Archeology

THE southwestern United States, New Mexico in particular, has
been the scene of intensive anthropologic study. The reports of
early explorers contain many references to the permanent villages
of the sedentary Pueblo Indians and the countless ruins in all western
and central parts of the State. The literary accounts, the concentration
of the indigenous population, and the spectacular cave and surface ruins
interested such students as Bandelier, Cushing, Fewkes, and Hewett in
the archeology' and ethnology of New Mexico soon after the science of
anthropology was popularized. Successive studies throughout the past
sixty years have improved the techniques of the science and developed
the knowledge of the prehistory of the area until today New Mexico
may be listed with such centers of acknowledged archeological interest
as the Nile Valley and the "Fertile Crescent" in the Old World.

In New Mexico and adjacent southwestern States archeologists have
traced the sequence of human occupation from the nomadic hunter con-
temporaries of extinct post-Pleistocene animals through localized hori-
zons of hunters and seed-gatherers and phases of sedentary agriculturists
to the organized inhabitants of village communities that survived the
Spanish conquest. Ethnologists have described the different forms of
culture possessed by the present day settled Pueblo Indians and the
formerly hunting, now pastoral, nomadic Navaho and Apache. Over
20,000 Indians in New Mexico continue to live in much the same
fashion as their pre-Columbian ancestors. Physical anthropologists
have studied many groups of the indigenous population as well as the
wealth of skeletal material collected in the course of ruin excavations.
They have established several physical types and the chronological order
of the appearance of the types in New Mexico. Philologists have
recognized at least four linguistic stocks in the area, each of which may
be subdivided into a number of dialects. Anthropo-geographers have
appreciated the Southwest as one of the largest and most varied regions
in the United States in which to study the inter-relationship of man and
nature; the influence of environment on human physique and culture
may be noted in three ecological zones.

The prehistory of New Mexico is divided into three general culture
periods: the Folsom, the Basket Maker, and the Pueblo. The nature
and age of the first complex explains the elusiveness of the remains; the
culture period was the last to be established and is the least known.