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Basketmaker II
Basketmaker III

This period lasts from about A.D. 1300 to 1450, or, in some areas, until Spanish contact in 1540. Pueblo IV is the time of extremely large, nucleated pueblo towns. Some of these were made up of a few thousand individual rooms concentrated into massive, multi-story room blocks. During Pueblo IV, these large towns were distributed over a territory that extended from the Verde Valley, to Anderson Mesa east of Flagstaff, into the Upper and Middle Little Colorado drainage, into the White Mountains of East-Central Arizona and West-Central New Mexico. On the east, there were even larger pueblos in the Rio Grande valley and the Pecos area.

Massive, nucleated pueblo towns housing a few thousand people, usually placed near springs or along reliable streams

A trend toward "intensive" agriculture, involving cultivation of terraces and "waffle gardens" outlined in stone. Many of the aspects of agricultural production that were started in PIII continue, but there is intensive packing of agricultural fields in the zone immediately surrounding the large pueblo. In some places, there may have been irrigation from flowing streams (e.g., the pueblos of Homolovi, along the Little Colorado River), or use of water from springs to feed terrace gardens.

Mass production and exporation of extremely well made polychrome, orange ware, and ellow ware pots. In the eastern part of the Anasazi range, there is evolution of "glaze" painted pots, painted with mineral paints fired at such a high temperature that the minerals melted and "glazed" onto the surface of the pot.

Some of the pottery in the western portion of the Anasazi range depicts masked figures and other symbols (especially those showing water, serpents, and birds) associated with Kachina religion.

Around 1300, many pueblos (again, especially in the western areas) show the construction of large "plaza" areas and other architectural forms (e.g., large, rectangular kivas) that are thought to be the first material expressions of new forms of ceremonies associated with Kachina religion. There is considerable debate about the degree of social stratification and the real political power of individuals and ceremonial associations during this time period, but it is clear that the large villages that have arisen during PIV have new and more powerful means for integrating the populations and keeping the village from fissioning. It has been proposed that Kachina religion provides an effective means for incorporating multiple (probably multi-ethnic) groups into a single, village-wide religious and ceremonial system, with an emphasis on rain-making, cooperation, and food sharing. The size of kivas and plaza areas, and the expressions of Kachina ideology, indicate that the foundations of modern Hopi, Zuni, and other western pueblo cultures are in place by the mid-1300s at the latest.

By the early 1400s, many areas have again been abandoned, including Anderson Mesa, the Verde Valley, the Middle Little Colorado River, and the White Mountains. There is a great deal of aggregation and population growth in many areas that were found to be occupied when the Spanish arrived in A.D. 1540, e.g., the Hopi mesas, the area surrounding Zuni, and Acoma. On the east, in the Rio Grande Valley and along its tributaries, there is a great deal of population growth, probably to some degree involving emigrants from areas to the west of the Rio Grande. It is not yet clear how much influence the Kachina religion had on these aggregations, but there is considerable similarity in some aspects of symbolic expression and village plan.


Dept. of Anthropology, P.O. Box 15200,
Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona 86011-5200, USA.