"Corner View of The Palace - Palenque Archaeological Site - Chiapas - Mexico " by Adam Jones via Wikimedia Commons

The most significant ruins of North America sit in Mexico and the southwestern United States. The remnants of the Aztecs and Mayas dominate much of Mexico, while Native American tribes such as the Anasazi left their mark elsewhere. There are some fascinating sites elsewhere as well, often where you would least expect them such as burial mounds in Ohio and cave paintings in the Grand Canyon.

  1. Anasazi Cave Dwellings, New Mexico The cliff or cave dwellings of the Anasazi built during the Pueblo III in the Canyon de Chelly period are one of the most recognizable Native American historical sites.
  2. Palenque, Mexico Although not the largest Mayan site in the region, some of the finest sculptures, architecture, and bas-reliefs of the civilization can be found here. The vast complex in the state of Chiapas is filled with many large palaces and temples.
  3. Campeche, Mexico The modern city of Campeche on Mexico’s Gulf coast was built over the Mayan city of Canpech or Kimpech.
  4. Chaco Canyon National Park, New Mexico The one time political and economic center of the Anasazi culture is home to more than 1,200 ruins that have revealed almost everything we know about these mysterious people.
  5. Tulum, Mexico While the name Tulum is now associated more with the nearby resort town of the same name, this temple complex facing the Caribbean Sea is one of the best preserved coastal Mayan sites.
  6. Chichen Itza, Mexico The towering Temple of Kuklkan, also known as El Castillo, dominates this major Mayan site in the central Yucatan. Temples, palaces, stages, markets, baths, and ballcourts can also be found in the vast arecheological complex.
  7. L’Anse Aux Meadows, Newfoundland/Labrador The ruins of Viking settlements from the 11th century, built by Scandinavian explorers after the Leif Erikson expedition, line the eastern provinces of Canada. Most are typical settlements like those in Iceland and Greenland.
  8. Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, Hawaii This 1160-acre park on the Big Island of Hawaii is the site of an ancient native Hawaiian settlement with fishponds, petroglyphs, and religious sites.
  9. Great Serpent Mound, Ohio This more than 1,300 foot serpent shaped effigy mound created by the Adena culture in southern Ohio is one of the most important remaining Native American earthworks.
  10. Hovenweep National Monumnet, Utah/Colorado Six different sets of ruins spread out among hundreds of acres represent the climax of Pueblo farming societies.

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