Wukoki, pictured here, is part of
the Wupatki National Monument,
and is probably a related pueblo.
It originally held perhaps 3 or 4
Anasazi Culture History and Wukoki Ruin
"Anasazi" is a Navaho word that means "ancient ones". Anasazi culture dates from
approximately 2500 BC and represents a local development out of the earlier Desert Culture of
the American Southwest. Two other cultures, the Hohokam and Mogollon, also developed out
of the Desert Culture. The Anasazi are known for their Basketmaker I, II, III, and Pueblo I, II, and
III traditions. Pottery appears in Basketmaker III from around 450 to 700 AD.
The Anasazi were making a transition from Gathering/Hunting to Agriculture around this time,
and the sites are indicative of the transition to semi-sedentary life and incipient agriculture.
Pueblo I, II, and III cultures develop out of the Basketmaker traditions and mark periods of
village life, transitions from pit houses and subterranean dwellings to surface dwellings,
communal structures, central plazas, and larger population centers such as Mesa Verde,
Chaco Canyon, and Wupatki.
Wukoki ruin, pictured here, originates in Pueblo III, from 1100 to 1300 AD. It probably housed 3
to 4 large families at its period of greatest success, and likely represents a return to smaller
communities from the larger ones due to protracted periods of drought and subsequent
environmental decline. During this time, families dispersed from the larger communal
structures to smaller communities where less food needed to be grown to sustain the local
The site is not far from the larger ceremonial center known as Wupatki, and while each of them
is certainly worth visiting, Wukoki is -- in my opinion -- a spiritual experience. If you have a digital
camera and can take photos of 4 megapixels and above, zoom in on the ruin well past the point
where clarity ends and see for yourself.