This is so neat.. hundreds and hundreds of years ago this was made.. and still untouched. We are told there are others very close by.. I think that is our quest for this weekend. Ancient Pueblo People, or Ancestral Puebloans is a preferred term for the cultural group of people often known as Anasazi who are the ancestors of the modern Pueblo peoples. The ancestral Puebloans were a prehistoric Native American civilization centered around the present-day Four Corners area of the Southwest United States.
Archaeologists still debate when a distinct culture emerged, but the current consensus, based on terminology defined by the Pecos Classification, suggests their emergence around 1200 B.C., the Basketmaker II Era.
The civilization is perhaps best-known for the jacal, adobe and sandstone dwellings that they built along cliff walls, particularly during the Pueblo II and Pueblo III eras.
The best-preserved examples of those dwellings are in parks such as Chaco Culture National Historical Park, Mesa Verde National Park, Hovenweep National Monument, Bandelier National Monument, and Canyon de Chelly National Monument. These villages, called pueblos by Mexican settlers, were often only accessible by rope or through rock climbing.
The Ancestral Puebloans are also known for their unique style of pottery, today considered valuable for their rarity. They also created many petroglyphs and pictographs.
The Ancestral Puebloans migrated from their ancient homeland for several complex reasons. These may include pressure from Numic-speaking peoples moving onto the Colorado Plateau as well as climate change which resulted in agricultural failures.
Confirming evidence for climatic change in North America is found in excavations of western regions in the Mississippi Valley between A.D. 1150 and 1350 which show long lasting patterns of warmer, wetter winters and cooler, dryer summers.
Most modern Pueblo peoples (whether Keresans, Hopi, or Tanoans) and historians like James W. Loewen, in his book Lies Across America, assert these people did not "vanish," as is commonly portrayed, but merged into the various pueblo peoples whose descendants still live in Arizona and New Mexico.
This perspective is not new and was also presented in reports from early 20th century anthropologists, including Frank Hamilton Cushing, J. Walter Fewkes and Alfred V. Kidder.
Many modern Pueblo tribes trace their lineage from settlements in the Anasazi area and areas inhabited by their cultural neighbors, the Mogollon. For example, the San Ildefonso Pueblo people believe that their ancestors lived in both the Mesa Verde area and the current Bandelier.
The term "Anasazi" was established in archaeological terminology through the Pecos Classification system in 1927. Archaeologist Linda Cordell discussed the word's etymology and use:
- "The name "Anasazi" has come to mean "ancient people," "ancient ones", although the word itself is Navajo, meaning "enemy ancestors." It is unfortunate that a non-Pueblo word has come to stand for a tradition that is certainly ancestral Pueblo.
The term was first applied to ruins of the Mesa Verde by Richard Wetherill, a rancher and trader who, in 1888-1889, was the first Anglo-American to explore the sites in that area. Wetherill knew and worked with Navajos and understood what the word meant.
The name was further sanctioned in archaeology when it was adopted by Alfred V. Kidder, the acknowledged dean of Southwestern Archaeology. Kidder felt that is was less cumbersome than a more technical term he might have used. Subsequently some archaeologists who would try to change the term have worried that because the Pueblos speak different languages, there are different words for "ancestor," and using one might be offensive to people speaking other languages.
Some modern Pueblo peoples object to the use of the term Anasazi, although there is still controversy among them on a native alternative. The modern Hopi use the word "Hisatsinom" in preference to Anasazi. However, Navajo Nation Historic Preservation Department (NNHPD) spokeman Ronald Maldonado has indicated the Navajo do not favor use of the term "Ancestral Puebloan." In fact, reports submitted for review by NNHPD are rejected if they include use of the term.
Archaeological cultural units such as "Anasazi", Hohokam, Patayan or Mogollon are used by archaeologists to define material culture similarities and differences that may identify prehistoric socio-cultural units which may be understood as equivalent to modern tribes, societies or peoples. The names and divisions are classificatory devices based on theoretical perspectives, analytical methods and data available at the time of analysis and publication. They are subject to change, not only on the basis of new information and discoveries, but also as attitudes and perspectives change within the scientific community. It should not be assumed that an archaeological division or culture unit corresponds to a particular language group or to a socio-political entity such as a tribe.
When making use of modern cultural divisions in the American Southwest, it is important to understand three limitations in the current conventions:
- Archaeological research focuses on items left behind during people's activities; fragments of pottery vessels, human remains, stone tools or evidence left from the construction of dwellings. However, many other aspects of the culture of prehistoric peoples are not tangible. Languages spoken by these people and their beliefs and behavior are difficult to decipher from physical materials. Cultural divisions are tools of the modern scientist, and so should not be considered similar to divisions or relationships the ancient residents may have recognized. Modern cultures in this region, many of whom claim some of these ancient people as ancestors, contain a striking range of diversity in lifestyles, social organization, language and religious beliefs. This suggests the ancient people were also more diverse than their material remains may suggest.
- The modern term 'style' has a bearing on how material items such as pottery or architecture can be interpreted. Within a people, different means to accomplish the same goal can be adopted by subsets of the larger group. For example, in modern Western cultures, there are alternative styles of clothing that characterized older and younger generations. Some cultural differences may be based on linear traditions, on teaching from one generation or 'school' to another. Other varieties in style may have distinguished between arbitrary groups within a culture, perhaps defining status, gender, clan or guild affiliation, religious belief or cultural alliances. Variations may also simply reflect the different resources available in a given time or area.
- Defining cultural groups, such as the Ancient Pueblo peoples, tends to create an image of territories separated by clear-cut boundaries, like modern state lines. These simply did not exist. Prehistoric people traded, worshipped and collaborated most often with other nearby groups. Cultural differences should therefore be understood as 'clinal', "increasing gradually as the distance separating groups also increases." (Plog, p. 72.) Departures from the expected pattern may occur because of unidentified social or political situations or because of geographic barriers. In the Southwest, mountain ranges, rivers and, most obviously, the Grand Canyon can be significant barriers for human communities, likely reducing the frequency of contact with other groups. Current opinion holds that the closer cultural similarity between the Mogollon and Ancient Pueblos and their greater differences from the Hohokam and Patayan is due to both the geography and the variety of climate zones in the Southwest.