the Ancestral Puebloans and explore diverse landscapes, visit the nearby Chimney Rock National Monument. Touring the Chimney Rock site is one of the best things to do in San Juan National Forest, a beautiful wilderness area that covers over one million acres and includes mesas and alpine peaks.

Chaco Culture National Historical Park, New Mexico

Pueblo Ruins - Chaco Culture National Historical Park, New Mexico, USA

Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico contains pueblos, structures built of stone, adobe mud, and other local materials found mainly in New Mexico and parts of Arizona. Between 900 and 1150 AD, this area was a major cultural center for the Ancestral Puebloans.

The Hopi and Pueblo people consider the Chacoan cultural sites sacred ancestral homelands. The park holds impressive architectural achievements, such as Great Houses and astronomical structures.

Montezuma Castle National Monument, Arizona

Ancient Sinagua Dwelling - Montezuma Castle National Monument, Arizona, USA

Montezuma was an Aztec emperor, but the Aztecs did not construct the structures at Montezuma Castle National Monument. Instead, the site protects well-preserved dwellings built and used by the Sinagua people in present-day Arizona.

The main structure is five stories tall and has about 20 rooms that were built over the course of three centuries. It’s located about 90 feet up a sheer limestone cliff and is one of the best-preserved cliff dwellings in North America.

Hovenweep National Monument, Colorado and Utah

Ancient Ruins - Hovenweep National Monument, Colorado and Utah, USA

Hovenweep National Monument is another must-see archaeological site in the US southwest. The site covers areas in both Colorado and Utah and includes six prehistoric villages.

At Hovenweep, you can visit ancient towers, multi-room structures, and impressive masonry that dates back to the 13th century. Here, you can learn about Ancestral Puebloans’ way of life, including how they cultivated the land and used ceremonial structures.