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Anasazi Ruins Southern Utah
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Major Anasazi Regions and Sites
At least from the time of Jesus, and for possibly 1,500 years before, the Anasazi occupied a huge chunk of mostly arid and barren real estate in the Four Corners Area of the American Southwest where four modern states – Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah – join at one point. Many 19th century archaeologists believed that the Anasazi disappeared after they abandoned major cities like Mesa Verde and Chaco near the end of the 13th century. Now, we know that they didn’t just vanish into thin air, but migrated to the Río Grande Valley, Hopi, Zuni, Acoma and other pueblos in Arizona and New Mexico. (See the SW Cultures Map). In fact, modern scientists have extended the historical timeline of the Anasazi to at least 1700 and, often, right up to the present to encompass the modern Puebloan descendants of the Anasazi.
Scattered throughout the immense area once occupied by the Anasazi are hundreds of thousands of sites, ranging from caves and individual campsites in the open to multi-story adobe pueblos and magnificent cliff-side stone cities. Most of the major sites are within the boundaries of national or state parks and monuments. On the following pages we deal mostly with such major sites since they are generally more accessible and better maintained.
The area of primary Anasazi occupation, as shown on the SW Cultures Map, overlaps with areas occupied by other ancient Southwest cultures, including the Mogollon, Hohokam and Hakataya. In the following pages we focus on the purer, non-overlapping part of the Anasazi territory, bounded on the south by a line running roughly from Flagstaff, Arizona, to a point about 50 miles south of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Modern archaeologists break this area of Anasazi cultural influence into six distinct districts or regions: Chaco, Northern San Juan, Kayenta, Virgin Kayenta, Cíbola and Río Grande. (See the Ancient Sites map).
July 5th, 2013
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