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Ancient Pueblo People, or Ancestral Puebloans is the preferred term for the group of peoples often known as Anasazi who are the ancestors of the modern Pueblo peoples. The term "Anasazi" is not preferred by their descendants, though there is still some controversy amongst them on a native alternative. The word Anasazi is Navajo for "Ancient Ones" or "Ancient Enemy."
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 Anasazi 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, and Canyon De Chelly National Monument. These villages, called pueblos by Mexican settlers, were often only accessible by rope or through rock climbing.
They also left behind a lot of petroglyphs and pictographs.
The Ancestral Puebloans also made some unique pieces of pottery which are very valuable for their rarity.
The Ancestral Puebloans disappeared for as yet undetermined reasons. Many have speculated that a change in local climate and resulting agricultural failures may be the reason; for example, the San Ildefonso Pueblo people used to live in Mesa Verde and Bandelier.
See also: kiva, sipapu, Kokopelli, Hopi, Zuni, Taos Pueblo, Cliff Palace
Page Updated: Wed Oct 6 12:25:17 2004
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