Lab Activities

Southwestern Archaeology

Capabilities & Services




Basketmaker II
Basketmaker III

Ancestral Pubelo refers to the ancient agricultalists who lived in the Northern portions of American Southwest for about 4000 years ago until the time of European contact in AD 1540. Historically, Ancestral Pueblo archaeological remains have been referred to as 'Anasazi'.

Anasazi is a modified Navajo word traditionally used by archaeologists to refer to the entire geographical and temporal range of Ancestral Pueblo Peoples in the northern portions of the Southwest. Native Pueblo people have their own terms for their ancestors (for example, “Hisatsinom” is the term the Hopi use for their ancestors), and there are several such terms. The traditional archaeological term “Anasazi” will be commonly encountered in the published literature and is commonly used by the archaeologists working for the Navajo Nation. In this website, we use the term “Ancestral Pueblo” to refer to remains previously termed Anasazi.

Across approximately 2,500 years of time and several hundred thousand square kilometers, Ancestral Pueblo remain undoubtedly represent a wide diversity of language groups, religious practices, settlement patterns, and adaptations. There is little doubt that the degree of cultural diversity among modern Pueblo peoples was mirrored in the past, and at particular times there may have been even more diversity among prehistoric Pueblo peoples than there was at the time of European contact. Please keep this in mind as you consider the variation from region to region in Ancestral Pueblo.

Most of what is discussed here ertains to the Ancestral Pueblo groups centered on the Four Corners area (intersection of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado), but parts of this sequence and some of the stage-level generalizations extend into other areas (e.g., the Rio Grande) as well. The purpose of this website is to describe the general, stage-level cultural developments that took place across broad areas of the northern Southwest.


Dept. of Anthropology, P.O. Box 15200,
Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona 86011-5200, USA.