The Archaic Southwest was the culture of the southwestern United States between 6500 BC and 200 AD (approximately).

The Paleo-Indian tradition before that dates from 10,500 BC to 7500 BC. The Southwestern United States during the Archaic time frame can be identified or defined culturally in two separate ways:

  1. Agriculture, pottery styles and public architecture – People of the southwest had a variety of subsistence strategies, all using their own specific techniques. Crops included maize, beans, and squash. The earliest known maize cultivation in the Southwest is about 2100 BC. Settlements grew larger as agriculture became more important in subsistence.[1]
  2. The absence of Formal Social Stratification, large cities, writing, and major architecture.

Archaic cultural traditions include:

  1. Archaic–Early Basketmaker Era (7000 BC – 1500 BC)
  2. Sand-Dieguito-Pinto (6500 BC – 200 AD)
  3. Oshara (5500 BC – 600 AD)
  4. The Cochise (before 5000 BC – 200 BC)
  5. Chihuahua (6000 BC – 250 AD)
  6. Oasisamerica cultures (3500 BC – 1300 AD).

Many contemporary cultural traditions exist within the southwest, but there are four major ones.

  1. Yuman-speaking peoples, including the Paipai, Havasupai, Yavapai, Walapai, Mohave, Quechan, Maricopa, Tipai-Ipai, Cocopa, and Kiliwa people They inhabit the Colorado River valley, the uplands, and Baja California.
  2. O'odham peoples, including the Akimel O'odham and Tohono O'odham. They inhabit Southern Arizona, and northern Sonora.
  3. Pueblo peoples: They inhabit the Rio Grande valley in New Mexico and areas to the west in Arizona and New Mexico.
  4. Southern Athabaskan: Apache and the Navajo peoples: Their ancestral roots trace back to Athabaskan-speaking peoples in Canada and eastern Alaska. They probably entered the southwest from the 12th to 16th centuries.[2]

See also


  1. ^ Herr, Sarah H. "The Latest Research on the Earliest Farmers." Archaeology Southwest. Vol. 23, No. 1, Winter 2009, p. 1
  2. ^ "Navajo." Encyclopædia Britannica. 10 April 2012.


  • Fagan, Brian M., "Ancient North America". London: Thames and Hudson, Ltd., 2005