Cowboy Wash: The Anasazi Culture

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Archaeological site, Cowboy Wash, is located in South Western Colorado and holds the ancient history of the early Anasazi people (Walker, 1997). Cowboy Wash was excavated by Soil Systems Inc. as part of their Ute Mountain Irrigated Lands Archaeological Project. They constructed the project between 1992-1998 (Billman 1997,1998,1999). The Anasazi people began as a hunter gatherer culture and slowly moved into an agricultural society. One of their main questionable cultural activities is their participation in cannibalism, the eating of human remains. Although there is evidence that shows a great possibility of cannibalism, many archaeologists argue whether or not those findings can definitively say that the Anasazi people were cannibals.
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The Anasazi culture has been split up into six developmental periods. The first is the Late Basketmaker II which lasted from AD 110-500. The second is Basket maker III which lasted between AD 500-750. Basketmaker II and III were named because of the fine basketry found within the sites habited by the Anasazi people. Also within Basketmaker II and III they heavily relied on a hunter gatherer culture. They would gather wild plants for food. They also did little corn growing. They lived in caves or small pithouses within the ground. Within those pithouses they carved out storage areas in the ground to hold food. During the Basketmaker III period the Anasazi increased their agriculture with corn and even introduced growing beans. They also domesticated the turkey. They became so advanced in the agriculture society that they built irrigation structures to assist in the growing of crops (Britannica,…show more content…
Could this be due to actual evidence found? Most likely. Anasazi burials normally consist of one member situated in a specific arrangement and location and normally buried with burial goods (Walker, 1997). What was different about those burials with the disarticulated ones was that the disarticulated ones weren’t formally buried in a specific site with burial goods. The archaeologists that did find disarticulated bones found evidence of charred remains, cracked and calcined bones, decapitation evidence, and bones being crushed by stone tools. The archaeologists who do not agree with the cannibalism theory argue that sever trauma or warfare could have caused the same patterns of crushing and dismembering as that of cannibalism. There are many arguments and theories as to why the remains could have ended up disarticulated. They are that it was part of the preparation for burial, emergency or starvation cannibalism, social control, famine, or drought (Walker,
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