"The people who once lived here are called the Anasazi. The old ones"
Mesa Verde Cliff Palace, Colorado (photographed in 1891)
Public DomainMesa Verde Cliff Palace, Colorado (photographed in 1891) - Credit: Finnish National Board of Antiquities
Interior of Gila Cliff Dwellings, New Mexico
Public DomainInterior of Gila Cliff Dwellings, New Mexico - Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Anasazi ruin in Mule Canyon, Utah
Creative Commons AttributionAnasazi ruin in Mule Canyon, Utah - Credit: snowpeak

The word Anasazi is Navajo for ‘Ancient Ones’ or ‘Ancient Enemy’ and is used to describe the Ancient or Ancestral Pueblo peoples who once inhabited the Four Corners of the southwestern United States (southern Utah, northern Arizona, northwest New Mexico, and southern Colorado).

The Anasazi culture emerged perhaps as early as 1500 BC, apparently disappearing around 1300 AD. The only trace of the people remains in architecture (particulary their distinctive cliff dwellings), basketry, art, and other implements. Historians remain divided over what caused the so-called 'Anasazi collapse' or what happened to the people. Most modern Pueblo people (such as the Kerseans, Hopi, and Tanoans) assert the ancient Pueblo migrated to the southwest to find more favourable rainfall and dependable streams. They then merged into the various Pueblo peoples whose descendents still live in Arizona and New Mexico.