OASISAMERICA is a term used by some scholars, primarily Mexican
anthropologists , for the broad cultural area defining pre-Columbian
As opposed to their nomadic Aridoamerican neighbors, the Oasisamericans primarily had agricultural societies.
* 1 Geography
* 2 Characteristics of the Oasisamerican cultures
* 2.1 Cultural development
* 3 Cultural areas
* 3.1 Ancestral Pueblo * 3.2 Hohokam * 3.3 Mogollon * 3.4 Fremont * 3.5 Pataya
* 4 See also * 5 Notes * 6 References
The term "Oasisamerica" is derived from a combination of the terms
"oasis " and "America ". It refers to a wild land dominated by the
Rocky Mountains and the
Sierra Madre Occidental
Despite being a basically dry land,
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE OASISAMERICAN CULTURES
The story of the origins of the cultural superarea of Mesoamerica takes place some 2000 years after the separation of Mesoamerica and Aridoamerica . Some of the Aridoamerican communities farmed as a complement to their hunter-gatherer economy. Those communities, among whom one finds adherents to the Desert Tradition , later would become more truly agricultural and form Oasisamerica.
Based on maize remnants found in Bat Cave, Arizona, it appears that
agriculture practices date back to at least 3500 BC. Given that the
oldest traces of maize in
At least three hypotheses have been proposed to explain the birth of the cultures of Oasisamerica. One, an endogenous model, posits an independent cultural development whose roots lie deep in antiquity. From this point of view, thanks to a superior climate, the ancient desert communities would have been able to develop agriculture much as the Mesoamericans did.
A second hypothesis presupposes that the nomads of the Mesoamerican culture slowly moved northward over time. Thus, the Oasisamericans would be an offshoot of their neighbors to the south. In this view, the development of the Oasisamerican cultures, much like the northern Mesoamerican cultures, began with a group of outsiders who were closely tied to the local original inhabitants of western Mexico.
There are many indications of a close relationship between the two
great cultural regions of North America. For one, the turquoise that
the Mesoamericans prized so dearly came almost exclusively from
The area encompassed by
Ceramic bowl from
Ancestral Pueblo cultures flourished in the region currently known as the Four Corners . The territory was covered by juniper forests which the ancient peoples learned to exploit for their own needs, since foraging among the other vegetation only sufficed for half of the year, only to fail from November to April. The Ancestral Pueblo society is one of the most complex to be found in Oasisamerica, and they are assumed to be the ancestors of the modern Pueblo people (including the Zuñi and Hopi ). (The term "Anasazi" is also used to describe these cultures. It is a Navajo term meaning "enemy ancestors"; its neutrality should thus not be blindly assumed.)
The Ancestral Pueblo is considered to be the most intensely studied
Pre-Columbian culture in the United States. Archaeological
investigation has established a sequence of cultural development that
began before the first century BC and extended to 1540 AD when the
Pueblo Indians were subjugated by the Spanish Crown . This long period
encompasses the Basketmaker I , II , and III phases followed by the
Pueblo I , II , III , and IV phases. In the Basketmaker II phase, the
Ancestral Pueblo took up residence in caves and rocky shelters, and in
Basketmaker III Era
The Pueblo period begins with the development of ceramics . The most prominent feature of these ceramics is the predominance of pieces of a white or red color with black designs. During the Pueblo I phase (750–900 AD), the Ancestral Pueblo developed their first irrigation systems, and their former subterranean habitations were slowly replaced by houses constructed of masonry . Pueblo II (900–1150) is defined by the construction of great works of architecture, including multi-family, multi-story dwellings. The following phase of Pueblo III (1150–1350) witnessed the greatest expansion of Ancestral Pueblo agriculture as well as the construction of large regional communication networks that would persist until the Pueblo IV Era . In Pueblo IV (1350–1600), much of the earlier society disintegrated along with the communication networks. A Hopi woman dressing the hair of an unmarried girl.
The reasons underpinning the decline of the Ancestral Pueblo remain somewhat of a mystery. The phenomenon is thought to be associated with a prolonged drought that befell the region from 1276 to 1299. When the Europeans arrived at the Ancestral Pueblo region, it was populated by the Pueblo Indians, a group without a unified ethnicity. The Zuni had no apparent relatives; the Hopi spoke an Uto-Aztecan language; the Tewas and Tiwas were Tanoanos and the Navajo were Athabaskans .
The religion of the Pueblo Indians was based upon the worship of plant-like deities and the fertility of the earth. They believed that supernatural beings called the kachina had come to the surface of the earth from the sipapu (center of the earth) at the moment of the creation of the human race. Worship in Pueblo societies was organized by secret all-male groups that met in kivas. The members of these secret societies claimed to represent the kachina.
Hohokam occupied the desert-like lands of
The principal settlements of the
Hohokam culture were
Casa Grande , Red Mountain, and Pueblo de los Muertos, all of which
are to be found in modern-day
Archaeologists dispute the origins and ethnic identity of the Hohokam culture. Some hold that the culture developed endogenously (without outside influence), pointing to Snaketown which had its origins in the fourth century BC. Others believe the culture to be a product of migration from Mesoamerica . In defense of this line of thought, proponents point to the fact that Hohokam ceramics appeared in 300 BC. (also the time of Snaketown's founding), and that before this time, there was no indication of an independent regional development of ceramics. Along the same line of reasoning, several other technological advances like the canal works and certain cultural phenomena like cremation seem to have originated in western Mesoamerica.
The development of the Hohokam culture is divided into four periods: Pioneer (300 BC – 550 AD), Colonial (550–900 AD), Sedentary (900–1100 AD), and Classical (1100–1450 AD). The Pioneer period commenced with the construction of the canal works. In the Colonial period, ties were strengthened with Mesoamerica . Proof of this can be found in the recovery of copper bells, pyrite mirrors, and the construction of ball courts. The relations with Mesoamerica and the presence of such traded goods indicate that by the Colonial period the Hohokam had already become organized into chiefdoms. Relations with Mesoamerica would diminish in the following period, and the Hohokam turned to construct multi-story buildings like Casa Grande.
By the time the Europeans arrived in the
The Mogollon was a cultural area of
Mesoamerica that extended from
the foothills of the
Sierra Madre Occidental
In contrast to their Hohokam and Ancestral Pueblo neighbors to the north, the Mogollons usually buried their dead. The culture's graves often included ceramic art and semiprecious stones. Because the Mogollon burial sites displayed such wealth, they were often looted by grave robbers who sought to sell their spoils on the archaeological black market.
Perhaps the most impressive Mogollon ceramic tradition was to be found in the valley of the Mimbres River in New Mexico. The ceramic production of this region became most developed between the eighth and twelfth centuries. It was characterized by white pieces decorated with stylized representations of daily life in the community that created them. This was a very exceptional approach in a cultural area whose pottery was otherwise dominated by geometric patterns.
As another contrast with the Hohokam and Ancestral Pueblo, there is no widely accepted chronology for the development of the Mogollon culture. The scholars Alfredo López Austin and Leonardo López Luján , for their historical analysis of the region, borrowed a chronology proposed earlier by Paul Martin, who himself divided Mogollon history into two general periods; the "Early" period runs from 500 BC. until 1000 AD, and the "Late" period begins in the eleventh and goes to the sixteenth century.
The first period featured a more or less slow cultural development. Technological changes were produced very gradually, and the form of social relationships and organizational patterns remained almost static for 1500 years. During the Early period, the Mogollons lived in rocky dwellings from which they defended themselves from the incursions of their hunter neighbors. Much like the Ancestral Pueblo, the Mogollon also lived in semisubterranean abodes that often featured a kiva .
In the eleventh century, the population in the Mogollon area multiplied much more rapidly than it had in the preceding centuries. It is probably that in this period, the area benefited from trade relations with Mesoamerica , a fact that facilitated the development of agriculture and the stratification of society. It is also possible that Ancestral Pueblo influence could have grown at this time, because the Mogollon began to construct buildings of masonry, just like their northern neighbors.
Mogollon culture reached its height in the fourteenth and
fifteenth centuries. At this time, the culture's major centers grew in
population, size, and power.
Paquime , in Chihuahua , was perhaps the
largest of those. It dominated a mountainous region that contains many
archaeological sites known as casas alcantilado, outposts constructed
in hard-to-reach caves on the eastern slopes of the Sierra Madre.
Paquime traded with the heart of Mesoamerica, to which it provided
precious minerals like turquoise and cinnabar . It also controlled the
trade of certain products from the coasts of the
Gulf of California ,
The decline of the main centers of Mogollon power began in the
thirteenth century, even before the apex of Paquime. By the fifteenth
century, a large part of the region had become abandoned by its former
inhabitants. The people of the
Mimbres River emigrated and eventually
settled in present-day
Coahuila . It is supposed that the Taracahitas
(including the Yaquis , Mayos , Opatas , and Tarahumaras ) that
currently live in northeastern
Main article: Fremont culture
The Fremont area covered a large part of modern-day
A second hypothesis suggests that the Fremont culture may have been derived from buffalo -hunting societies, probably from a culture of Athabaskan origin. As time passed, the foreign culture would have adopted the culture of their southern neighbors. In both this theory and the aforementioned, there is a justification for the less-complex development in Fremont as opposed to other regions of Oasisamerica because of their more suitable climates for agriculture.
The decay of the Fremont culture began as early as the second half of the 10th century and was completed in the 14th century. Upon the Spaniards' arrival, the region was occupied by the Shoshones , an Uto-Aztecan group.
Main article: Patayan
Patayan area occupies the western part of Oasisamerica. It
comprises the modern-day states of
Mesa Verde *
Montezuma's castle *
* ^ Danna A. Levin Rojo, Return to Aztlan: Indians, Spaniards, and the Invention of Nuevo México ( University of Oklahoma Press , 2014), ISBN 978-0806145617 , pp. 50ff. Excerpts available at Google Books . * ^ Lopez Austin and López Luján 28–29 * ^ Culture e religioni indigene in America centrale e meridionale, By Lawrence Eugene Sullivan * ^ The essence of anthropology, by William A. Haviland, Harald E. L. Prins, Dana Walrath, Bunny McBride * ^ Mexico's Indigenous Past, By Alfredo López Austin, Leonardo López Luján, Bernard R. Ortiz De Montellano * ^ Lopez Austin and Lopez Lujan 29 * ^ Archaeology of prehistoric native America: an encyclopedia, By Guy E. Gibbon, Kenneth M. Ames * ^ World Regional Geography By Joseph J. Hobbs, Andrew Dolan * ^ Case studies in environmental archaeology, by Elizabeth Jean Reitz, C. Margaret Scarry, Sylvia J. Scudder
* Alfredo Lopez Austin; Leonardo Lopez Lujan (2005). Mexico\'s Indigenous Past. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 978-08061-3723-0 . Retrieved November 20, 2015.
* v * t * e
Periods Lithic Archaic Formative Classic Post-Classic
* Adena * Alachua * Ancient Pueblo (Anasazi) * Baytown * Belle Glade * Buttermilk Creek Complex * Caborn-Welborn * Calf Creek * Caloosahatchee * Clovis * Coles Creek * Comondú * Deptford * Folsom * Fort Ancient * Fort Walton * Fremont * Glacial Kame * Glades * Hohokam
* La Jolla * Las Palmas * Leon-Jefferson
* Old Cordilleran
* Red Ocher
* Santa Rosa-Swift Creek
* St. Johns