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the Ancient Americas => Native American => Topic started by: Cleito on July 23, 2007, 11:29:18 pm

Title: Anasazi
Post by: Cleito on July 23, 2007, 11:29:18 pm
Ancient Pueblo People or Ancestral Puebloans were a prehistoric Native American culture centered around the present-day Four Corners area of the Southwest United States, noted for their distinctive pottery and dwelling construction styles. The cultural group is often referred to as the Anasazi.

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., during the Basketmaker II Era. Beginning with the earliest explorations and excavations, researchers have believed that the Ancient Puebloans are ancestors of the modern Pueblo peoples[citation needed]. In general, modern Pueblo people claim these ancient people as their ancestors.

Title: Re: Anasazi
Post by: Cleito on July 23, 2007, 11:30:14 pm

A map showing the extent of Ancient Pueblo occupation.

Title: Re: Anasazi
Post by: Cleito on July 23, 2007, 11:31:05 pm

Cliff Palace, Mesa Verde National Park

Title: Re: Anasazi
Post by: Cleito on July 23, 2007, 11:31:46 pm
Geography of the Ancient Pueblo

The Ancient Pueblo were one of four major prehistoric archaeological traditions of the American Southwest. The others are the Mogollon, Hohokam and Patayan. In relation to neighboring cultures, the Ancient Pueblo occupied the northeast quadrant of the area.[1] The Ancient Pueblo homeland centers on the Colorado Plateau, but extends from central New Mexico on the east to southern Nevada on the west. Areas of southern Nevada, Utah and Colorado form a loose northern boundary, while the southern edge is defined by the Colorado and Little Colorado rivers in Arizona and the Rio Puerco and Rio Grande in New Mexico. However, evidence of Ancient Pueblo culture has been found extending east onto the American Great Plains, in areas near the Cimarron and Pecos rivers and in the Galisteo Basin.

Terrain and resources within this massive region vary greatly. The plateau regions are generally high, with elevations ranging from 4500 to 8500 feet (1350–2600 meters). Extensive horizontal mesas are capped by sedimentary formations and support woodlands of junipers, pinon, ponderosa pines, and yellow pines, each favoring different elevations. Wind and water erosion have created steep walled canyons, and sculpted windows and bridges out of the sandstone landscape. In areas where erosionally resistant strata (sedimentary rock layers) such as sandstone or limestone overlie more easily eroded strata such as shale, rock overhangs formed. These overhangs were favored sites for shelters and building sites. The range country in areas such as the San Juan, Gallup and Albuquerque basins is low and arid, supporting desert grasses and shrubs. Streams in these regions allow the growth of willows and reeds, and were utilized by the Ancient Pueblo for agriculture. Mountains in the region are as tall as 12,000 feet (3650 meters), and provided timber, game, minerals, and the specialized stone used for flaked tools.

In the Southwest, access to water was essential. All areas of the Ancient Pueblo homeland suffered from periods of drought and wind and water erosion. Summer rains could be undependable and often arrived in destructive thunderstorms. While the amount of winter snowfall varied greatly, the Ancient Pueblo depended on the snow for most of their water. Snow melt allowed the germination of seeds, both wild and cultivated, in the spring. Where sandstone layers overlay shale, snow melt can accumulate and create seeps and springs, which the Ancient Pueblo used as water sources. Snow also fed the smaller, more predictable tributaries, such as the Chinle, Animas, Jemez and Taos rivers. The larger rivers were less important to the ancient culture, as smaller streams were more easily diverted or controlled for irrigation.

Because Anasazi translates roughly to "enemy ancestors" the modern descendants of this culture often choose to use the term "pueblo peoples."

Title: Re: Anasazi
Post by: Cleito on July 23, 2007, 11:32:55 pm

White House Ruins, Canyon de Chelly National Monument

Title: Re: Anasazi
Post by: Cleito on July 23, 2007, 11:34:11 pm
Cultural characteristics

The Ancient Pueblo culture is perhaps best-known for the jacal, adobe and sandstone dwellings 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 other Mexican settlers, were often only accessible by rope or through rock climbing.

However, these astonishing building achievements had more modest beginnings. The first Ancestral Puebloan homes and villages were based on the pit house, a common feature in the Basketmaker periods, and a not unusual dwelling in later periods in less urban locations. Over time, these homes were expanded by the addition of storage structures made of adobe and poles or adobe and stone, eventually evolving into independent homes grouped in L-shapes, semicircles or rectangles. These complexes became more elaborate over time, with thicker walls made of jacal worked stone, until the beginning of the great Pueblo period about AD 1150.

Ceramic bowl from Chaco Canyon in New Mexico which belonged to the Pueblo III phase.

Anasazi, North America: A canteen (pot) excavated from the ruins in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico.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.

Title: Re: Anasazi
Post by: Cleito on July 23, 2007, 11:35:25 pm

Pueblo Bonito, a Chacoan Great House

Title: Re: Anasazi
Post by: Cleito on July 23, 2007, 11:36:29 pm

The period from 700-1130 AD saw a rapid increase in population due to consistent and regular rainfall patterns. From studies of skeletal remains, this growth was due to increased fertility rather than decreased mortality. However, 10-fold increase in density over the course of a few generations could not be achieved by increased birthrate alone; likely it also involved migrations of peoples from surrounding areas. Innovations such as pottery, food storage, and agriculture enabled this rapid growth. Over several decades, the Ancient Pueblo culture spread across the landscape.

Modern Pueblo oral traditions hold that they originated to the north of their current settlements, from Shibapu, where they emerged from the underworld through a lake. For unknown ages they were led by war chiefs guided by the Great Spirit across North America. They settled first in the Anasazi areas for a few hundred years, then migrated to their current location. The migrations were undertaken to preserve the people from total annihilation, and out of a desire to achieve perfection in their lives and harmony with the environment.

Title: Re: Anasazi
Post by: Cleito on July 23, 2007, 11:37:31 pm
Migration from the homeland

It is not entirely clear why the Ancestral Puebloans migrated from their established homes in the 12th and 13th centuries. Factors examined and discussed include prolonged periods of drought, cyclical periods of top soil erosion, environmental degradation, de-forestation, hostility from new arrivals, religious or cultural change, and even influence from Mesoamerican cultures. Many of these possibilities are supported by archaeological evidence.

Current opinion holds that the Ancestral Puebloans responded to pressure from Numic-speaking peoples moving onto the Colorado Plateau as well as climate change which resulted in agricultural failures. The archaeological record indicates that it was not unusual for ancient Pueblo peoples to adapt to climatic change by changing residences and locations. Early Pueblo I sites may have housed up to 600 individuals in a few separate but closely spaced settlement clusters. However, they were generally occupied for a mere 30 years or less. Archaeologist Timothy A. Kohler excavated large Pueblo I sites near Dolores, Colorado, and discovered that they were established during periods of above-average rainfall. This would allow crops to be grown without benefit of irrigation. At the same time, nearby areas experiencing significantly drier patterns were abandoned.

The ancient Pueblos attained a cultural "Golden Age" between about 900 and 1130 A.D. During this time, generally classed as Pueblo II, the climate was relatively warm and rainfall mostly adequate. Communities grew larger and were inhabited for longer periods of time. Highly specific local traditions in architecture and pottery emerged, and trade over long distances appears to have been common. Domesticated turkeys appear. After approximately 1150 A.D. North America experienced significant climatic change in the form of a 300 year drought, which also led to the collapse of the Tiwanaku civilization around Lake Titicaca [3]. Confirming evidence 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, drier summers. In this later period, the Pueblo II became more self-contained, decreasing trade and interaction with more distant communities. Southwest farmers developed irrigation techniques appropriate to seasonal rainfall, including soil and water control features such as check dams and terraces. However, the population of the region continued to be mobile, abandoning settlements and fields under adverse conditions.

Along with this change in precipitation patterns was a drop in water table levels, due to a different cycle unrelated to rainfall. This forced the abandonment of settlements in the more arid or overfarmed locations.

Evidence also suggests a profound change in the religion in this period. Chacoan and other structures constructed originally along astronomical alignments, and thought to have served important ceremonial purposes to the culture, were systematically dismantled. Doorways were sealed with rock and mortar. Kiva walls show marks from great fires set within them, which probably required removal of the massive roof - a task which would require signficiant effort. Habitations were abandoned, tribes split and divided and resettled far elsewhere. This evidence suggests that the religious structures were deliberately abandoned slowly over time. Puebloan tradition holds that the ancestors had achieved great spiritual power and control over natural forces, and used their power in ways that caused nature to change, and caused changes that were never meant to occur. Possibly, the dismantling of their religious structures was an effort to symbolically undo the changes they felt they caused due to their abuse of their spiritual power, and thus make amends with nature.

Stress on the environment by have been reflected in the social structure, leading to conflict and warfare. Near Kayenta, Arizona, Jonathan Haas of the Field Museum in Chicago has been studying a group of Anasazi villages that relocated from the canyons to the high mesa tops during the late 1200s. The only reason Haas can see for a move so far from water and arable land is defense against enemies. He asserts that isolated communities relied on raiding for food and supplies, and that warfare became common in the 13th century. This conflict may have been aggravated by the influx of less settled peoples, Numic-speakers such as the Utes, Shoshones and Piutes, who may have originated in what is today California.

Most modern Pueblo peoples (whether Keresans, Hopi, or Tanoans) and historians like James W. Loewen, in his book Lies Across America, assert the ancient Pueblo did not "vanish" as is commonly portrayed in media presentations or popular books, but migrated to areas in the Southwest with more favorable rainfall and dependable streams. They 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 Evidence also suggests that a profound change took place 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 and the Bandelier areas.

Title: Re: Anasazi
Post by: Cleito on July 23, 2007, 11:38:35 pm
Warfare and cannibalism

A 1997 excavation at Cowboy Wash near Dolores, Colorado found remains of at least twenty four human skeletons that showed evidence of violence and dismemberment, with strong indications of cannibalism. This modest community appears to have been abandoned during the same time period. (LeBlanc, p. 174) Other excavations within the Ancient Pueblo culture area produce varying numbers of unburied, and in some cases, dismembered bodies. This evidence of warfare, conflict, and cannibalism is hotly debated by some scholars and interest groups and archaeological conclusions may be strongly attacked.

Title: Re: Anasazi
Post by: Cleito on July 23, 2007, 11:39:43 pm

Ceramic bowl from Chaco Canyon in New Mexico which belonged to the Pueblo III phase.

Title: Re: Anasazi
Post by: Cleito on July 23, 2007, 11:40:42 pm
Cultural distinctions

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, equivalent to modern societies or peoples. The names and divisions are classification 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.

Title: Re: Anasazi
Post by: Cleito on July 23, 2007, 11:42:00 pm

Anasazi, North America: A canteen (pot) excavated from the ruins in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico.

Title: Re: Anasazi
Post by: Cleito on July 23, 2007, 11:43:02 pm
Anasazi as a cultural label

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," although the word itself is Navajo, meaning "enemy ancestors." [The Navajo word is anaasází (<anaa- "enemy", sází "ancestor").] 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 it 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) spokesperson 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.

Title: Re: Anasazi
Post by: Cleito on July 23, 2007, 11:44:37 pm
Limitations on cultural conventions

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 lines separating modern states. These simply did not exist. Prehistoric people traded, worshipped and collaborated most often with other nearby groups with episodic warfare. 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.

Title: Re: Anasazi
Post by: Cleito on July 23, 2007, 11:46:05 pm

Possible petrographs: 1054 Supernova (now Crab Nebula) above, Halley's comet below.
photo by Ron Lussier
1054 Supernova Petrograph
Dan Greening

The Anasazi residents of Chaco Canyon were attentive to the movements of the heavens, that much is clear. The famous Sun Dagger on Fajada Butte in the center of Chaco Canyon is a solar calendar that heralds the winter solstice when a band of sunlight passing through between two slabs intersects the center of a spiral. A square of light floods a notch in the wall of Casa Rinconada's Great Kiva on the summer solstice, and locations marked within the Great Kiva are thought by some to create a simple stellar observatory.

There are many similar phenomena throughout Chaco Canyon and San Juan basin to the northwest. Sometimes a correlation suggests a dubious conclusion, another might seem obvious. Regardless of the validity of any particular claim, there is little doubt that the Chacoans cared about what happened above them, because there are so many correlations.

If you look through a telescope tonight, in the constellation Taurus, you will see a formation we call the "Crab Nebula." This cloudy, glowing mass comprises about 90% of the remains of a supernova that first appeared here around July 4, 1054.

A supernova is the explosion of a large star. Our sun is too small to create a supernova. The star that created the Crab Nebula was much bigger. When a supernova occurs, the majority of the matter in the star is blown out at nearly the speed of light. If you are close, you don't get to watch it very long before you are blown to bits. If you are far away, it will look like a very bright star, once the light from the explosion has taken its time to reach you.

The star that caused the 1054 supernova is about 4000 light years away, and much of the supernova's energy had diminished through space before it reached the earth. Nevertheless, on July 4, 1054, 4000 years after the Crab Nebula supernova actually occurred, a star six times brighter than Venus appeared in the sky. It was visible on Earth at high noon, and stayed visible for 23 days. The supernova was so strong that had it occurred within 50 light years of Earth, all living things on the planet might have been destroyed.

The Chinese and Japanese record the appearance of a very bright "guest star" around this time. And if you were a Chacoan living at the same time, you would notice it, probably even record it.

In fact, on the underside of a shelf below West Mesa in Chaco Canyon, just outside the great house called Peñasco Blanco, is a panel containing three symbols: a large star, a crescent moon, and a handprint.

Halley's comet made its appearance just a few years after the 1054 supernova. If you were a Chacoan living around this time, you would definitely notice Halley's comet: its appearance threw many civilized peoples into fear. And since observing the heavens was an important aspect of Chacoan culture, you would probably record it.

Perhaps you would record Halley's comet where you depicted another one-time astronomical event: below West Mesa, near Peñasco Blanco. Below the star, hand, and moon, in a distinct panel, are three concentric circles, approximately a foot in diameter, with huge red flames trailing to the right. The flames are now so faint that black and white pictures often fail to record it.

Drawing conclusions from these correlations is speculation: we can't ask the Chacoans why they drew the things they did. But the circumstantial evidence is very strong.

Every 18 1/2 years, the moon and earth return to approximately the same positions they had on July 4, 1054. If you happen to be in Peñasco Blanco around this time, situate yourself with a telescope under that shelf of West Mesa and look up in the sky. Wait until the moon is in a position pointed to by the fingers of the hand. And then use the diagram under the shelf to position your telescope at the large star in the petrograph. Look in your telescope, and you will see the Crab Nebula.

And perhaps you will imagine how the Chacoans felt the day a visiting star appeared in their sky.

Return to the Chaco Canyon National Park page.

Copyright © 1995, Chaco Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.

Title: Re: Anasazi
Post by: Cleito on July 23, 2007, 11:48:22 pm

Introduction and translations by Dr. James R. Harris
Expedition material and subsequent translations by Gary Vey.

Oral Tradition and History
of the Ancient People

Information concerning the ancient ancestors of the Eastern Pueblos is scarce but certainly not totally missing. What contemporary descendants are able to tell us of their forefathers ranks high in value as we piece together the elements of this complex historical equation.

In 1976 a well educated and articulate Jemez Pueblo man named Joe S. Sando, son of Juanito Sando, published a book titled, The Pueblo Indians. Pages seventeen to nineteen of Chapter 2, summarizing most of the oral tradition concerning Eastern Pueblo origins known to Professor Sando. (See also the "Historical Outline," pp. 207-208). Some quotes from his text follow:

The people came from the north to their present areas of residence, from the place of origin in Shibapu, where they emerged from the underworld by way of a lake.

I suggest that just as we speak of the Old and New Worlds being separated from each other by two great oceans, this ancient Pueblo tradition portrays a journey from an earlier world through water to the present world. From our studies of emergence symbols coupled with inscriptions it is clear that emergence from the first world to the fourth and present world does not end the emergence cycle. Rather we are continuing to emerge with a potential to reach the Seventh World and the realm of Yah, whose name appears so often in the inscriptions of the Ancients.

During their journeys they were led by the War Chief. This chief served for life. With his assistants and annually appointed captains and their staffs, they constituted a force responsible for clearing the path upon which the people traveled. And with them came the Great Spirit, and he guided the ancient ones through the many arduous tasks of daily life. For unknown ages the ancient people were led from place to place upon this great continent [North America]. Many of them finally settled in the four corners area [the junction of Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico], where they developed their civilization and settled for some hundreds of years before moving to their present homeland. As the ancient one related, it was in order to preserve the people from total annihilation that the Great Spirit impelled them to migrate. This they did, in groups and in different directions. Thus it is that the people created new dialects.
The country where the ancient people lived was a vast open land of deserts, plains, and mountains. Here they built their villages and enhanced their lives. But they were filled with longing for perfection in their lives, harmony with their environment, and so they moved from time to time to other places with better sources of food and a better environment. (Sando 1975, p.17).


The monumental constructions and prosperous communities that spread over a wide area from northeastern Arizona to northeastern New Mexico are called to our attention by Sando. He was concerned with pointing out that the great success of the Pueblo people was maintained because when "they came face to face with nature, [they] did not exploit her. They became part of the ecological balance instead of abusing and finally destroying it."(Sando, 1976, pp.18-19).

It seems probable that learning to live in harmony with nature was a long process (even for the ancients). The most ancient Hohokam prospered using channel irrigation and thus maximized the use of the waters of the Salt and Gila Rivers. A series of dry years resulted in abandoning channel communities and removing some to areas near the river and extending colonization establishments to the Verde, the Little Colorado, the San Juan, the Virgin, the Lower Colorado, and also the Sevier River.


Title: Re: Anasazi
Post by: Cleito on July 23, 2007, 11:50:36 pm

Ancient tribes of the Southwest as envisioned and classified by modern anthropologists.

These colonizations were sub-cultures of the Hohokam and their material remains were named by modern man as Sinagua, Anasazi, Fremont, Mogollon, and Patayan (the latter term is not a tribal designation but refers to a family of tribes located in the Lower Colorado River area).

In these sub-cultures the building skills (stone construction), the agricultural technology and even the alphabetic writing system has survived on the rock inscriptions. The inscriptions seem to be most numerous in the early stages of the development of these sub-cultures (for example Anasazi, Basket-maker II, is the stage of the longest, oldest and most accurately constructed sign forms). The Classic period appears to have Great Kivas, and large condos but also to have lost completely the skill of writing and reading the ancient Southwestern script (or with the utilization of the Kiva, sacred things may have been written on perishable material kept in the Kiva).

The different names given to these cultures has suggested to the minds of most modern investigators that these were different peoples. May we suggest while their ancestral roots consisted of a hybrid made of Old Semitic speakers up from Mexico and the very ancient Desert Archaic people that were in the Southwest "from of old," they were the same people whose culture was further modified by adapting to different environments and further encounters with other cultures.

Why do people think that if you wear different shoes, and have different colored dishes, with different designs and some different tools to work with, you are a different race of people?

Title: Re: Anasazi
Post by: Cleito on July 23, 2007, 11:51:36 pm

Title: Re: Anasazi
Post by: Cleito on July 23, 2007, 11:52:24 pm
 In May of 1980 I was in Albuquerque, to participate in an ARARA convention, and had an opportunity to visit with Joe Sando and his lovely wife at their home just outside of Albuquerque. One of the statements made by Joe, among others that have stuck in my mind, was, "Why do people think that if you wear different shoes, and have different colored dishes, with different designs and some different tools to work with, you are a different race of people?" Archaeologists and anthropologists have differentiated these ancient cultures on the basis of something as superficial as their material cultural remains with the result described above.

We now have something far less superficial to add to the unveiling of the origin of ancient cultures in the Southwest. We have a script of twenty two sounds, a language that gives it meaning, and small windows of history through which we can view the ancient religious ideas, and ethical values of these ancients.

The above remarks do not mean that we regard the classification and orderly identification of material cultural remains to have been a wasted effort. These laborious scientifically reconstructed patterns of material cultural movement are invaluable in the determination of places, times, and movements of peoples with the rock art inscriptions that are coexistent with their artifacts.

Since we are going to take a hard look at the inscriptions found in the Purgatory River (AKA "Picket Wire River") area of Southeastern Colorado the scientific study unveiling the Largo-Gallina Phase in north-central New Mexico will help us to see that there are some very plausible ties between Taos and Picuris (also Tanoans in general), with the ancient peoples that produced these inscriptions.

In the description given by Wormington, this culture is described as "Pueblo-like" and fits into "Great Pueblo" times, although it is not entirely Anasazi. Tree-ring dates place the period of occupation from the beginning of the twelfth to the middle of the thirteenth century [a period when the great Southwestern cultures fade into small tribal units on the move].

It is possible that the inscriptions were composed centuries before this period and that reading and writing skills had been lost in earlier centuries.

Dwellings include pit houses, surface houses of uncoarsed stone, and surface houses of coursed stone. Still later structures seem to be small pueblos. The Largo county site is in on the west of the continental divide while Gallina is on the east slope of the continental divide. Similar characteristics are found at both sites. Walls of homes are often four feet thick. Floors are often covered with flagstone, and roofs are of pole and adobe foundation with flagstones providing a shingle effect. In summary, these sites have been described as "a marginal Anasazi development from Basketmaker III to Pueblo I times" and showing foreign influence from the north (H.M. Wormington, 1947, pp.102-105, 176).

The head waters of the Purgatory River are about twelve miles north of the Colorado - New Mexico border, just east of the continental divide.

The Purgatory River panels from the McGlone-Leonard collection were included in a study titled "Age Determination of Petroglyphs in Southeastern Colorado" by Dorn, McGlone & Leonard, appearing in South-western Lore, Vol. 56, No. 2, pp.21 and another article in South-western Lore, by Gerald Blair, "Archaeological Investigations In the Upper Purgatory River Drainage Southeastern Colorado," Vol. 41, No. 3, September 1975, p.41, contained a useful comment as follows:

[The Purgatory River area] has a very complex history of occupation which has changed significantly previous ideas concerning the prehistory of the Purgatory drainage. An early pithouse on the western terrace has a ramp entry way not unlike Mogollon structures farther south in northern New Mexico. It is not unreasonable to expect Mogollon influence in the Trinidad region.

 All of the panels shown in this article are but a small part of a collection made by Phil Leonard and William McGlone within the last decade. In 1992, Bill McGlone allowed Brian Stubbs to sketch a selection of these inscriptions from his file of sketches and photographs kept at his home in La Junta, Colorado. Later, Brian allowed me (J. Harris) to copy his set of inscriptions so that I would be able to do some independent studies and work with the signs. I selected about twenty of the most promising panels for their similarity to Old Negev and because they appeared to carry clear letter forms. A major interest in them was to obtain a large enough sample of signs to determine if we are dealing with the same alphabet found in Arizona and Utah. There is no doubt, from the sign studies, that the Purgatory Script has a close tie with Old Negev found throughout the desert Southwest and in the Negev region of the Middle East.

It is equally clear that the Purgatory script is a regional variation and, in addition to modifications in sign forms, may also have usage features that modestly differ from Old Negev of the more Western Pueblo ancestors.

Brian Stubbs also mentioned that he was working with photographs and slides when he obtained the sketches used in this article and that he could not always be certain of the correct orientation of the signs (i.e. right side up or up side down).

Translation Program In Progress Use Explorer only.
This program is 250k and contains a javascript database created by Gary Vey, Viewzone Editor, that will operate on cross-platform browsers. It is presently 90 percent complete and will translate most of the old Negev script into familiar English phrases. To use this you must first understand how to read ligatures and other combined symbols. (See also FAQ.) This will take a few minutes to download but it is worthwhile and can be used on a laptop running a javascript browser.

I (Harris) sent copies of the sketches back to McGlone and Leonard, asking that they identify any that were incorrectly sketched. They agreed to do so but never followed through. This could have meant that they changed their minds or that the orientations were all correct. If a few of the translated sketches are found to be up side down it will not change the general conclusions drawn here.

The panel selection is too small to attempt a reconstruction of the language and script usage characteristics but some tentative possibilities and tentative translations will be presented in this article.

We (Harris and Hone) would like to see Phil Leonard team up with a competent and courageous West Semitic scholar (one not afraid to challenge main stream canonized doctrine) and reconstruct the language and script usage in the Purgatory inscriptions (beginning where Harris and Hone left off).

We suggest that there is a very great possibility, indicated by both the language and the script, that these ancients who wrote the Purgatory River [or Picket Wire River] inscriptions, were descendents of the Old Semitic speakers up from Mexico that became the Hohokam. They were likely members of the colony that were sent to the Virgin River area and, sometime later, whose descendents moved East, mixing with more of their Desert Archaic cousins.

It is also quite possible that this eastward movement resulted in a loss of reading and writing skills which furthered diversity of dialects and languages. Pueblo brothers and sisters say "hello" to some of your ancestors, "Shalom."

Title: Re: Anasazi
Post by: Bianca on March 14, 2009, 10:03:10 am

                          Scientists report Anasazi village site found at Springs Preserve

Jan. 10, 2009

A team of scientists exploring Springs Preserve with remote-sensing gear have found what is believed to be a prehistoric village of pit houses where as many as 30 Anasazi lived about 1,300 years ago, the preserve's archaeologist said Friday.

The discovery of two and possibly four pit house structures was made "in the last few days" by researchers from Ithaca College in New York who used ground-penetrating radar to probe beneath topsoil in the northwest corner of the 180-acre preserve along U.S. Highway 95, Springs Preserve Archaeologist Patti Wright said.

She said carbon dating of plant charcoal remnants found in the hearth of a pit house that was partially excavated several years ago near the village indicates ancestral Puebloans were living there between A.D. 700 and A.D. 800, or between 1,200 and 1,300 years ago.

"I think it's very significant because we have very little information about people living here during that time period," Wright said by phone from Toronto, where she had presented a scientific paper on another topic and was catching a plane to return to Las Vegas.

"What we know just from the surface and artifacts collected, it looks like they could be Virgin River Anasazi who came from the Southwest area, migrated to the Virgin River and then to (what is now) Las Vegas," she said.

"That's a perfect location to have a settlement. It's a relatively lush area with plenty of water that would draw a wealth of different animals," said Wright, an employee of the Las Vegas Valley Water District, which owns the preserve.

A number of items previously found in that portion of the preserve — including chipped stone, ceramics and a shell bead that was probably transported from the California coast by traders — are typical of Pueblo people of the vanished Anasazi tribe.

Remote-sensing images recorded by researchers led by Ithaca College assistant physics professor Michael Rogers show a grouping of pit houses.

"We're hoping if we have a little village that would really be exciting. There they are in the center of town," Wright said. "These would be a set of structures that are significant because they're still here and preserved."

Rogers, an expert in development and use of remote-sensing tools, said in a news release that technology enables scientists to find out more quickly what's buried in the ground than through digging or disturbing the site.

The results are accomplished "in days what might take years using traditional methods," Rogers said.

Alan Simmons, anthropology and archaeology professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, is also quoted in the release, saying "this collaborative effort between geophysicists and archaeologists may uncover an extremely significant find."

Remnants of pit houses with earthen floors covered with thatched roofs have been found elsewhere in the Las Vegas Valley. One that measured 13 feet in diameter was excavated in 2003 at a site near Lake Las Vegas in northeast Henderson. Two UNLV archaeologists found evidence of burned wood charcoal from an ancient hearth in the bank of a wash after a 1975 flood.

Analysis showed aboriginal people lived there 1,400 years ago. They were probably farmers who occupied the area and weren't just passing through the valley in search of food and game, investigators hired by the Bureau of Reclamation said during the dig.

Similar to the shell bead found at the partially excavated Springs Preserve pit house, an olivella shell from a Pacific Ocean shellfish was sifted from soil during the pit house dig in northeast Henderson. One archaeologist said that shell was either obtained in a trade by people living along Las Vegas Wash or had been carried from the coast to the site.

Another pit house site exists at Corn Creek on the northwest outskirts of the valley.

Wright said archaeologists plan to consult with American Indian tribes about the Springs Preserve pit house village before writing a scientific paper about it.

Contact reporter
Keith Rogers at or

Title: Re: Anasazi
Post by: Bianca on March 14, 2009, 10:04:20 am

Title: Re: Anasazi
Post by: Bianca on March 14, 2009, 10:05:25 am

Title: Re: Anasazi
Post by: Bianca on March 14, 2009, 10:06:33 am