10 Magnificent Ancient Ruins in USA
When you think of ancient ruins, you might picture the Great Wall of China, the Colosseum in Rome, the Mayan ruins in Machu Picchu, the mighty pyramids of Giza, or what’s left of the Acropolis in Athens. After all, these historical landmarks were built with some of the most impressive architectural designs that have outlasted the test of time.
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A lot of people tend to forget that the history of the US goes back way further than Christopher Columbus and the American Revolution because it is a relatively young nation. Spread across this country are great numbers of archaeological sites built by ancient civilization that are well-worth a visit. So instead of spending thousands of dollars to experience the sites abroad, you might want to consider checking out these American ruins first.
Chaco Canyon, New Mexico
One of the most important pre-Columbian cultural and historical areas in the United States is the Chaco Canyon that’s located in the New Mexico desert. Back in the ninth and 13th century, this ancient site was a massive trade center for the Ancestral Puebloans, and multi-story stupendous buildings were constructed along a 9-mile stretch of the canyon. In the early 10th Century, change came to Chaco as new construction slowed and Chaco’s role as regional center shifted. It was during this period of time that people started migrating to new areas, spreading the Chacoan ways to the north, south and west.
Mystery Hill, New Hampshire
Did you know – the Americans have their own version of Stonehenge, too! Mystery Hill is a complex of stone structures and artificial caves. Some believe that they date back to as old as the 17th century, but the exact date can’t be determined because the ancient ruins suffered from tampering at the hands of a 1930s landowner who was convinced the structures were the remains of a 7th-century Iris monastic colony.
Judaculla Rock, North Carolina
For years, the Cherokee people who lived near the Judaculla Rock used it as an announcement board, etching petroglyph designs into the stone. It also sports seven grooves – the mythical footprints of a legendary giant, which contemporary archaeologists attribute to ancient masons mining the soapstone to make bowls.
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Bighorn Medicine Wheel, Wyoming
Of all the “medicine wheel” monuments scattered across North America, Wyoming’s Bighorn Medicine Wheel is the biggest, spanning a whopping 75 feet in diameter. In the 1970s, Astronomer John Eddy noticed that some of the wheel’s spokes pinpoint to the direction of the sunrise on different solstices, while other spokes the rising point of other stars, suggesting the site may have once been an observatory. It is, however, still a mystery as to who built the wheel.
Berkeley Mystery Wall, California
Also called the East Bay Wall, this mysterious wall is a series of stone walls running through a rough path in the Bay Area of California, from Berkeley to San Jose. Like most of the historical ruins found in this country, it is still unclear as to why this wall was built and who made it. An archaeologist in the early 1900s did suggest that it was built by Mongolian sailors who sailed to the Californian coast well before Columbus, but this theory has not yet been proven.
Miami Circle, Florida
Unlike most of the old ruins that have been unearthed for more than a few decades, the Miami Circle was only recently discovered. Back in 1998, a Florida developer knocked down a 1950s apartment complex, revealing a circular pattern of holes in limestone bedrock. After excavating further, tools similar to those used by the once local Tequesta people and radiocarbon testing suggest the site is as old as 3,000 years old. The State of Florida now owns the plot, which still sits at the water’s edge beside a series of high-rises, to protect it from developers.
Dighton Rock, Massachusetts
Similar to Judaculla Rock, Dighton Rock (found in Berkeley, Massachusetts) is another boulder filled with petroglyphs. And like the North Carolina rock, no one knows who made or carved it. Most scholars credit the local pre-Columbian tribes, while other theories lead to the Vikings, Portuguese sailors and Phoenicians. The rock itself is now housed in a museum inside Dighton Rock State Park, complete with exhibits making the case for each theory.
Casa Grande Ruins, Arizona
Archaeologists believe that Casa Grande was constructed back in the early 13th-century. Builders used adobe to form the structure and the full complex was initially surrounded by a wall. Today the main building is under a protective roof built by Civil Conservation Corps workers in the 1930s, and the historical ruins are a federally protected national park—making this the first prehistoric ruins to become a park in the United States.
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Cliff Palace, Colorado
Deep in the Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado lies the 800-year-old Cliff Palace that’s also known as the largest settlement of the Ancestral Puebloans – an ancient civilization that was once inhabited the Four Corners region of the American Southwest. As many as 100 people called the fortress home during the 13th century A.D., but the Puebloans abandoned it just a few decades later, most likely because of a prolonged drought. Cliff Palace became a ghost town and remained unknown to non-natives until 1888, when a pair of ranchers chanced upon it while looking for stray cattle.
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