If you spend anytime in the Southwest United States, you likely become aware of the Ancestral Puebloans who inhabited the area up until 900 years ago1.
The Ancestral Puebloans capture the wonder of modern travelers because of the wealth of evidence they left, and the fact that they seem to have disappeared. The evidence is vast and widespread. The easiest to locate is their rock art, in both pictographs and petroglyphs. Rock art existed in antiquity on all 6 inhabited continents. Rock art in the Southwest is popular, extensive, and under modern threat. The Ancestral Puebloans also left behind extensive sites, some perhaps being large cities. They lived in cliff overhangs and left granaries in many areas. Pottery is quite easy to find, and in many cases, steal before archaeologists get there.
The Ancestral Puebloans never really disappeared. We do know their last archaeological impressions on the Southwest occurred in the 12th century.
- You may know the Ancestral Puebloans as the Anasazi. In English, the term sounds cool, but it is a perjorative in Navajo that means something analagous to “Ancient Enemies.” This is considered an inappropriate term by archaeologists and the Puebloan Nation, and most Navajo also deem the term inappropriate.