Aztec Ruins
Administrative History
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We want a tract (dimensions) upon which are situated the ruins comprising the main group of prehistoric remains, of which the so-called "Aztec" Ruin is the nucleus, and sufficient right in the ditch to irrigate a small portion of the same. For this tract and water therefor the American Museum of Natural History agrees to pay

The following are the considerations agreed to by Mr. Abrams and the American Museum of Natural History, in consideration of which the transfer of this property is made:-

The Museum agrees thoroughly and systematically to excavate these ruins: to remove all earth and debris handled in process of excavation to a reasonable distance, so that when the explorations are completed each structure will stand in clear and unobstructed view. However, if it seems desirable, one ruin may be left in its original condition, to demonstrate the appearance of the group as a whole before explorations were begun.

To repair all walls of the ruin cleared to the height to which they stand when the excavation of each individual ruin is begun, to cover them with stone laid in cement, as is now being done to the tops of the walls of the "Aztec" Ruin: that is to put each and every structure excavated in condition to withstand the destructive action of the elements.

To do a limited amount of reconstruction, such as the rebuilding of the roof, or the heightening of walls, for the purpose of conveying to the public an accurate and concrete idea of essential features of the various structures before their collapse.

There shall be left in situ certain rooms to show the fallen floors, and when possible, objects be left in situ, properly protected from the weather and visiting public. The desirability and extent of such reconstruction shall be left to the discretion of the person to whom the scientific aspect of the explorations is entrusted.

To continue the specified excavations and repair to the extent of a minimum expenditure of $5000 per calendar year; provided that should the present war, or other calamitous events beyond the power of man to foresee, enforce the temporary cessation of the work, the Museum agrees to resume its previous schedule of operations as soon as economic conditions are sufficiently readjusted to make this possible. The salary of the person in charge of excavations may be included in said $5000 appropriation, as it is at present.

To provide a caretaker, who shall admit visitors, guard against dispoliation [sic] of any and all of the aboriginal remains, and generally see to the welfare and preservation of the ruins.

To maintain upon the tract above specified a museum of sufficient proportions to house and exhibit a representative collection of the artifacts taken from the ruins, sufficiently comprehensive to illustrate all of the known arts and technical processes of their makers. To utilize for this purpose a portion of one of the ruins or a building erected of stone saved during the process of excavation. To have this museum prepared and the collections installed not later than one year after the completion of the excavation of the Ruin now (1918) being explored.

To publish a guide book explanatory to the various ruins, and the artifacts exhibited in the local museum, to be furnished to those desiring it, at no more than 5% above actual cost of preparation and printing.

To enclose the main of "Aztec" Ruin, and eventually the entire tract, with a fence which will exclude animals and the general public.

The Museum specifically agrees to make no attempt to exploit the ruins for financial gain. However, it is understood that, after a caretaker has been provided, a nominal admission fee may be charged, the funds derived therefrom to be devoted to the maintenance of the caretaker and the incidental secondary repair work which may from time to time be found necessary.

Mr. Abrams, his family and special friends, to the number of not more than eight per day, shall be admitted free of charge, and shall be tendered the courtesies of the guide and caretaker at all times. Mr. Abrams shall be provided, free of charge, with a copy of each and every publication pertaining to the ruins or the objects taken therefrom.

When the visitors shall have increased to sufficient numbers, the Museum may provide such accommodations for their comfort as may seem desirable, such as housing, food, garage facilities, or whatever may lead to a greater advertisement of the reconstructed ruins, and give the tourists from a distance the assurance that they will be made comfortable during their sojourn. The right to provide said accommodation may be let to a responsible party or parties; provided, however, that any net profits to the Museum shall be used in the maintenance and care of the property under consideration. These accommodations may be made as attractive as possible, but in no wise compulsory for those inspecting the site.

Mr. Abrams shall be free to use for three years that portion of the tract in which he has been accustomed, in winter, to shelter his stock (sheep, horses, etc.), provided he does not excavate within any portion of any of the structures, nor in any wise contribute to their destruction.

The Museum will move to a reasonable distance, or replace all structures, such as dipping vats, hay sheds and corrals situated upon the tract prior to August, 1918.

If it should prove desirable and expedient, the privilege is granted to the Museum to transfer this property to a group of individuals designated by the Museum, who will trustee a fund which shall be sufficient to carry out the tenets of this contract in every respect; and said Board of Trustees, acting in lieu of the Museum, shall be bound to observe each and every promise of this contract.

Mr. Abrams, because of his interest and service in the proper protection and exploration of the aboriginal remains upon the tract above specified, and because of his special fitness so to act, shall be an active member of this Board throughout his lifetime.

Mr. Abrams values the ruins, area (25 acres) at the price he would have to pay to purchase 20 acres of land in the immediate vicinity which acreage is necessary to properly work his farm. Mr. Abrams agrees that the purchase price shall not be over $6500 and if he can secure the 20 acres for less, then that amount which he pays will be the cost of the ruin area to the Museum.

Mr. Abrams give the exclusive right to the Museum to excavate a certain ruin (boulder) near the road running south from his farmhouse. This ruin is not included in the tract because it would with the land surrounding cut his farm in two.

[Retyped from xerox of original document]

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Last Updated: 28-Aug-2006