|Anasazi Culture 500 CE - 1600 CE|
a North American civilization that developed from about AD 100 to modern times, centring generally on the area where the boundaries of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah intersect. (Anasazi is Navajo for "Ancient Ones.") It is customarily divided into these developmental periods: Basket Maker period, 100-500; Modified Basket Maker period, 500-700; Developmental Pueblo period (formerly designated Pueblo I and II), 700-1050; Classic Pueblo (formerly designated Pueblo III), 1050-1300; Regressive Pueblo (formerly designated Pueblo IV), 1300-1700; and Modern Pueblo (formerly designated Pueblo V), 1700 to date.
The origin of the Basket Maker Indians is not known, but it is evident that, when they first settled in the area, they were already excellent basket weavers and that they were supplementing hunting and wild-seed gathering with the cultivation of maize and pumpkins. They lived either in caves or out in the open in shelters constructed of a masonry of poles and adobe mud. Both caves and houses contained special pits, often roofed over, that were used for food storage.
This basic pattern continued into the period of the Modified Basket Makers, when agriculture became their major interest (bean crops were added and turkeys were domesticated) and hunting and gathering were reduced to supplementary roles. Villages remained either in caves or out in the open; but those in caves consisted of an array of semisubterranean houses, and those in the open consisted of chambers both aboveground and belowground, all often contiguously joined in straight lines or crescents. Aboveground chambers probably served as storage places and the pit houses as domiciles and ceremonial rooms. These pit houses were actually elaborations of the old storage pits. Sun-dried pottery was introduced during this period.
During the Developmental Pueblo period, the same type of straight-line or crescent-shaped multiple house was built, but gradually enlarged. Stone masonry, too, began to replace the earlier pole-and-mud construction. The pit houses became kivas, the underground circular chambers used henceforth primarily for ceremonial purposes. Aboveground chambers were used wholly as domiciles. Agriculture may have been augmented at this time by the cultivation of cotton. Pottery assumed a greater variety of shapes, finishes, and decorations. Basketry was less-common. Throughout the period the area of occupation continued to expand.
The Classic Pueblo period was the time of the great cliff houses, the villages built in sheltered recesses in the faces of cliffs but otherwise differing little from the masonry or adobe houses and villages built elsewhere. This was also the time of the large, freestanding, apartment-like structures built along canyons or mesa walls. In either locale, many dwellings consisted of two, three, or even four stories, often built in stepped-back fashion so that the roofs of the lower rooms served as porches for the rooms above. These community structures had from 20 to as many as 1,000 rooms. An actual shrinking of the inhabited areas took place as people of the outer fringes moved in to build the large units. Craftsmanship in pottery reached a high level, and cotton and yucca fibre were skillfully woven.
Abandonment of the cliff houses and large community dwellings marked the close of the Classic Pueblo period. In part this may have resulted from the incursion of nomadic Navajo and Apache from the north and a prolonged drought that occurred from 1276 to 1299.
The Regressive Pueblo period was characterized by movement of the people south and east, some to the Rio Grande valley or the White Mountains of Arizona. New villages, some larger than those of Classic Pueblo, were built but were generally poorer and cruder in layout and construction (sometimes walls consisted wholly of adobe). Fine pottery making still flourished, however, though changed in design, and weaving continued as before.
The Modern Pueblo period is usually dated from about 1700, when Spanish influences first began to be pervasive. Official Spanish occupancy of the area had begun in 1598, but the Spaniards' attempts at forced religious conversions and tribute caused hostility among the Indians, leading in 1680 to open revolt and the killing or expulsion of the Spaniards. Not until about 1694 was Spanish authority reimposed. A century of unsettled conditions, however, had reduced the number of Pueblo settlements from about 70 or 80 to 25 or 30. Much of the culture and many of the skills in agriculture and crafts, nevertheless, have continued down to modern times.
Copyright © 1994-2001 Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.
Keet Seel ruins
1300 CE - 1500 CE
SW United States
Classic Pueblo Period
Courses on Udemy:
|Form: These ruins were once buildings that were built one on top of another into the side of sandstone cliff. Made of stone, adobe, and timber. The placement shelters the structure from the brunt of the heat and is also highly defensible.|
Iconography: While probably not built as overt symbols of power, complexes such as Keet Seel and Mesa Verde represent a highly organized and cooperative civilizations. As icons of the culture that created them and stand as fortresses against the dessert and against hostile invaders. Today, for many Americans, these ruins have been adopted as symbols of Native American heritage.
Context: Some structures, such as those at Keet Seel, were built over time. The rooms were placed one on top of another possibly because the center rooms were filled in either with stored goods or debris or because more space was needed. The Anasazi built dams to divert water and provide irrigation for crops and were highly organized. Today some of the earlier research concerning the Anasazi (some based on excavations of trash pits is being reexamined refuted.
According to the Brittanica,
|Another look at schema and correction:|
Summary of Gombrich
To understand his theory called "schema and naturalization," or "schema and correction." To understand it you basically just need to know the definitions of three words.
Chaco Canyon, New Mexico
900 CE - 1250 CE
SW United States
Aerial view of Pueblo Bonito from the north.
[Copyright David L. Grill]
SW United States
Classic Pueblo Period
According to the Brittanica,
formerly CHACO CANYON NATIONAL MONUMENT, national historical park in northwestern New Mexico, U.S. It is situated 45 miles (72 km) south of Bloomfield. It was established in 1907 as a national monument and was redesignated and renamed in 1980. It occupies an area of 53 square miles (137 square km), which consists of a canyon dissected by the Chaco and Gallo washes. It contains 13 major pre-Columbian Indian ruins and more than 300 smaller archaeological sites representing high points in Pueblo cultures. Pueblo Bonito (built in the 10th century), the largest and most completely excavated Pueblo site, contained about 800 rooms and 32 kivas (underground ceremonial chambers). The excavations indicate that the people excelled in toolmaking, weaving, pottery, farming, and masonry. Artifacts are displayed at the visitor centre.
|Form: The overall plan of Pueblo Bonito is shaped like the letter "D". The structure were built out of wood, adobe, and stone. The masonry was constructed by making a core of stones and mortar that was then faced with ashlars. (Ashlars are alternating rows of masonry that look similar modern day brick work.) The round structures in the center of the Pueblo are large subterranean buildings that would have originally been covered with logs of pine to create an "igloo" like structure of timbers. |
Iconography: The overall shape and or plan of Pueblo Bonito might be symbolic of the cultures relationship to the astral bodies, this matter is still hotly debated. The kivas were used as subterranean temples. By descending into the Kiva through the roof at the top the individual may have been going back into the "mother" earth. Therefore worship inside and the ascension out of the kiva may symbolize spiritual rebirth. (Keep this in mind when you look at the architecture of the Northwest Coasts' houses.) The circular form may be a symbol of natural cycles or eternity. Stokstad refers to the Kivas' iconography as making reference to the "navel of the earth."
Context: Pueblo Bonito was built over the ruins of an earlier site and seems to have been planned and constructed as an over all cohesive complex. It was built in 25 to 40 years and was probably used more as a ceremonial center for the Anasazi elite rather than as a pragmatic living and defensive structure. Many of these conclusions are based on recent study of the petroglyph at left, the relationship of the structures to the sun and stars, and the study other Anasazi structures across the Southwestern US.
The petroglyph appears to relate to the overall structure of the pueblo and its relationship to the sun and stars. At certain points during the seasons the pueblos walls line up with the passage of the sun in a similar way to the petroglyph at left. Recent excavations of the site has also lead researchers to some interesting but highly suspect conclusions.
The lack of certain debris in the trash pits at Pueblo Bonito have caused some historians to believe that the pueblo was not not occupied full time. Other archaeologists have discovered human remains in some of the pits with markings or gashes on the bones that may indicate ritual sacrifice or even possibly ritual cannibalism. Nevertheless, these observations and conclusions are still open to argument.
The existence of the site's many kivas and the ritualized destruction of the kivas by burning have lead to the following conclusions. The site was used mainly for ritual and for some reason, possibly religious in nature, the site was abandoned some time in the middle of the twelfth century. Based on observations of contemporary Native American rituals historians believe that only men were allowed into the kivas.
According to the Brittanica kivas are,
subterranean ceremonial and social chamber found in the Pueblo American Indian villages of the southwestern United States, particularly notable for the colourful mural paintings decorating the walls.
Seed Jar circa 1250 CE
|Form: The vessels are ceramic and made using the coil built technique. Anasazi pottery is mainly geometric in design, but features naturalistic patterns as well. The designs play with negative and positive space while enhancing the shape of the vessels. These pots are an example of horror vacui. They were made with the coil method. This method consists of making a long snake like form out of clay and spiraling it around a hollow core. The coils were then smoothed out. The pots were then fired, probably in a pit, and glazed with a thin coating of watered down clay called slip or engobe. The way in which all of the pots' surfaces have been covered with decorations and designs is referred to as horror vacui. Horror Vacui is Latin a fear of empty space.|
It is interesting to note that the style of decoration on the seed jars at left typifies many of the main qualities of Anasazi, Hopi and Navajo art. The majority of the decorations are stylized in a geometric fashion, (designs based on geometric forms such as circles, squares and counterbalancing curves.) The pots are also decorated with some naturally occurring repeating designs found in nature, such as wave forms, but, may also incorporate manmade things found in the environment such as block forms used in buildings.
Some pots, such as the top most seed jar incorporate the naturalistic depiction of lizards (such as the three dimensional lizard handle on top) which is counterbalanced with the flat geometrically stylized painting of the lizard on the bottom of the jar.
Iconography: Based on contemporary Navajo interpretations, here is a chart that may describe what each pattern means.
Context: These pots are called seed jars because they were used to contain seeds. The pots were suspended from the roof poles by leather thongs to thwart rodents. The lizard on top of the jars may serve a protecting function since some lizards eat rodents.
Women made the pottery in the Anasazi culture. The iconography of the pottery is probably based on the immediate environment the potters experienced.
Some iconographic symbols from the modern day Navajo culture which will help you to understand the next section.
|Feathers, depicted in many, many ways, are symbols of prayers, marks of honor or sources of ideas. They represent the Creative Force, and are taken from birds connected with the attribute for which they might be utilized: goose flight feathers to fledge an arrow because of the long flights of the geese; Eagle feathers for honor or to connect the user with the Creator, Turkey feathers to decorate a kachina mask. As design elements, they may appear plain, banded, barred, or decorated.|
|Pahos or Prayer Sticks, are carefully notched and painted cottonwood or cedar sticks with specific feathers attached to catch the wind. They are planted in the ground at religious sites, and at springs to carry specific prayers to the Creator or to the Kachinas. Their forms are found in many Pueblo and Navajo designs.|
Kiva painting from Kuana Pueblo Bonito
1300 CE - 1500 CE
SW United States
Classic Pueblo period
Courses on Udemy: