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Ancient Pueblo Peoples Page


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To Outline of Class Discussion
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General Links for the Ancient Pueblo Peoples

Chaco Canyon Culture Links


General Pueblo Resources


Outline of Class Discussion: The Ancient Pueblo Peoples (Anasazi)

  1. The term "Anasazi" has come under criticism from today's Pueblo Peoples since it is a Navajo word meaning "ancient enemies"
  2. Long sequence of developmental stages
  3. Basket Maker (1-400 CE) abundance of fine quality basketry; basically Desert Culture life; by 100 CE began settling down; dogs domesticated; Mogollon influenced pottery or some suggest Caddo influences.
  4. By 400-700 Modified Basket Maker Stage - pit houses often in caves or rock overhangs of cliffs; cotton and beans added; bow and aroow, stone ax came into use, turkeys domesticated
  5. By 700 development quickened - more foods, gardens expanded, drafts/arts flourished; surplus led to lesire time with expanded interest in esthetic and spiritual impulses
  6. By 700, contiguous rooms - "Pueblos" - from Spanish word "town"
  7. Families joined together, became bigger and bigger - apartments
  8. Pit houses turned into round subterranean ceremonial chambers called "kivas"
  9. Pueblos also developmental stages - at peak, Great Pueblo period - 1100-1300 CE; classic age of beautiful textiles, pottery, jewelry; kivas smaller
  10. Included Chaco Canyon Cultures (11 major sites, hundreds of smaller sites)
  11. Tower-like structures and other new architectural forms appeared
  12. Life in Pueblos:

    A. Close knit units, individual subordinated to the group
    B. Generally good-natured and peaceful (Hopi means "peaceful ones")
    C. Did fight fiercely in defense but not offensive
    D. Directed by religious societies - theocracies
    E. Seems to have been no class structure
    F. Religion permeated all of life
    G. Pueblo men are said to have devoted a least 1/2 time to religious activities
    H. Numerous dieties and beneficent spirits called Kachinas (Katcinas)

    (1) No women and children in kivas
    (2) pits of kivas symbolized Sipapu - a place of great mystery in the north where men had first entered the world from the underground
    (3) "scare Kachinas" masked, whipped bad out of young boys as preliminary initiation
    (4) Most well-known kachina - Kokopelli, a fertility kachina

    I. Rigidly conformist society; individualistic - witches
    J. Also one of most tranquil and cooperative in world
    K. Practiced intensive agriculture
    L. Matrilineal so women owned crops, houses, furniture
    M. Dryland farming; in east, river bottoms
    N. Communal rabbit hunting; gathering
    O. Men wore loincloth of cotton with second piece over in sort of kilt; sometimes pancho-like shirt; women cotton garments tied above right should secured with belt
    P. Men wore hair with bangs and knot in back but loose in ceremonies; women variety including Hopi and Zuni coiled hair symbolized squash blossom; older women wore braids
    Q. Women did cooking and much of construction of houses; made excellent pottery and basketry although not weavers
    R. Monogamists; little courtship or emotion; divorce simple, put his stuff out
  13. From 1300 to 1540 prospered in new locations including Chihuahua and Phoenix areas
  14. New traits appeared including lead glaze pottery, murals on kivas, roots of Kachina "cult", plazas
  15. But at peak also began to decline and disappear on northern and western frontiers
  16. Return to Desert Culture - and many had continued to live this lifestyle throughout Pueblo period - Yuman-speaking peoples like Havasupais, Walapais, Yavapais, Mohaves, Hakhidhomas, Maricopas, Yumas, Cocpas, and Utaztecan-speaking Chemehuevis
  17. About 1450 large scale withdrawals; by time Europeans arrived, many Pueblos abandoned
  18. Don't know why - theories include change in climate, erosion, hostile invaders, intrapueblo factionalism, all of the above
  19. But, Zuni and Hopi remain - inheritors of Ancient Pueblo Culture
  20. Largest Pueblo today that of Zuni in Western New Mexico - about 2500 people
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