Unfortunately, the Anasazi had no written language, and nothing is known of the name by which they actually called themselves. To avoid confusion, and for the purpose of familiarity and brevity, we (respectfully) have chosen to use the standard archaeological term “Anasazi”.
But more than that, the word is a veiled insult. For a long time, it was romantically — and incorrectly — thought to mean “Old Ones.” It actually means ” Enemy Ancestors,” a term full of political innuendo and slippery history. In Navajo, ‘Ana’í means alien, enemy, foreigner, and non-Navajo. ‘Anaa’ means war.
The term is Navajo in origin, and means “ancient enemy.” The Pueblo peoples of New Mexico understandably do not wish to refer to their ancestors in such a disrespectful manner, so the appropriate term to use is “Ancestral Pueblo” or “Ancestral Puebloan.”
The Anasazi, or ancient ones, who once inhabited southwest Colorado and west-central New Mexico did not mysteriously disappear, said University of Denver professor Dean Saitta at Tuesday’s Fort Morgan Museum Brown Bag lunch program. The Anasazi, Saitta said, live today as the Rio Grande Pueblo, Hopi and Zuni Indians.
But Turner contends that a “band of thugs” – Toltecs, for whom cannibalism was part of religious practice – made their way to Chaco Canyon from central Mexico. These invaders used cannibalism to overwhelm the unsuspecting Anasazi and terrorize the populace into submission over a period of 200 years.
The airy settlement that we explored had been built by the Anasazi, a civilization that arose as early as 1500 B.C. Their descendants are today’s Pueblo Indians, such as the Hopi and the Zuni, who live in 20 communities along the Rio Grande, in New Mexico, and in northern Arizona.
The Anasazi (“Ancient Ones”), thought to be ancestors of the modern Pueblo Indians, inhabited the Four Corners country of southern Utah, southwestern Colorado, northwestern New Mexico, and northern Arizona from about A.D. 200 to A.D. 1300, leaving a heavy accumulation of house remains and debris.
Ancestral Pueblo culture, also called Anasazi, prehistoric Native American civilization that existed from approximately ad 100 to 1600, centring generally on the area where the boundaries of what are now the U.S. states of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah intersect.
You can see a person’s body there, formed on the rock with arms sticking up in the air and legs pointing straight down and a torso. The Anasazi lived here for more than 1,000 years. Then, within a single generation, they were gone. Between 1275 and 1300 A.D., they stopped building entirely, and the land was left empty.
The Pueblo and the Hopi are two Indian tribes that are thought to be descendants of the Anasazi. The term Pueblo refers to a group of Native Americans who descended from cliff-dwelling people long ago.
The Anasazi are best known for: their sophisticated dwellings. creating a complex network of roadways, transportation systems, and communication routes. making ornate and highly functional pottery.
Although a kiva’s most important purpose is as a venue for rituals, kivas can also be used for political meetings and casual gatherings of the men of the village. Women perform their rituals in other venues and rarely enter kivas.
The Anasazi built their dwellings under overhanging cliffs to protect them from the elements. Anasazi means “ancient outsiders.” Like many peoples during the agricultural era, the Anasazi employed a wide variety of means to grow high-yield crops in areas of low rainfall.
The Chaco people abused sacred ceremonies, practiced witchcraft and cannibalism, and made a dreaded substance called corpse powder by cooking and grinding up the flesh and bones of the dead. Their evil threw the world out of balance, and they were destroyed in a great earthquake and fire.