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The Anasazi Culture Of The Southwestern United States

2294 words - 9 pages

Anasazi of the southwestern Untied States begin as hunter-gathers around 6500 B.C.E in the four corner regions Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico. These archaic Indians leaned to survive in a semi-arid environment with variable rain fall, and temperatures that range 32 degrees Fahrenheit to 102 degrees with 60 degree fluctuations in one day. The Anasazi culture not only survived in this hostile environment they flourished, and evolved many adaptations such as flood plain farming, advanced irrigation systems, storage of subsistence, diverse cropping systems, and when all else failed migration. Over time the Anasazi went from a highly mobile culture to a sedentary one because of their reliance on the production of maize. The Anasazi leaned to construct shallow pit-houses which evolved to large villages, cliff dwellings, large plaza-oriented pueblos, ceremonial structures, and roads that connected villages together. The Anasazi are known for their pottery which stared out plain but changed from black and white, to red, orange and yellow. Their society also changed over time form an egalitarian band of nomadic hunter-gathers, to highly interdependent stratified society.

The Anasazi culture came to a climax around 1350 A.D, and the four corners region was abandoned never to be reoccupied again. The Anasazi seem to have vanished without a trace, however like any great mystery there are clues that may help us understand what happened to this highly advanced society. The scope of this paper will be to discuss the arguments of Jared Diamond author of the New York Times best seller Collapse, and Michael Wilcox author of Chapter 5 in Questioning Collapse titled An indigenous Response to Jared Diamonds Archaeology of the American southwest. Diamond argues that the Anasazi culture collapsed because of environmentally damage cause by deforestation, drought, over population, warfare, over use of water, and cannibalism. Wilcox argues that the Anasazi are the modern day pueblos of the American southwest and were resilient with their adaptations in relations to the harsh environment, and did not collapse because of over use of their resources. Furthermore, Wilcox ages that Diamonds arguments are justification for the conquest of the indigenous peoples by European invaders, makes claims about Europe colonialism and the impact on the native cultures. The Anasazi people do live on today, however if were we to construct an evolutionary tree for cultures the characteristic of the Anasazi culture would be a dead-end, and contributing factors may be deforestation, over population, and unprecedented droughts.

The Anasazi used a variety of agriculture methods to contend with the unpredictable rainfall to ensure their survival. These methods include relying on rain fall from higher elevations, growing crops in areas where the water table was high so plant roots could absorb water, and irrigation fields(Diamond, 2005, p. 140). These methods not only insured survival,...

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