ANCESTRAL PUEBLOANS SYNOPSIS

Synopsis: ANCESTRAL PEUBLOANS: The Precursors of the Puebloans narrative is based on the only culture that was known to have settled in parts of the Colorado Plateau region, at least, their settlements for, at least, one thousand years. The account of their cultural history extends roughly from around the 12th-Century BC to the late 13th-Century AD. However, their known presence on the Plateau was sometime just before the start of the Common Era. The focus of the text, therefore, covers this latter stretch of time. The culture is segmented into the Archaic, Prehistoric, Historic and Contemporary phases. The historic phase also begins sometime after the Ancestral Puebloans departed their adopted homeland, or most of them did, and later resettled in parts of New Mexico. This phase of the Ancestral Puebloan cultural history also changes names to Puebloans. Yet their ancestral phase was known under a different name for many years: Anasazi. Initially applied by the Navajo, this designate has since fallen out of fashion. In view of this, archeologists, as well as Puebloans, generally shy away from using the somewhat lyrical appellation. What The Ancestral Puebloans text conveys to readers is an abridged account of their culture; indeed, a survey of pivotal cultural changes that began almost from the start of their occupation of the Plateau. Notably, the text's narrative chronicles a nomadic hunter-gatherer people that eventually became dryland farmers, starting with basic squash and maize (corn), then later beans (marking the so-called "three sister crops" still favored by today's Puebloans). 

The legacy of these people is indeed exceptional in all respects: primitive dwellings that later became amazing cliff palaces; fashioning plain pottery utensils (when, at last, pottery was introduced into their culture) that became ornate and highly prized by the owner; primitive tools that provided the people with more adept ways to hunt and farm, including a network of check dams and reservoirs to irrigate gardens and farms in ingenious ways. Given these cultural changes, the Ancestral Puebloans somehow managed to sustain their culture, by cultivating a typical arid region of the West. At the peak of their stay, their success was so great their population numbers were said to be well over one-hundred thousand. Chaco Canyon. Mesa Verde. Betatakin. Kiet Siel. Hovenweep. These are just some of the celebrated villages these resilient people built, whose archeological ruins, along with thousands of others, are still seen today; and most preserved as though the people left just yesterday. 


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