Yucca House National Monument is located eight miles outside of Cortez in Southwestern Colorado. It was named as a National Monument in 1919 and protects Ancestral Puebloan ruins.
1. The Yucca House is one of the largest archaeological sites in Colorado.
The Yucca House National Monument has the ruins of a great kiva as well as 100 small kivas and a large pueblo that archaeologists estimate had around 600 rooms. The preservation of Yucca House allows archaeologists and historians to continue to study the Ancestral Puebloan people who called the area home.
2. The National Monument is unexcavated.
The ruins of the Ancestral Puebloan people are unexcavated to preserve the archeological integrity of the site. This means that the visible ruins resemble clusters of rocks or some foundations of buildings, but there are no excavated or restored buildings to view.
3. To visit the National Monument you need to follow specific directions.
Yucca House National Monument is surrounded by private farmland. Make sure to stick to the described roadways (most of which are gravel or dirt) and close any gates you pass through behind you. You can find the directions to visit here.
4. Download the Visitor Guide before you go.
The National Monument has no facilities or signage regarding the history of the park, so download the Visitor Guide before you go. The Guide will introduce the history of the Monument as well as current research being done and directions to the site.
5. The site’s name changed.
In the late 1800s the ruins seen at Yucca House were named the Aztec Springs. The name was due to the spring that ran through the center of the ruins and the belief that the site was built by the Aztec people. But the Utes and Navajos, as well as the modern Pueblo people, have historical and ancestral ties to the site. The name was changed to reflect the historical error and was based off of a Ute name for the area that means yucca.
6. The National Monument is near Mesa Verde National Park.
Mesa Verde National Park is about 20 miles away from the National Monument. This provides visitors to the area an incredible opportunity to see unexcavated ruins at Yucca House National Monument as well as the nearby excavated cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park.
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