Americans don’t need to travel abroad to see fascinating these top 5 USA archaeological sites. There are plenty of them right there in the US of A, from Illinois to Arizona and from Texas to Colorado. After all, the continent has been home to people for more than 10,000 years. Numerous ancient sites dot the American landscape, including those from Ancestral Puebloans to more recent Native Americans. And they’re all phenomenal.
Top 5 USA Archaeological Sites to visit
There may be many archaeological sites in the USA, but handful are head and shoulders above the rest. Places so interesting that they’ve been designated state and national parks. A few even made it on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, indicating their massive cultural and historic importance. So, let’s take a look at the top 5 USA archaeological sites in America.
5. Seminole Canyon State Park & Historic Site, Texas
On the border of Texas and Mexico lies Seminole Canyon, a region that has been inhabited by humans for 10 millennia. The highlights of these under-the-radar destination are collection of Native American rock art, some dating back as far as 7,000 B.C. In addition to admiring ancient works of art, you can also camp, hike, mountain bike and watch birds.
4. Wupatki National Monument, Arizona
Located between the Painted Desert and the ponderosa highlands in north-central Arizona, Wupatki National Monument is home to numerous Native American ruins. Its name means “tall house” in the Hopi language, a testimony to the types of structures you’ll find here. Wander through ancient pueblos and try to imagine what life in the desert must have been like centuries ago.
3. Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, Illinois
Arguably the least-known yet one of the greatest archaeological sites in the USA lies in southern Illinois. The Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site may fly well under many people’s radar, but this place is, in fact, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, you’ll find the site of a pre-Columbian Native American city. About 80 mounds remain of what used to be the largest urban settlement of the Mississippian culture. It’s the most complex and extensive pre-Columbian archaeological site north of the Mexican border.
2. Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado
One of the oldest national parks in America, Colorado’s Mesa Verde National Park is one of the largest archaeological sites in the USA. It encompasses no fewer than 5,000 Ancestral Puebloan sites, which includes an incredible 600 cliff dwellings. Its enormous historical and cultural significance is recognized by UNESCO—Mesa Verde is a World Heritage Site. You can join rangers on guided tours of major cliff dwellings like Balcony House and Cliff Palace.
1. Chaco Culture National Historical Park, New Mexico
In northwestern New Mexico, you’ll find yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Chaco Culture National Historical Park is home to the greatest (and largest) concentration of pueblos in the Southwest. It contains a mesmerizing collection of ruins in Chaco Canyon, which was home to thousands of people between about 900 and 1150 AD. It’s a sensational place that definitely belongs on any road trip itinerary in the American Southwest.