Collection Description

Tradition Name


Tradition Description

The Mogollon tradition is found in southeastern Arizona and southern New Mexico, extending into far western Texas and adjacent areas of northwestern Chihuahua, from 2000 to 600 BP. The people were sedentary horticulturalists growing corn, beans, and squash, with continued reliance on hunted and gathered resources. Early in the tradition people lived in pit houses and later in above-ground masonry pueblos with great kivas or community houses for village rituals. Late in the tradition there is evidence of Mogollon and Anasazi peoples living together in single communities. Pottery can be plain, incised, or painted. Many of the painted ceramic bowls are found buried with the dead. Trade items include marine-shell beads and bracelets from the Hohokam tradition, and copper bells and macaws from west Mexico.


Select the Tradition Summary link above for a longer description of the culture.


North America --Southwest and Basin



United States

OWC Code


Number of Documents


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Number of Pages


Collection Overview

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.

The Mogollon collection discusses the Early and Late Mogollon archaeological traditions located in southeast Arizona, southern New Mexico, and western Texas in the United States and northern Chihuahua and northeastern Sonora in Mexico from around 2000 BP to 600 BP (AD 1 to AD 1400).

Readers will find there is some overlap in time periods and material culture between the Middle-Late Desert Archaic (NT55), Basketmaker (NT 93), Early Anazasi (NT95), Late Anazasi (NT97) (online August 2012), and Hohokam (NT76). This is especially true within documents as many authors discuss the changes from the Late Archaic 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 listed above for additional information.

Synopses or overviews of the Mogollon tradition can be found in several documents. Reid (1989, no. 7) provides one overview and also describes Grasshopper Pueblo, a community that dates to the final prehistoric occupation. LeBlanc (1989, no. 8) emphasizes the interaction between Casas Grandes and the rest of the Mogollon. Reid and Whittlesley (1997, no. 11) write a summary of the Mogollon in Arizona and New Mexico. Lekson (2006, no. 36) contains a summary focusing on southwestern New Mexico. Anyon (1980, no. 39) also concentrates on south-central and southwestern New Mexico emphazising the Late Pithouse period. LeBlanc (1980, no. 38) covers the Early Pithouse period for southern New Mexico. Whalen (1980, no. 40) describes south-central New Mexico and western Texas for the Early and Late Pithouse periods.

Several documents are site reports or mainly discuss important Mogollon sites. Haury (1986, no. 12) presents a synopsis of his 1931 and 1934 excavations at Mogollon and Harris Villages. These sites led Haury to propose a separate archaeological tradition called the Mogollon. Haury (1985, no. 17) also excavated several sites in the Forestdale Valley in eastern Arizona including Bear Ruin and the Bluff Site. These sites are near the Anasazi area and show contact between the two archaeological traditions. Gabel (1985, no. 18) examined the skeletal remains from Bear Ruin. Haury and Sayles (1985, no. 19) present Haury’s excavations at the Bluff Site. The evidence from Bluff Site was used by Haury to further argue for a separate culture that was neither Hohokam nor Anasazi. Buehrer (1985, no. 20) analyzes the soil from the Bluff Site. Douglass (1985, nos. 21 and 22) discusses the tree-ring dates from the site.

Information on the Mesa Top site, an early pithouse village in eastern Arizona can be found in several documents. Berman (1978, no. 2) writes about the excavation and analysis. Preslar (1978, nos. 3 and 6) conducted a micromagnetic survey and analyzed the ceramics. Ford, 1978, no. 4 examined the botanical remains and Barnett (1978, no. 5) examined the fauna.

Wills (1996 no. 10) disusses his and previous excavations at the SU site, another Early Pithouse period site in western New Mexico. He suggests a new date for the site and the Pine Lawn phase.

Lightfoot (1984, no. 13) writes about the Duncan site, a seasonal Early Pithouse village. Lightfoot and Jewett (1984, no. 14) examine residential stability at Duncan, Lightfoot and Most (1984, no. 15) look for evidence the social structure at was becoming more complex, and Fish (1984, no. 16) analyzed athe pollen samples. The Wind Mountain site near the New Mexican border with Texas is discussed in Woosley and McIntyre (1996, no. 27)

NAN Ruin and the Galaz site, located in the Mimbres Valley are the topic of several documents. Shafer (1995, no. 9) writes about NAN ruin in the Mimbres Valley, but he also writes about the religious beliefs that are reflected in Mogollon architecture and the painted designs on the ceramics. The Galaz site, a Late Pithouse village to Postclassic Pueblo, and its many excavations is discusses by Anyon and LeBlanc (1984, no. 23). Archaeological information on the almost 1,000 burials found at the site is presented. The Late Pithouse macrobotanical remains are analyzed by Minnis (1984, no. 24), Nelson (1984, no. 25) examines the chipped stone assemblage, and Lancaster (1984, no. 26) the ground stone assemblage. These studies present information on the diet of the people in the Mimbres valley. LeBlanc (1984, no. 41) analyzed projectile points from the valley and showed that points cannot be used as temporal markers.

Charles Di Peso’s excavations at Wind Mountain are analyzed by Woosley and McIntyre (1996, no. 27). The macrobotanical remains were analyzed by Miksicek and Fall (1996, no. 28) while pollen samples were analyzed by Kelso (1996, no. 29). Faunal analyses were done by Olsen and Olsen (1996, no. 34) and McKusick (1996, no. 35). The results of the archaeomagnetic samples can be found in Sternberg and McGuire (1996, no. 30). McIntyre and Pasahow (1996, no. 31) examined the orientation of the pithouses. Petrographic analysis of twenty ceramic sherds was conducted by Stoltman (1996, no. 32). An osteological analysis of the human remains was conducted by Hinkes (1996, no. 33).

And finally, LeBlanc and Whalen (1980, no. 37) contains the bibliography for eHRAF documents nos. 38-40.

For further information on individual works in this collection, see the abstracts in the citations preceding each document.

Overview by

Sarah Berry

Agriculture –unspecified agriculture or when discussing the Mogollon staples of corn, beans, squash, and cotton– Use TILLAGE (241)

Bottle gourd –for the cultivation of or presence in an archaeological site– Use SPECIAL CROPS (249) –for a container use– Use (415) UTENSILS (415)

Burned structures – Use FIRE (372)

Butchering – Use HUNTING AND TRAPPING (224)

Caches – 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)

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)

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 or community function– Use PUBLIC STRUCTURES (344)

Compound walls – Use GROUNDS (351)

Conus shell tinklers – Use MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS (534)


Cradles or cradleboards – Use INFANT CARE (854)

Cremations – Use BURIAL PRACTICES AND FUNERALS (764) –when specifically referring to secondary cremation– Use MOURNING (765)


Household assemblages –the artifacts found within a pithouse structure– Use HOUSEHOLD (592)

Large structures – Use PUBLIC STRUCTURES (344)

Molcajetes –a stone tool used to grind various types of food, similar to a mortar and pestle– Use FOOD PREPARATION (252) with GENERAL TOOLS (412)

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 Use FOOD PREPARATION (252) with GENERAL TOOLS (412)


Plazas –for walled plazas and open, unwalled plazas– Use SETTLEMENT PATTERNS (361)

Pit Structures – Use DWELLINGS (342)

Pochateca –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– Use MERCANTILE BUSINESS (441)

Polishing Stone –a stone used in ceramic manufacture to smooth and polish the leather dried clay pot– Use GENERAL TOOLS (412) with CERAMIC TECHNOLOGY (323)

Pot Rests –see Trivets–

Quids "Quids result from the mastication of the rhizomes and tender leaves of [many desert plants]. The quids as found are no more that pads of matted fibers, expelled from the mouth after the juices and soft connective tissues have been extracted by chewing. In most cases the chewing had continued until the fibers were completely separated and the quid, when spate out, was nothing but a tangle of discrete fibers – a flattish wad perhaps 1 ¼ or more inches long, by ½ inch wide and ¼ inch thick." –from pages 224 and 226; Jesse D. Jennings 1957 Danger Cave . University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City. Use EATING (264) with FLORA (137)

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

Regionalization or regional subtraditions –when a specific subtradition is not named– Use CULTURAL PARTICIPATION (184)

Sandals –when abandoned structures may have been scavenged for various useful items such as timber or tools– Use NORMAL GARB (291)

Scavenging –when abandoned structures may have been scavenged for various useful items such as timber or tools– Use ACQUISITION AND RELINQUISHMENT OF PROPERTY (425)

Secondary cremation burial – Use MOURNING (765)

Segmentary organization – Use SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS AND GROUPS (571)

Stone Balls – Use LITHIC INDUSTRIES (324) with VISUAL ARTS (5311)

Storage pits –when they are found adjacent to or within houses or pit structures– Use BUILDING INTERIORS AND ARRANGEMENT (353)

Trivets –small, rather round balls of clay or rocks found near hearths and probably used to secure or elevate pots during cooking– Use MISCELLANEOUS HARDWARE (414)

Turquoise –for 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.

Indexing Notes by

Sarah Berry

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