Paleo-Indians, Paleoindians or Paleoamericans is a classification term given by scholars to the first peoples who entered, subsequently inhabited, the Americas during the final glacial episodes of the late Pleistocene period. The prefix "paleo-" comes from the Greek adjective palaios, meaning "old" or "ancient"; the term "Paleo-Indians" applies to the lithic period in the Western Hemisphere and is distinct from the term "Paleolithic". Traditional theories suggest that big-animal hunters crossed the Bering Strait from North Asia into the Americas over a land-and-ice bridge; this bridge existed from 45,000–12,000 BCE. Small isolated groups of hunter-gatherers migrated alongside herds of large herbivores far into Alaska. From c. 16,500 – c. 13,500 BCE, ice-free corridors developed along the Pacific coast and valleys of North America. This allowed animals, followed by humans; the people used primitive boats along the coastline. The precise dates and routes of the peopling of the New World remain subjects of ongoing debate.
Stone tools projectile points and scrapers, are the primary evidence of the earliest human activity in the Americas. Archaeologists and anthropologists use surviving crafted lithic flaked tools to classify cultural periods. Scientific evidence links Indigenous Americans to eastern Siberian populations. Indigenous peoples of the Americas have been linked to Siberian populations by linguistic factors, the distribution of blood types, in genetic composition as reflected by molecular data, such as DNA. There is evidence for at least two separate migrations. From 8000–7000 BCE the climate stabilized, leading to a rise in population and lithic technology advances, resulting in more sedentary lifestyle; the specifics of Paleo-Indian migration to and throughout the Americas, including the exact dates and routes traveled, are subject to ongoing research and discussion. The traditional theory has been that these early migrants moved into Beringia between eastern Siberia and present-day Alaska 17,000 years ago, when sea levels were lowered due to the Quaternary glaciation.
These people are believed to have followed herds of now-extinct pleistocene megafauna along ice-free corridors that stretched between the Laurentide and Cordilleran ice sheets. Another route proposed is that, either on foot or using primitive boats, they migrated down the Pacific coast to South America. Evidence of the latter would since have been covered by a sea level rise of hundreds of meters following the last ice age. Archaeologists contend that Paleo-Indians migrated out of Beringia, ranging from c. 40,000 – c. 16,500 years ago. This time range promises to continue as such for years to come; the few agreements achieved to date are the origin from Central Asia, with widespread habitation of the Americas during the end of the last glacial period, or more what is known as the late glacial maximum, around 16,000–13,000 years before present. However, alternative theories about the origins of Paleoindians exist, including migration from Europe. Sites in Alaska are where some of the earliest evidence has been found of Paleo-Indians, followed by archaeological sites in northern British Columbia, western Alberta and the Old Crow Flats region in the Yukon.
The Paleo-Indian would flourish all over the Americas. These peoples were spread over a wide geographical area. However, all the individual groups shared a common style of stone tool production, making knapping styles and progress identifiable; this early Paleo-Indian period lithic reduction tool adaptations have been found across the Americas, utilized by mobile bands consisting of 20 to 60 members of an extended family. Food would have been plentiful during the few warm months of the year. Lakes and rivers were teeming with many species of fish and aquatic mammals. Nuts and edible roots could be found in the forests and marshes; the fall would have been a busy time because foodstuffs would have to be stored and clothing made ready for the winter. During the winter, coastal fishing groups trap fresh food and furs. Late ice age climatic changes caused plant communities and animal populations to change. Groups moved from place to place as preferred resources were depleted and new supplies were sought.
Small bands utilized hunting and gathering during the spring and summer months broke into smaller direct family groups for the fall and winter. Family groups moved every 3–6 days traveling up to 360 km a year. Diets were sustaining and rich in protein due to successful hunting. Clothing was made from a variety of animal hides that were used for shelter construction. During much of the Early and Middle Paleo-Indian periods, inland bands are thought to have subsisted through hunting now-extinct megafauna. Large Pleistocene mammals were the giant beaver, steppe wisent, musk ox, woolly mammoths and ancient reindeer; the Clovis culture, appearing around 11,500 BCE, undoubtedly did not rely on megafauna for subsistence. Instead, they employed a mixed foraging strategy that included smaller terrestrial game, aquatic animals, a variety of flora. Paleo-Indian groups carried a variety of tools; these included efficient fluted style spear points, as well as microblades used for butchering and hide processing.
Projectile points and hammerstones made from many sources are found traded or moved to new locations. Stone tools were traded and/or left behind fro
The Adena culture was a Pre-Columbian Native American culture that existed from 1000 to 200 BC, in a time known as the Early Woodland period. The Adena culture refers to what were a number of related Native American societies sharing a burial complex and ceremonial system; the Adena lived in an area including parts of present-day Ohio, Wisconsin, West Virginia, New York and Maryland. The Adena Culture was named for the large mound on Thomas Worthington's early 19th-century estate located near Chillicothe, which he named "Adena", Adena sites are concentrated in a small area - maybe 200 sites in the central Ohio Valley, with another 200 scattered throughout Wisconsin, Kentucky, West Virginia and Maryland, although those in Ohio may once have numbered in the thousands; the importance of the Adena complex comes from its considerable influence on other contemporary and succeeding cultures. The Adena culture is seen as the precursor to the traditions of the Hopewell culture, which are sometimes thought as an elaboration, or zenith, of Adena traditions.
The Adena were notable for their agricultural practices, artistic works, extensive trading network, which supplied them with a variety of raw materials, ranging from copper from the Great Lakes to shells from the Gulf Coast. Lasting traces of Adena culture are still seen in the remains of their substantial earthworks. At one point, larger Adena mounds numbered in the hundreds, but only a small number of the remains of the larger Adena earthen monuments still survive today; these mounds ranged in size from 20 feet to 300 feet in diameter and served as burial structures, ceremonial sites, historical markers, gathering places. These earthen monuments were built using hundreds of thousands of baskets full of specially selected and graded earth. According to archaeological investigations, Adena earthworks were built as part of their burial rituals, in which the earth of the earthwork was piled atop a burned mortuary building; these mortuary buildings were intended to keep and maintain the dead until their final burial was performed.
Before the construction of the earthworks, some utilitarian and grave goods would be placed on the floor of the structure, burned with the goods and honored dead within. The earthwork would be constructed, a new mortuary structure would be placed atop the new earthwork. After a series of repetitions, mortuary/earthwork/mortuary/earthwork, a quite prominent earthwork would remain. In the Adena period, circular ridges of unknown function were sometimes constructed around the burial earthworks. Although the mounds are beautiful artistic achievements themselves, Adena artists created smaller, more personal pieces of art. Art motifs that became important to many Native Americans began with the Adena. Motifs such as the weeping eye and cross and circle design became mainstays in many succeeding cultures. Many pieces of art seemed to revolve around shamanic practices, the transformation of humans into animals—particularly birds, wolves and deer—and back to human form; this may indicate a belief that the practice imparted the animals' qualities to the wearer or holder of the objects.
Deer antlers, both real and constructed of copper, wolf and mountain lion jawbones, many other objects were fashioned into costumes and other forms of regalia by the Adena. Distinctive tubular smoking pipes, with either flattened or blocked-end mouthpieces, suggest the offering of smoke to the spirits; the objective of pipe smoking may have been altered states of consciousness, achieved through the use of the hallucinogenic plant Nicotiana rustica. All told, Adena was a manifestation of a broad regional increase in the number and kind of artifacts devoted to spiritual needs; the Adena carved small stone tablets 4 or 5 inches by 3 or 4 inches by.5 inches thick. On one or both flat sides were gracefully composed stylized zoomorphs or curvilinear geometric designs in deep relief. Paint has been found on some Adena tablets, leading archaeologists to propose that these stone tablets were used to stamp designs on cloth or animal hides, or onto their own bodies, it is possible. Unlike in other cultures, Adena pottery was not buried with the dead or the remains of the cremated, as were other artifacts.
Adena pottery was tempered with grit or crushed limestone and was thick. The vessel shapes were flat-bottomed jars, sometimes with small foot-like supports; the large and elaborate mound sites served a nearby scattering of people. The population was dispersed in small settlements of one to two structures. A typical house was built in a circle form from 15 to 45 feet in diameter; the walls were made of paired posts tilted outward, that were joined to other pieces of wood to form a cone shaped roof. The roof was covered with bark and the walls may have been bark and/or wickerwork, their sustenance was acquired through the cultivation of native plants. Hunted deer, black bear, beaver, turkey, trumpeter swan, ruffed grouse. Gathered several edible seed and nuts. Cultivated pumpkin, squash and goosefoot; the Adena ground stone axes. Somewhat rougher slab-like stones with chipped edges were used as hoes. Bone and antler were used in small tools, but more prominently in ornamental objects such as beads and worked animal-jaw gorgets or paraphernalia.
Spoons and other implements were made fro
Poverty Point culture
Poverty Point culture is an archaeological culture that of a prehistoric indigenous peoples who inhabited a portion of the lower Mississippi Valley and surrounding Gulf coast from about 1730 - 1350 BC. Archeologists have identified more than 100 sites as belonging to this mound-builder culture, which formed a large trading network throughout much of the eastern part of what is now the United States. Preceding the Poverty Point Culture is the Watson Brake site in present-day Ouachita Parish, where eleven earthwork mounds were built beginning about 3500 BC. Watson Brake is one of the earliest mound complexes in the Americas. Next oldest is the Poverty Point Culture, which thrived from 1730 - 1350 BC, during the late Archaic period in North America. Evidence of this mound builder culture has been found at more than 100 sites, including the Jaketown Site near Belzoni, Mississippi; the largest and best-known site is at Poverty Point, located on the Macon Ridge near present-day Epps, Louisiana. The Poverty Point culture may have hit its peak around 1500 BC.
It is one of the oldest complex cultures, the first tribal culture in the Mississippi Delta and in the present-day United States. The people occupied villages that extended for nearly 100 miles on either side of the Mississippi River. Poverty Point culture was followed by the Tchefuncte and Lake Cormorant cultures of the Tchula period, a local manifestation of the Early Woodland period; these descendant cultures differed from Poverty Point culture in trading over shorter distances, creating less massive public projects adopting ceramics for storage and cooking, lacking a lapidary industry. Although the earthworks at Poverty Point are not the oldest in the United States, they are notable as the oldest earthworks of this size in the Western Hemisphere. In the center of the site is a plaza, a constructed and leveled, open area covering about 15 hectares or 37 acres. Archeologists believe the plaza was the site of public ceremonies, dances and other major community activities; the site has six concentric earthworks separated by ditches, or swales, where dirt was removed to build the ridges.
The ends of the outermost ridge are 1,204 metres apart, nearly 3/4 of a mile. The ends of the interior embankment are 594 metres apart. If the ridges were straightened and laid end to end, they would compose an embankment of 12 kilometres long; the ridges stood 4 feet to 6 feet high and 140 feet to 200 feet apart. Many years of plowing have reduced some to only 1 foot in height. Archeologists believe; this was the largest settlement at that time in North America. The site had a 50 feet high, 500 feet long earthen pyramid, aligned east to west. A large bird effigy mound, measuring 70 feet high and 640 feet across, is located on the Poverty Point site. On the western side of the plaza, archeologists have found some unusually deep pits. One explanation is these holes once held huge wooden posts. Using the sun’s shadows, the inhabitants could have predicted the changing of the seasons; this great building project demanded a sustained investment of human labor, the organized skill and the cultural will to sustain the effort over many centuries.
One authority calculated that it would take more than 1,236,007 cubic feet of basket-loaded soil to complete the earthworks. That would mean 1,350 adults laboring 70 days a year for three years. Archeological excavation has revealed a wealth including animal effigy figures. Stone cooking balls were used to prepare meals. Scholars believe dozens of the cooking balls were heated in a bonfire and dropped in pits along with food. Different-shaped balls controlled cooking time. Crude human figures, forming another category of artifacts, are thought to have been used for religious purposes. Points made of imported gray Midwestern flint were found. In addition, plummets were fashioned out of heavy iron ore imported from Arkansas. Many of the raw materials used, such as slate, galena, jasper and soapstone, were from as far as 620 miles away, attesting to the distant reach of the trading culture; the Poverty Point culture developed a tradition of making high-quality, stylized and polished miniature stone beads.
Other early cultures in eastern North America used stone to make their beads, opting for softer materials such as shell or bone. The beads depict animals common to the Poverty Point culture's environment, such as owls, dogs and turkey vultures. Poverty Point Archaeological periods of the Mississippi Valley
Yuma County, Colorado
Yuma County is one of the 64 counties of the U. S. state of Colorado. As of the 2010 census, the population was 10,043; the county seat is Wray. According to the U. S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,369 square miles, of which 2,364 square miles is land and 4.3 square miles is water. The point where the Arikaree River flows out of Yuma County and into Cheyenne County, Kansas is the lowest point in the State of Colorado at 1,010 meters elevation; this crossing point holds the distinction of being the highest low point of any U. S. state. Phillips County Chase County, Nebraska Cheyenne County, Kansas Dundy County, Nebraska Kit Carson County Washington County Logan County As of the census of 2000, there were 9,841 people, 3,800 households, 2,644 families residing in the county; the population density was 4 people per square mile. There were 4,295 housing units at an average density of 2 per square mile; the racial makeup of the county was 94.17% White, 0.11% Black or African American, 0.28% Native American, 0.07% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 4.14% from other races, 1.21% from two or more races.
12.88% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. There were 3,800 households out of which 33.30% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.60% were married couples living together, 6.80% had a female householder with no husband present, 30.40% were non-families. 27.40% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.30% had someone living alone, 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.13. In the county, the population was spread out with 28.30% under the age of 18, 7.10% from 18 to 24, 26.00% from 25 to 44, 22.30% from 45 to 64, 16.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 96.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.90 males. The median income for a household in the county was $33,169, the median income for a family was $39,814. Males had a median income of $26,124 versus $18,578 for females; the per capita income for the county was $16,005.
About 8.80% of families and 12.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.50% of those under age 18 and 10.70% of those age 65 or over. Yuma County is a Republican Party stronghold in presidential elections. Only five presidential elections from 1912 to the present day have seen the county fail to back the Republican candidate, the most recent being 1964 during Lyndon B. Johnson's statewide & national landslide. Wray Yuma Eckley Idalia Joes Kirk Laird Vernon Hale Outline of Colorado Index of Colorado-related articles National Register of Historic Places listings in Yuma County, Colorado Yuma County Government website Yuma County farm photos and documentation, from Historic American Buildings Survey Colorado County Evolution by Don Stanwyck Colorado Historical Society
Fort Ancient is a name for a Native American culture that flourished from Ca. 1000-1750 CE and predominantly inhabited land near the Ohio River valley in the areas of modern-day southern Ohio, northern Kentucky, southeastern Indiana and western West Virginia. Although a contemporary of the Mississippian Culture, they are considered a "sister culture" and distinguished from the Mississippian Culture. Although far from agreed upon, there is evidence to suggest that the Fort Ancient Culture were not the direct descendants of the Hopewellian Culture], it is suspected. The Fort Ancient Culture were most the builders of the Great Serpent Mound; the name of the culture originates from the Fort Ohio archeological site. However, the Fort Ancient Site is now thought to have been built by Ohio Hopewellian people, it was occupied by the succeeding Fort Ancient culture. The site is located on a hill above the Little Miami River, close to Ohio. Despite its name, most archaeologists do not believe that Fort Ancient was used as a fortress by either the Ohio Hopewell culture or the Fort Ancient culture.
Starting in about 1000 CE, terminal Late Woodland groups in the Middle Ohio Valley adopted maize agriculture. They began settling in small, year-round nuclear family households and settlements of no more than 40 to 50 individuals; these small scattered settlements, located along terraces that overlooked rivers and sometimes on flood plains, would be occupied for short periods before the groups moved on to new locations. By 1200 the small villages began to coalesce into larger settlements of up to 300 people, they were occupied for longer periods up to 25 years. During the Early and Middle Fort Ancient period, the houses were designed as single-family dwellings. Fort Ancient buildings are larger multi-family dwellings. Settlements were permanent, as the people moved to a new location after one or two generations, when the natural resources surrounding the old village were exhausted; the people laid out the villages around an open oval central plaza, surrounded by circular and/or rectangular domestic structures facing the plaza.
The arrangement of buildings in Fort Ancient settlements is thought to have served as a sort of solar calendar, marking the positions of the solstices and other significant dates. The people began to build low platform mounds for ceremonial purposes, many villages added defensive palisades to their boundaries; the plaza was the center of village life: the place where ceremonies and other social events were held. The Late Fort Ancient period from 1400 to 1750 is the protohistoric era in the Middle Ohio Valley. During this era, the dispersed populations began to coalesce; the Gist-phase villages became much larger than during the preceding period, with populations as high as 500. Archaeologists have speculated that the larger villages and palisades are evidence that after 1450, warfare and intergroup strife increased, leading the people to consolidate their villages for better protection; this era showed increased contact with Mississippian peoples. The Madisonville horizon of artifacts after 1400 includes high proportions of bowls, salt pans, triangular strap handles, negative painted pottery and beaded rims, some effigies, all items and styles that are associated with the Mississippian cultures of the Lower Ohio Valley, at sites such as Angel Mounds and Kincaid Mounds.
These sites were abandoned during this time period. During the Montour phase, the people inhabited their villages year-round, although less densely in the winter than in the summer months; this may indicate that during the winter, family groups and hunting parties may have returned to the regions occupied by their ancestors. Such a pattern was observed for example, among the Miami and Potawatomi. By their trading, the Fort Ancient people had access to European trade items, such as glass, iron and copper, which have been found as grave goods at sites such as Lower Shawneetown and Hardin Village; such artifacts appeared and were used in the area before the arrival of European explorers or settlers. Although the Fort Ancient peoples did not encounter Europeans at this time, like other groups in the interior of the continent, may have suffered high fatalities from their diseases, transmitted among Native Americans by trade contacts; the next-known inhabitants of the area, who were encountered by French and English explorers, were the historic Shawnee tribe.
Scholars believe that the Fort Ancient society, like the Mississippian cultures to the south and west, may have been disrupted by waves of infectious disease epidemics from the first Spanish explorers in the mid-16th century. After 1525 at the Madisonville Site, the type site for the Madisonville Phase, dwellings were built on a smaller scale and in fewer number; this change indicated the culture was less attached to a sedentary life. Scholars believe that similarities in material culture, art and Shawnee oral history link the historic tribe to the Fort Ancient people; the Fort Ancient culture can be divided into Early, Middle & Late Phases. It is not believed that they merged into a singular society until close to the end of the Middle Phase. At this time, Fort Ancients were poor sedentary societies, they lived. The locals farmed corn, beans & sunflower-- the last of which being a plant
Mogollon culture is an archaeological culture of Native American peoples from Southern New Mexico and Arizona, Northern Sonora and Chihuahua, Western Texas, a region known as Oasisamerica. The Mogollon culture is one of the major prehistoric Southwestern cultural divisions of the Southwestern United States and Northern Mexico; the culture flourished from the archaic period, c. 200 CE, to either 1450 or 1540 CE, when the Spanish arrived. The name Mogollon comes from the Mogollon Mountains, which were named after Don Juan Ignacio Flores Mogollón, Spanish Governor of New Spain from 1712 to 1715; the name was defined in 1936 by archaeologist Emil W. Haury; the distinct facets of Mogollon culture were recorded by Emil Haury, based on his excavations in 1931, 1933, 1934 at the Harris Village in Mimbres, New Mexico, the Mogollon Village on the upper San Francisco River in New Mexico Haury recognized differences between architecture and artifacts from these sites as compared with sites in the Hohokam archaeological culture area and the Ancestral Pueblo archaeological culture area.
Key differences included brown-paste, coil-and-scrape pottery excavated semi-subterranean pit-houses and different ceremonial architecture. Eight decades of subsequent research have confirmed Haury's initial findings. Today, the distinctiveness of the Mogollon pottery manufacture, architectural construction, ground-stone tool design and customs of residence location, mortuary treatment is recognized; the earliest Mogollon pithouses were deep and either oval-shaped. Over time, Mogollon people not as deep, their villages had kivas, or round, semi-subterranean ceremonial structures. Mogollon origins remain a matter of speculation. One model holds that the Mogollon emerged from a preceding Desert Archaic tradition that links Mogollon ancestry with the first prehistoric human occupations of the area. In this model, cultural distinctions emerged in the larger region when populations grew great enough to establish villages and larger communities. An alternative possibility holds that the Mogollon were descendants of early farmers who migrated from farming regions in central Mexico around 3500 BCE, who displaced descendants of the antecedent Desert Archaic peoples.
A third view is that at the time of the shift from hunting and gathering to agriculture the Cochise culture had been immigrants into the area about 5000 BCE, were not linked to the earlier inhabitants, but were receptive to cultural dissemination from the farmers of Central Mexico. The Mogollon were foragers who augmented their subsistence efforts by farming. Through the first millennium CE, dependence on farming increased. Water control features are common among Mimbres branch sites from the 10th through 12th centuries CE; the nature and density of Mogollon residential villages changed through time. The earliest Mogollon villages are small hamlets composed of several pithouses. Village sizes increased by the 11th century surface pueblos became common. Cliff-dwellings became common during 14th centuries. Research on Mogollon culture has led to the recognition of regional variants, of which the most recognized in popular media is the Mimbres culture. Others include the Jornada, Reserve, Point of Pines, San Simon, Upper Gila branches.
Although the Mimbres culture is the most well-known subset of the Mogollon archaeological culture-area, the entire Mogollon occupation spans a greater interval of time and a vastly larger area than is encompassed by the Mimbres culture. Mogollon culture is divided into five periods proposed by Joe Ben Wheat in 1955: Mogollon 1: Pine Lawn, Penasco, Circle Prairie, Hilltop phases Mogollon 2: San Lorenzo, Dos Cabezas, Circle Prairie, Cottonwood phases Mogollon 3: San Francisco, Galiuro and San Marcial phases Mogollon 4: Three Circle, Corduroy and Capitan phases Mogollon 5, including the Classic Mimbres phrase: Mangus, Encinas, Tularosa, Dona Anna, Three Rivers, El Paso, San Anders phases. An alternate way of viewing Mogollon culture is through three periods of housing types: Early Pithouse Late Pithouse Mogollon Pueblo. Archaeological sites attributed to the Mogollon culture are found in the Gila Wilderness, Mimbres River Valley, along the Upper Gila river and Hueco Tanks, an area of low mountains between the Franklin Mountains to the west and the Hueco Mountains to the east.
Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument in southwestern New Mexico was established as a National Monument on 16 November 1907. It contains several archaeological sites attributed to the Mimbres branch. At the headwaters of the Gila, Mimbres populations adjoined another more northern branch of the Mogollon culture; the TJ Ruin, for example, is a Classic Mimbres phase pueblo, however the cliff dwellings are Tularosa phase. The Hueco Tanks State Historic Site is 32 mi northeast of El Paso, Texas. Mimbres may, depending on its context, refer to a tradition within a subregion of the Mogollon culture area or to an interva
The Ancestral Puebloans were an ancient Native American culture that spanned the present-day Four Corners region of the United States, comprising southeastern Utah, northeastern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico, southwestern Colorado. The Ancestral Puebloans are believed to have developed, at least in part, from the Oshara Tradition, who developed from the Picosa culture, they lived in a range of structures that included small family pit houses, larger structures to house clans, grand pueblos, cliff-sited dwellings for defense. The Ancestral Puebloans possessed a complex network that stretched across the Colorado Plateau linking hundreds of communities and population centers, they held a distinct knowledge of celestial sciences. The kiva, a congregational space, used chiefly for ceremonial purposes, was an integral part of this ancient people's community structure. In contemporary times, the people and their archaeological culture were referred to as Anasazi for historical purposes; the Navajo, who were not their descendants, called them by this term.
Reflecting historic traditions, the term was used to mean "ancient enemies". Contemporary Puebloans do not want this term to be used. Archaeologists continue to debate; the current agreement, based on terminology defined by the Pecos Classification, suggests their emergence around the 12th century BC, during the archaeologically designated Early Basketmaker II Era. Beginning with the earliest explorations and excavations, researchers identified Ancestral Puebloans as the forerunners of contemporary Pueblo peoples. Three UNESCO World Heritage Sites located in the United States are credited to the Pueblos: Mesa Verde National Park, Chaco Culture National Historical Park and Taos Pueblo. Pueblo, which means "village" in Spanish, was a term originating with the Spanish explorers who used it to refer to the people's particular style of dwelling; the Navajo people, who now reside in parts of former Pueblo territory, referred to the ancient people as Anaasází, an exonym meaning "ancestors of our enemies", referring to their competition with the Pueblo peoples.
The Navajo now use the term in the sense of referring to "ancient people" or "ancient ones". Hopi people used the term Hisatsinom, to describe the Ancestral Puebloans; the Ancestral Puebloans were one of four major prehistoric archaeological traditions recognized in the American Southwest. This area is sometimes referred to as Oasisamerica in the region defining pre-Columbian southwestern North America; the others are the Mogollon and Patayan. In relation to neighboring cultures, the Ancestral Puebloans occupied the northeast quadrant of the area; the Ancestral Puebloan 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 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. Structures and other evidence of Ancestral Puebloan 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 large region vary greatly. The plateau regions have high elevations ranging from 4,500 to 8,500 feet. Extensive horizontal mesas are capped by sedimentary formations and support woodlands of junipers and ponderosa pines, each favoring different elevations. Wind and water erosion have created steep-walled canyons, sculpted windows and bridges out of the sandstone landscape. In areas where resistant strata, such as sandstone or limestone, overlie more eroded strata such as shale, rock overhangs formed; the Ancestral Puebloans favored building under such overhangs for shelters and defensive building sites. All areas of the Ancestral Puebloan homeland suffered from periods of drought, wind and water erosion. Summer rains could be unreliable and arrived as destructive thunderstorms. While the amount of winter snowfall varied the Ancestral Puebloans depended on the snow for most of their water. Snow melt allowed the germination of seeds, both cultivated, in the spring.
Where sandstone layers overlay shale, snow melt could accumulate and create seeps and springs, which the Ancestral Puebloans used as water sources. Snow fed the smaller, more predictable tributaries, such as the Chinle, Animas and Taos Rivers; the larger rivers were less directly important to the ancient culture, as smaller streams were more diverted or controlled for irrigation. The Ancestral Puebloan culture is best known for the stone and earth dwellings its people built along cliff walls during the Pueblo II and Pueblo III eras, from about 900 to 1350 AD in total; the best-preserved examples of the stone dwellings are now protected within United States' national parks, such as Navajo National Monument, Chaco Culture National Historical Park, Mesa Verde National Park, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, Aztec Ruins National Monument, Bandelier National Monument, Hovenweep National Monument, Canyon de Chelly National Monument. These villages, called pueblos by Spanish colonists, were accessible only by rope or through rock climbing.
These astonishing building achievements had modest beginnings. The first Ancestral Puebloan homes and villages were based on the pit-house, a common feature in the Basketmaker periods. Ancestral Puebloans are known for their pottery. In general, pottery used for cooking or storage in the region was unpainted gray, either smooth or textured. Pottery used for more formal purposes was more richly adorned. In the n