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Graffiti May Fill Gaps in Aztec Ruins National Monument History

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11min 23sec
Courtesy of the National Park Service
Historians are studying graffiti early archaeologists and pioneers left in Ancestral Puebloan ruins near Farmington, New Mexico.

The ruins of ancient, multi-story stone buildings stand near Farmington, New Mexico. It’s called Aztec Ruins National Monument, although it’s a misnomer. Ancestral Puebloans built these about 900 years ago. The largest of these buildings consists of more than 400 masonry rooms. And on the ceilings -- there’s graffiti. Who wrote it, and what does it tell archaeologists about the history of the site? Cortez historian Fred Blackburn is engaged in that research.