“Ancient Pueblo People or Ancestral Pueblo peoples were an ancient Native American culture centered on the present-day Four Corners area of the United States, comprising southern Utah, northern Arizona, northwest New Mexico, and southern Colorado. They lived in buildings called pueblos, designed so that they could lift up entry ladders during enemy attacks, which provided security. Archaeologists referred to one of these cultural groups as the Anasazi. The word Anaasází is Navajo for “Ancient Ones” or “Ancient Enemy”. Archaeologists still debate when this distinct culture emerged. In general, modern Pueblo people claim these ancient people as their ancestors.
The Ancient Pueblo culture is perhaps best known for the stone and adobe dwellings built along cliff walls, particularly during the Pueblo II and Pueblo III eras. The best-preserved examples of the stone and adobe dwellings are in National Parks (USA), such as Chaco Canyon or Chaco Culture National Historical Park, Mesa Verde National Park, Aztec Ruins National Monument, Bandelier National Monument, Hovenweep National Monument, and Canyon de Chelly National Monument. These villages, called pueblos by Spanish settlers, were often only accessible by rope or through rock climbing.”
“Immense complexes known as “Great Houses” embodied worship at Chaco. The Chacoans used masonry techniques unique for their time, and their building constructions lasted decades and even centuries. As architectural forms evolved and centuries passed, the houses kept several core traits. Most apparent is their sheer bulk; complexes averaged more than 200 rooms each, and some enclosed up to 700 rooms. Individual rooms were substantial in size, with higher ceilings than Anasazi works of preceding periods. They were well-planned: vast sections or wings erected were finished in a single stage, rather than in increments. Houses generally faced the south, and plaza areas were almost always girt with edifices of sealed-off rooms or high walls. Houses often stood four or five stories tall, with single-story rooms facing the plaza; room blocks were terraced to allow the tallest sections to compose the pueblo’s rear edifice. Rooms were often organized into suites, with front rooms larger than rear, interior, and storage rooms or areas.
Ceremonial structures known as kivas were built in proportion to the number of rooms in a pueblo. “T”-shaped doorways and stone lintels marked all Chacoan kivas. Though simple and compound walls were often used, Great Houses were primarily constructed of core-and-veneer walls: two parallel load-bearing walls comprising dressed, flat sandstone blocks bound in clay mortar were erected. These surfacing stones were often placed in distinctive patterns. Gaps between walls were packed with rubble, forming the wall’s core.”
Source: Wiki – Ancient Pueblo Peoples
Source: Wiki – Chaco Culture National Historical Park
Image source: Flickr
Image source: Dennis Holloway Architect.com
Image source: Wiki
Image source: Anasazi Ruins, USA
Comment: Anasazi stonework evolved over time into numerous distinctive styles. There isn’t time or space here to fully cover this subject. There are some excellent books about Anasazi stonework if you want to learn more.
4 thoughts on “Anasazi Stonework”
Ecological disaster in the form of extended drought is the prevalent thinking of why the pueblo cities were abandoned.
I recommend taking a look at the Aztec Ruins National Monument on Google earth. You will note that the structure is built in a semi-circle with the opening facing the south. This is one of the earliest examples of passive solar heating, for the west wall blocked the hot summer afternoon sun.
Let’s see… They tapped out the local resources. The land couldn’t support that many people. Extreme environmental pressure. The culture was broken apart… Sound familiar?
Such an interesting piece of history. It’s such a shame their culture has been washed out….