Foundations of Anasazi Culture

The Basketmaker Pueblo Transition

This major synthesis of work explores new evidence gathered at Basketmaker III sites on the Colorado Plateau in search of further understanding of Anasazi development.

Since the 1960s, large-scale cultural resource management projects have revealed the former presence of Anasazi within the entire northern Southwest. These discoveries have resulted in a greatly expanded view of the BMIII period (A.D. 550-750) which immediately proceeds the Pueblo phase. Particularly noteworthy are finding of Basketmaker remains under those of later periods and in sites with open settings, as opposed to the more classic Basketmaker cave and rock shelter sites.

Foundations of Anasazi Culture explores this new evidence in search of further understanding of Anasazi development. Several chapters address the BMII-BMIII transition, including the initial production and use of pottery, greater reliance on agriculture, and the construction of increasingly elaborate structures. Other chapters move beyond the transitional period to discuss key elements of the Anasazi lifestyle, including the use of gray-,red-, and white-ware ceramics, pit structures, storage cists, surface rooms, full dependence on agriculture, and varying degrees of social specialization and differentiation. A number of contributions address one or more of these issues as they occur at specific sites. Other contributors consider the material culture of the period in terms of common elements in architecture, ceramics, lithic technology, and decorative media.

This work on BMIII sites on the Colorado Plateau will be useful to anyone with an interest in the earliest days of Anasazi civilization.

Paul F. Reed is an archaeologist with the Navajo Nation Archaeology Department in Farmington, New Mexico.

Table of Contents:

List of Figures
List of Tables
1. Fundamental Issues in Basketmaker Archaeology - Paul F. Reed
2. Locational, Architectural, and Ceramic Trends in the Basketmaker III Occupation of the La Plata Valley, New Mexico - H. Wolcott Toll and C. Dean Wilson
3. Colonization, Warfare, and Regional Competition: Recent Research into the Basketmaker III Period in the Mesa Verde Region - Mark L. Chenault and Thomas N. Motsinger
4. Distinctive and Intensive: The Basketmaker III to Early Pueblo I Occupation of Cove-Redrock Valley, Northeastern Arizona - Paul F. Reed and Scott Wilcox
5. Socioeconomic Organization of a Late Basketmaker III Community in the Mexican Springs Area, Southern Chuska Mountains, New Mexico - Jonathan E. Damp and Edward M. Kotyk
6. The Early to Late Basketmaker III Transition in Tohatchi Flats, New Mexico - Timothy M. Kearns, Janet L. McVickar, and Lori Stephens Reed

Praise and Reviews:
"Clearly written and carefully edited, this is a major contribution to southwestern prehistory and archaeology in general."—CHOICE

"This book will see a great deal of use over the years."—New Mexico Historical Review

"A valuable contribution toward understanding culture history in the Four Corners region."—American Antiquity

"Although this book is suitable for classroom use, readers interested in Anasazi culture will also find it a valuable source of information."—Colonial Latin American Historical Review