The Authors are basically concern with the process through which the people of the Grasshopper Pueblo region of Arizona became full time farmers together with other related factors that enhance the people and the ecology adaptation to the environment around them. The landscape is what provides the best evidence for the past relations of the people and the environment. The authors begin by first looking at the modern environment around Grasshopper Pueblo and how the early environment may have been different from the current environment.
The Grasshopper plateau is a flat uplifted plateau that has very diversified landforms and this indicates that there were a variety of animals and plants in the plateau. These animals and plants provided the people of Grasshopper with food, fuel and construction materials. The pines that are found in the area are assumed to have provided the people of this area with straight timber that they used to roof their houses. This information is not based on excavated archeological evidence but it is as a result of observations made in the environment of this region.
Archeologists find it hard to describe how the people of this region spent their everyday life but with careful study of the artifacts and interpreting their lives according to sociology, ecology and ideology would provide information on how the people of this region led their everyday life. The growth of this region came at a time when there was very high rainfall and also more focus was put on agriculture. In this region most part of the year is cool but at some times the temperatures may be beyond 100 degrees.
There was a much diversified animal life in this region that was dominated by the birds which were very useful to the people who lived here. Although bears do not live in this area today it is likely that they lived here during the time when this area was occupied by the Mogollon. In the early days the Mule deer were common in this region but the white tailed deer inhabits the area today. The outcrops of limestone and sandstone provided building blocks to the people. Hematite which is abundant along the upper canyon is believed to have been used for decorating pots and other objects.
The authors base their argument on the thought that there was overexploitation of plants and animals in the early days and that all the available land was tilled but the plants, animals and the soil went back to their original conditions after the people abandoned this plateau. The people of this region were hunters as gatherers; this is because of the evidence that has been collected from the animal remains in the area. Another strategy that may have been used at the Grasshopper in the hunting of rabbits would have been the use of large nets because this is what was used by many Native Americans.
The other excavated material was plants and this indicated the diversity of the plant species that were used for various purposes in the Grasshopper region. From the excavated material it was found that the most common plants were the manzanita and juniper. Agave knives were recovered in this region which shows that the agave plant was used in the early days. The people also practiced some soil conservation measures on their land; this is evident due to the presence of stone features in the archeological sites.
There were some grinding stones that were recovered in this area showing that the people here grew corn that they used to grind after harvesting. There was also evidence for the manufacture of stone flaked tools. The presence of materials like stone, wood or bone also indicated that the people of this region fashioned their items by hand. There is evidence to show that most of the goods were imported from long distances and there were also marine shell ornaments that were found in the area. The Mogollon used pots that were made by coil and scrape to cook and also for storage purposes.
There were very many broken pottery that were recovered from this region and this shows that the people used this vessels regularly although they had a very high rate of breakage. Emil Haury excavated evidence at the Canyon Creek which indicated that there was a variety of basketry in the early days that were made from bear grass. The people of this region were also weavers and spinners according to the evidence that was found at the Canyon Creek; among the evidence was a woven basket with cotton fibers.
There was evidence to show that the people of this region had dental problems due to the dental carries and tooth loss that were found on the excavated evidence. There was also poor nutrition due to the evidence that was recovered from the excavated burials. Archeologists have also studied the sociology of the people of Grasshopper and they have tried to understand the social relationships that existed in this region by studying the excavated materials. They look at the building blocks of the society and the relationships that held the society together in this region.
For the archeologists to be able to understand the society of the early people in this region they have studied three types of archeological information which are: the human biology, artifacts collected from living surfaces and the mortuary practices. The cradles found at the Canyon Creek suggests that babies were placed in cradles of different sizes depending on their ages until they could start toddling. It was suspected that the people of this region married at a younger stage because most of the people did not live more than forty years.
The people here hardly got to 5 feet and 7 inches tall because of the poor diet that they fed on and the serious illnesses that they suffered from. There was evidence that indicated that the men were buried with the quivers of tipped arrows. Evidence from the mortuary treatments indicates that the older people were given more respect. The artifacts that were recovered from the buried people indicated that the men had more skills than the women. There was evidence that shown more women died than men in this region but the archeologists could not find any reason as to why this was the case.
The people of Grasshopper lived in houses that had rooms. The rooms were divided vertically and each type of room had a particular function or a number of functions. The archeologists found six major types of rooms that were used by the early people of the Grasshopper region; specialized habitation rooms, generalized habitation rooms, the storage rooms, storage-manufacturing rooms, ritual rooms and the manufacturing rooms. There were categories of households that were identified depending on their sizes; the large households occupied more than two rooms.
The people of this region also had open air work areas that were either the outdoor activity areas or the plazas. There were ovens and large roasting pits found as evidence and this indicated that the people used to prepare large amounts of food. Another source of information that the authors have used apart from the excavated material is the analysis of the bones that was carried out by Joseph Ezzo, the results shown that the people who lived in the three room blocks enjoyed a different diet from the others.
The researchers also found out that three different ethnic groups used to live at Grasshopper. Most of the Anasazi are believed to have been living on the villages that were on the East side. The authors cannot clearly identify the kinship groups of the early people of Grasshopper but they are sure that the kinship groups were the building blocks of the people of this region. The people of Grasshopper practiced religion and ritual activities to a very high degree; this can be seen from the evidence of sacred places that the archeologists found in the region.
There were five types of sacred places that were found in this region; protokivas, kivas, ceremonial rooms, great kiva and plazas. The people also had a room that they used to store and manufacture ritual items. About half of the men belonged to ceremonial societies that formed the bases for the social organization in this region. The archeologists identified four ceremonial societies based on the evidence that they collected from the burial sites; people were buried with different accompaniments depending on their ceremonial societies.
There was no evidence to show how the leadership was given to an individual in the Grasshopper community but the authors suggest that it may have been given to an individual who demonstrated a lot of skills in the performance of the rituals, economic and social activities. The art of the people was found on the remains of the ceramics which shows that they had very many decorated ceramics. The decorated pottery and small jars were made with an aim of being used in rituals because they were found in a mortuary context (Jefferson and Stephanie, pp 70-110, 18-22).
In conclusion, the interpretation of the evidence found in this region is quite appropriate because the authors have used different sources of information to come up with the final conclusions about the lives of the early people of Grasshopper region. The interpretation made can also be considered as appropriate because of the link that exists between the early inhabitants and their neighboring communities.
An example of the interpretations used here is in the identification of categories of households; where they were identified by the activities that were carried out in each room and also by the number of rooms that the households occupied. The different in sizes of the household was used as an interpretation of the rich, young or the old families. WORD COUNT 1,633 WORDS WORKS CITED Jefferson Reid and Stephanie Whittlesey, Grasshopper Pueblo: A story of Archaeology and Ancient life, Tucson, University of Arizona press, July 1, 1999.
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