Where Did the Anasazi Go?
The Anasazi people lived for thousands of years in the American Southwest. About twelve hundred years ago, they mysteriously abandoned many of their towns.
Maybe towards the end of the 13th century, some cataclysmic event forced the Anasazi to flee those cliff houses and their homeland and to move south and east toward the Rio Grande and the Little Colorado River.
Today’s Pueblo Indians have oral histories about their people’s migration, but the details of these stories remain closely guarded secrets.
Within the past decade, however, archaeologists have wrung from the pristine ruins new understandings about why the Anasazi left, and the picture that emerges is dark.
What happened to these unique people has been the greatest puzzle facing archaeologists who study the ancient culture.
Suggested alternatives include: a community under the pressure of starvation or extreme social stress, dismemberment and cannibalism as religious ritual or in response to religious conflict, the influx of outsiders seeking to drive out a settled agricultural community via calculated atrocity, or an invasion of a settled region by nomadic raiders who practiced cannibalism.
Nobody knows exactly why they left, but we do know what they ate — because the Desert preserved pieces of their digestive waste called (coprolites) (When they get old and stone like).
Scientists dissolved the coprolites to free the hard parts of the food Anasazi had swallowed, which included insects and small animals like pack rats and mice (bones, fur and all). Some theories contradict each other; however researchers have to consider all possibilities.