This section of WestWeb provides information about ancient Native Americans in the West. Under General Sites you will find links to sites which deal with the general history of ancient Western Native Americans. Under Ancient Peoples, you will find several sections on different groups of ancient southwestern peoples. Under Archaeology there is a collection of links dealing with the Archaeology of the North American West. Finally, under Images, you will find some images pertaining to ancient Western history.
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Text and Content Copyright © Catherine Lavender 1995-2001.
WestWeb graphics Copyright © Warrick J. Bell 1996-2001.
Graphic design and layout by Catherine Lavender and Warrick Bell.
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- Ancient World Web provides valuable information and references for placing the ancient peoples of the North American West in a world context.
- For some general information on Native history, see NativeWeb, a remarkable and thorough source on Indigeneous and Native Peoples.
- The Meso-American Center's Maya/Aztec/Inca Center.
- Map of Ancient Cultures of the Southwest, from Professor Ron Johnson at Humboldt State University.
The Aztecs (also known as the Mexica) inhabited the valley of Mexico before the arrival of Cortez. Their capital city of Tenochtítlan rivalled those of Europe in terms of size and complexity.
The word Anasazi comes from a Navaho word meaning "ancient ones." The Anasazi flourished in the Southwest, especially in the Four Corners Region, from AD 1000 through 1300. They left behind numerous ruins, including several Great Kivas (such as the Great Kiva at Chaco Canyon) and cliff dwellings, like those at Mesa Verde. They are the ancestors for many of the Pueblos, the Navaho, and others in the area.
After the Anasazi abandoned the Four Corners area around 1300, Ancient Pueblos settled throughout the region. They left behind ruins throughout New Mexico especially, including those found at Coronado State Monument, Jemez State Monument, Pecos National Historic Park, Poshuouinga Ruins, Petroglyph National Monument, Pueblitos of Dinetah, Puyé Cliff Dwellings, and Salinas Pueblo Mission National Monument.
The Hohokam, a Piman name meaning "all used up," lived near the Phoenix area from around AD 500 to 1450. They farmed the Tucson area as early as 100 AD, and were the ancient ancestors of many modern-day inhabitants of the Southwest, including the Tohono O'Odham and the Pima. They left behind numerous ruins in Arizona, including those at Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, the Hardy Site, Painted Rocks Park, and Pueblo Grande Ruins.
Mogollon, Sinagua, and Salado
- The Mogollon (and the Mimbres, a Mogollon subgroup) flourished in the upper drainage of the Little Colorado River in northern Arizona, ranging south into Southern Arizona and east into New Mexico from around AD 500 to 1450. They left behind ruins which include those at Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, Three Rivers Petroglyph Site, and Casa Malpais.
- Most Sinagua settlements were in the San Francisco Peaks near present-day Flagstaff, ranging down to the Verde River valley from about AD 500 to 1450. They left behind ruins mostly in Arizona, including those at the Elden Ruins, Montezuma Castle National Monument, Tuzigoot National Monument, Walnut Canyon National Monument, and Wupatki National Monument.
- The Salado settled in the Tonto Basin area in Arizona around present-day Roosevelt, and left behind ruins including those found at the Tonto National Monument.
Archaeology of the American West
- Brian Kenny's Southwestern Archaeological Site, with a menu that includes "Contact an Archaeologist!"
- University of Connecticut's ArchNet Cultural Resources and Management Web.
- The Santa Fé Institute Homepage.
- A huge page of Pre-Columbian Archaeology Related Links and a huge page of links on Mesoamerican archaeology.
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