Go to the Digital Library top page!


Click here for main menu

Cultures > Anasazi

:: 400 AD - 1300 AD

Cultural Background | Surviving | Living in Community | Finding Meaning in the Cosmos

Cultural Background

Native Americans, who are also known as American Indians, were the original inhabitants of North America and South America. There are many subgroups of Native Americans who live in their own nations and tribes. The Anasazi were one of these groups. Later groups such as the Pueblo and the Hopi are descendants of the Anasazi.

The Anasazi, whose name is Navajo for "the Ancient Ones," lived in stone houses built on or carved out of existing rock structures.

In the beginning, the Anasazi were a nomadic culture. Nomadic means that the group had no permanent home or community. Instead they wandered from place to place in search of animals to hunt, plants to eat, and good weather. People like the Anasazi who rely on food they do not have to grow themselves are known as hunter-gatherers.

Later the Anasazi existence became sedentary. Sedentary describes a people who have settled in an area and built permanent buildings as part of their community. The Anasazis raised maize, which is a kind of corn, and other crops for food.

The sedentary Anasazi built pueblos, or villages, using a building material called adobe. Adobe was made of straw and earth, or clay, that had dried in the sun. Sometimes they formed the adobe into bricks with which to build their homes and community buildings.

The Anasazi left the villages they built sometime around 1300 AD. It is not known why, but many experts suggest that there was a very long draught that made it impossible for them to continue to grow their crops. The descendants of the Anasazi are still around today, though. 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 Pueblo are a unique group of Native Americans descended from the Anasazi who live in northern Arizona and New Mexico in the Southwestern United States. They still follow many of the Anasazi beliefs. One Pueblo tribe surviving today is the Hopi.

Time Period: 1000 BC ­ 1300 A.D. (although, the ancestors of the Anasazi go back to 6500 BC and possibly even further.

Location: The Anasazi lived in the American Southwest, in lands we now know as Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona in North America.

Geography: The land in this region includes flat dry land with little or no plants and trees called desert plains, streams and rivers and some mountain ranges.

1 of 4 next »


Need help searching?
Search help

Search eCUIP:

Examples: or
Contact eCUIP!

Need help?

Return to the eCUIP top page!