The Early Anasazi tradition is found in southern Nevada east across southern Utah to southwestern Colorado, northern New Mexico and northern Arizona from 1300-700 BP. The people were sedentary horticulturalists who lived in pit houses in the early part of the tradition and in above ground adobe or stone houses or apartment blocks in the later part of the tradition. They grew corn, squash, and beans but also relied on wild plants and animals. Turkeys were domesticated. Around the San Juan Basin settlements were connected to Chaco Canyon by roads. Towards the end of the time period there is evidence of endemic warfare as settlements are sited in extremely inaccessible locations and have defensive walls.
Select the Tradition Summary link above for a longer description of the culture.
North America --Southwest and Basin
Note: Select the Collection Documents tab above to browse documents.
Documents referred to in this section are included in the eHRAF Archaeology collection and are referenced by author, date of publication, and eHRAF document number.
This collection discusses the Early Anasazi tradition in northeastern Arizona, southeastern Utah, northern New Mexico, and southwestern Colorado from 1300 to 700 BP (AD 700-1300).
Readers will find there is some overlap in the time periods and material culture between this tradition and others in the Southwest from around this time period. Although each collection is marked for OCM (Outline of Cultural Materials) codes that pertain only to its own time period and location, readers are encouraged to examine the documents in the other collections for additional information. In particular the reader is directed to the following archaeological traditions: Basketmaker (NT93), Mogollon (NT85), and Late Anasazi (NT97).
The reader can obtain a brief overview by reading Haas et al. (1994, no. 51) who examine the history of the Hohokam, the Mogollon, and the Anasazi. Several documents summarize collections of papers: Hegmon and Lipe (1989, no. 27), Plog et al. (1988, no. 62), and Adler (1996, no. 63). Lastly, Adler and Johnson (1996, no. 80) compiled a master data table on sites discussed by the participants to the “Pueblo III conference.”
Several documents discuss the archaeological work that has occurred in the Kayenta Anasazi subtradition area of northeastern Arizona and southeastern Utah. Two documents discuss work on Black Mesa in northeastern Arizona: Martin et al. (1991, no. 1) and Barbian (1991, no. 2). Just north of Black Mesa are the Klethla and Long House Valleys. Research there was conducted by: Haas and Creamer (1993, no. 3 and no. 4; and 1996, no. 76), Kvamme (1993, no. 5), Green (1993, no. 6), and Lucius (1993, no. 7). Dean (1996, no. 65) summarizes the Kayenta Anasazi subtradition. Lyneis (1996, no. 64) examines the area north and west of the Colorado River as far west as the Muddy River of Southern Nevada.
Chaco Canyon and its influence within the San Juan Basin form the basis of many other documents: Lekson et al. (1986, no. 8), Gillespie's (1986, no. 81), Windes' (1986, no. 82), Powers et al. (1983, no. 9), Vivian (1990, no. 10), Sebastian (1992, no. 11), Akins (1986, no. 12), Reinhard and Clary (1986, no. 13), Lekson (1986, no. 14), McKenna (1986, no. 15), Truell (1986, no. 16), Neitzel (1994, no. 26), Stein and Fowler (1996, no. 70), and Wilcox (1996, no. 79).
Warfare and its aftermath were examined by: Wilcox and Haas (1994, no. 90), LeBlanc (1997, no. 92), and Turner and Turner (1990, no. 86). White's (1992, no. 83) work documents cannibalism at a site in Mancos Canyon in Colorado.
Various authors present hypotheses and test models on why the Four Corners area was abandoned by 700 BP (AD 1300): Varien et al. (1996, no. 69), Euler (1988, no. 61), Lipe (1995, no. 87), Adler et al. (1996, no. 93), and Mills (1994, no. 18).
As the time period went on, communities aggregated into larger and larger settlements. What happens to land use, natural resources, and inter- and intra-community interaction when there are larger communities is addressed by: Adler (1994, no. 20), Kintigh (1994, no. 22 and 1996, no. 71), Plog (1989, no. 36), Roney (1996, no. 72), Spielmann (1996, no. 74), Crown et al. (1996, no. 75), Cordell (1996, no. 78), and Adler (1996, no. 88).
Concomitant with aggregation is social or community integration as larger groups of people living in close proximity will change the community dynamics. The authors that explore some of these issues are: Crown and Kohler (1994, no.21), Sullivan (1994, no. 25), Hegmon (1989, no. 28), Lipe and Hegmon (1989, no. 29), Saitta (1994, no. 17), Levy (1994, no. 52), Adams (1996, no. 66), and Reid et al. (1996, no. 68).
Several authors explore diet, nutrition, and subsistence strategies: Szuter and Gillespie (1994, no. 19), Spielmann and Angstadt-Leto (1996, no. 41), Sullivan III (1996, no. 43), Kohler and Van West (1996, no. 44), Hegmon (1996, no. 45), Dean (1996, no. 40), and Nelson (1996, no. 42).
There are additional studies focusing on Anasazi health and demography using human remains: Martin et al. (1991, no. 1), Nelson et al. (1994, no. 49 and no. 50), Powell (1988, no. 60), and Martin (1994, no. 89).
Some studies have an emphasis on climate and carrying capacity: Van West (1996, no. 77), Wills et al. (1994, no. 53), Gumerman (1988, no. 55), and Dean (1988, no. 56). The following were studies that were strictly concerned with the paleoenvironment: Karlstrom (1988, no. 57), Dean (1988, no. 59), and Hevly (1988, no. 58).
Ceramics can be studied to understand various social relationships and community boundaries: Graves (1994, no. 23), Hegmon et al. (1995, no. 46), Hegmon (1994, no. 24 and no. 35), Wilson and Blinman (1995, no. 47), Zedeño (1995, no. 48), and Lekson (1996, no. 73).
Single sites were the focus of several documents: Varien and Lightfoot (1989, no. 32) at Duckfoot site, Wetherington (1968, no. 84) at Pot Creek Pueblo, and Kintigh et al. (1996, no. 85) at the Hinkson site.
The kiva and other pit structures have perplexed archaeologists for decades. What these structures were and how they were used is explored by: Adler (1989, no. 30), Lipe (1989, no. 31), Wilshusen (1989, no. 33), Adams (1989, no. 37), Lekson (1989, no. 38), Ferguson (1989, no. 39), and Blinman (1989, no. 34).
Two documents are bibliographies: Gumerman (1988, no. 54) contains the references for documents 55 through 62 and Gumerman (1994, no. 91) for documents 89 and 90.
For further information on individual works in this collection, see the abstracts in the citations preceding each document.
Abandonment -- for information on settlement abandonment -- Use Settlement Patterns ( 361 )
Agriculture -- unspecified agriculture or when discussing the Anasazi staples of corn, beans, squash, and cotton, -- Use Tillage ( 241 )
Assemblages -- usually referring to the tools, utensils, and other equipment used by a household and its archaeological features such as hearths, -- Use Tools And Appliances ( 410 )
Bajada -- slope, inclination, hang, descent, or drop -- Use Topography And Geology ( 133 )
Burned structures -- Use Fire ( 372 )
Caches -- in general -- Use Saving And Investment ( 454 ) -- when the author specifies it is caching of household goods -- Use Building Interiors And Arrangement ( 353 ) -- for food stuffs -- Use Preservation And Storage Of Food ( 251 )
Ceremonial precincts -- public structures usually in the form of council chambers. -- Use Public Structures ( 344 )
Chrysocolla -- a mineral of hydrated copper silicate that has a blue-green color. -- Use Special Deposits ( 317 )
Cimientos -- from the Spanish for foundation or footing; used in the Southwest for above ground, upright cobble foundations. -- Use Masonry ( 333 )
Civic ceremonial rooms -- Use Public Structures ( 344 )
Comales -- flat, baked clay griddles; -- Use Utensils ( 415 )
Communal activities -- for communal activities that occurred within a structure -- Use Public Structures ( 344 )
Communal gatherings -- Use Social Relationships And Groups ( 571 )
Communal structures -- structures that may have been used for communal storage, for a communal gathering place, or for some other communal function. -- Use Public Structures ( 344 )
Comunidades -- a unit of territory and local administration -- Use Territorial Hierarchy ( 631 )
Conus shell tinklers -- Use Musical Instruments ( 534 )
Cradles or cradleboards -- Use Infant Care ( 854 )
Dental wear -- Use Morbidity ( 164 )
Dog burial -- Use Special Burial Practices And Funerals ( 766 )
Enamel hypoplasia -- Enamel hypoplasias are developmental defects in enamel thickness. They appear as small dents, grooves, or pits on the outer surface of the tooth and can occur when the body is stressed during tooth formation in utero or childhood. -- Use Ontogenetic Data ( 145 ) with Morbidity ( 164 )
Etched Shell -- shell that has had an acidic liquid applied to create designs on it. The acidic liquid may have been the fermented juice of the fruit from the saguaro cactus. -- Use Bone Horn And Shell Technology ( 321 )
Gallets -- a small stone used to fill mortar joints, a type of masonry; -- Use Masonry ( 333 )
Gallet spalls -- a small stone used to fill mortar joints, a type of masonry; -- Use Masonry ( 333 )
Great House -- a large, usually multi-storied building with architecture and masonry similar to that found in the larger sites in Chaco Canyon -- Use Public Structures ( 344 ) -- when discussing the distribution of great houses -- Use Miscellaneous Facilities ( 368 )
Household assemblages -- the artifacts found within a pithouse structure; -- Use Household ( 592 )
Hyperostotic traits -- A nonmetric trait. "Hyperostotic refers to traits with an excess of bone formation, but this definition can incorporate numerous different reasons for why the excess bone formed." (Biological Anthropology of the Human Skeleton. Edited by M. Ann Katzenberg and Shelly R. Saunders, 2008. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Hoboken, New Jersey.). -- Use Morbidity ( 164 )
Hypostotic traits -- “Traits that result from insufficient osseous development. Examples include … failure of foramina to achieve closure.” (page 254, Barbian, Lenore. 1991. Appendix IV The Relationship Between Black Mesa and Other Southwestern Groups: A Biodistance Study. In: Black Mesa Anasazi Health: Reconstructing Life from Patterns of Death and Disease. By Debra L. Martin et al. Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Center for Archaeological Investigations, Occasional Paper No. 14.) -- Use Morbidity ( 164 )
Integrative feature/integrative structure -- structures or features that were used to bring a community together, probably through the use of public ceremonies; -- Use Public Structures ( 344 )
Jacal -- A method of construction whereby a wall is made of upright poles or sticks tied together and then covered and chinked with mud or clay; -- Use Architecture ( 341 )
Katsina cult -- Use Congregations ( 794 )
Lac -- Lac is the bright red secretion from several species of insects. -- Use Paint And Dye Manufacture ( 386 )
Lithic raw material transportation -- Use Travel ( 484 )
Local systems -- a political unit above the community level but lower than the regional network -- Use Territorial Hierarchy ( 631 )
Marginal environment -- Use Geography ( 130 )
Mica -- when its presence is noted within an archaeological site -- Use Special Deposits ( 317 )
Mullers and milling stones -- "Objects used in a round-and-round grinding motion, a process often used on seeds, but not corn …" (page 130; R. S. MacNeish and Peggy Wilner 1998 "Excavation of Pintada Rockshelter on McGregor Firing Range in New Mexico." University of Texas at El Paso) -- Use Food Preparation ( 252 ) with General Tools ( 412 )
Pahos -- prayer sticks, -- Use Prayers And Sacrifices ( 782 )
Periosteal reactions -- a nonspecific infectious lesion that appears on the outer perioisteal surface of a bone. -- Use Morbidity ( 164 )
Petate -- matting; -- Use Mats And Basketry ( 285 )
Pit Structures -- Use Dwellings ( 342 )
Plazas -- for walled plazas and open, unwalled plazas -- Use Settlement Patterns ( 361 )
Pochteca -- A pochtecatl (plural pochteca) was a professional long-distance traveling merchant in the Aztec Empire. In this context it represents a traveling merchant from Mesoamerica who provided information and trade goods from distant areas. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pochteca). -- Use Mercantile Business ( 441 )
Porotic hyperostosis -- “…A descriptive term for lesions on the cranium, the roof of the eye orbits, and the ends of the long bones. These lesions are produced by bone marrow proliferation that is diagnostic of anemia.” (page 149 from Marin et al. 1991. “Black Mesa Anasazi Health: Reconstructing Life from Patterns of Death and Disease.” Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Center of Archaeological Investigations, Occasional Paper No. 14.) -- Use Nutrition ( 146 ) with Morbidity ( 164 )
Pot Rests -- See see Trivets
r -- A symbol used in reference to a dendrochronological date. “The Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research at the University of Arizona uses the symbol 'r' to mean that less than a full section [of a tree] is present, but the outermost ring is continuous around the available circumference. The symbol may in fact be a cutting date, and therefore may provide a date for the year the room was built. When one or more rings may be missing near the end of the ring series whose presence or absence cannot be determined, the symbol “+” is used.” (page 39, Harry Shafer 1995. "Architecture and Symbolism in Transitional Pueblo Development in the Mimbres Valley, Southwest New Mexico." In: Journal of Field Archaeology volume 22, no. 1, Spring 1995.) -- Use Dating Methods In Archaeology ( 1211 )
Regionalization or regional subtraditions -- when a specific subtradition is not named -- Use Cultural Participation ( 184 )
Roasting pits -- Use Heating And Lighting Equipment ( 354 )
Room counts -- Use Dwellings ( 342 )
Sandals -- Use Normal Garb ( 291 )
Scavenging -- when abandoned structures may have been scavenged for various useful items -- Use Acquisition And Relinquishment Of Property ( 425 )
Segmentary organization -- Use Social Relationships And Groups ( 571 )
Sipapu -- the Hopi word for pit shrine. To the Hopi it represents the center of the cosmos. -- Use Sacred Objects And Places ( 778 )
Skull shape -- Use Body Alterations ( 304 )
Storage caches/cists/pits -- Use Warehousing ( 488 )
Storage pits -- Use Building Interiors And Arrangement ( 353 ) or
Third molar agenesis -- The failure of the third molar or wisdom tooth to develop or erupt. -- Use Ontogenetic Data ( 145 )
Tooth hypoplasia -- A tooth hypoplasia is an enamel hypoplasia that indicates a developmental defect in enamel thickness. They appear as small dents, grooves, or pits on the outer surface of a tooth and can occur when the body is stress during tooth formation in utero or childhood. -- Use Ontogenetic Data ( 145 ) with Morbidity ( 164 )
Tower mounds -- Use Miscellaneous Structures ( 349 )
Trivets -- small, round balls of clay found near hearths and probably used to secure or elevate pots during cooking. -- Use Miscellaneous Hardware ( 414 )
Turkeys -- Use Fauna ( 136 )
Turquoise -- Its presence or its use in an archaeological site -- Use Special Deposits ( 317 )
vv -- “The Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research at the University of Arizona uses the symbol 'vv' when there is no way of estimating how far the last ring is from the outside.” (page 37, Harry Shafer 1995 Architecture and Symbolism in Transitional Pueblo Development in the Mimbres Valley, Southwest New Mexico. In: Journal of Field Archaeology volume 22, no. 1, Spring 1995.) -- Use Dating Methods In Archaeology ( 1211 )
Viga -- a wooden roof beam used to support a roof in adobe construction. -- Use Carpentry ( 335 )