under construction and concept testing
This series of pages is a look at what we think we know
about the lives of an ancient people in order to draw lessons
about life, ethics, and policy in the modern organization.
argue elsewhere, human beings
are evolving members of an evolving world. Not being the
end of all creation, we bring with us genes and memes of
the past and face a future for those that follow us that
we can only influence, at best. We expect to confirm that
organizations have universal problems to identify and solve,
but that there have been few universal definitions and solutions
to such problems.
This integration of what we think we know about the Anasazi
experience is accomplished through the framework
for assessing organizational ethics and compliance programs
developed elsewhere in this Site. Taking this approach is
limited, of course, by the data available to flesh out the
concentrate, for now, on the Anasazi (coming to be referred
to as "Ancestral Puebloans"), native Americans
who lived in the greater Four Corners area of the United
States from approximately 6,000
B.C. to 1350 A.D., where they then merged with large,
plaza-oriented pueblos in the Rio Grande and western Pueblo
areas. There will not be interviews, focus groups, and surveys
of Anasazi Puebloans. Nor will there be document review
beyond the pictographs, petroglyphs, and pottery they left
behind. There will, however, be much value gained from site
visits, inspecting and reflecting upon the villages and
ruins left behind.
series itself evolves, we will include, interpret and integrate
photos from Anasazi ruins such as Keet
Seel (pictured above), Chaco Canyon, Salmon
Ruin, Aztec, Mesa Verde (both NPS and Mountain Ute),
Hovenweep (including its outliers),
Cedar Mesa (especially Grand Gulch), and Bandelier as well
as other, less well-known Anasazi and modern Pueblo villages
Context. First and foremost, the organizational
context of the Anasazi was their environment. They were
one of the people of mesa tops and canyons of the rugged,
arid greater Four Corners area of the United States. Mesa
Verde and Cedar Mesa (opposite) are two of the famous concentrations
of Anasazi known by their association with mesas, initially
and especially the mesa tops and the verdant side canyons
off of them.
Culture. The Anasazi were ingenious,
though constrained by their environment or "organizational
context," as are all organizations. If you look closely
at the photo detail of Keet
Seel at left, note the keyhole-shaped
kiva in the middle and relatively crude construction
of the rooms on the right along the street, but the ingenious
retaining wall that supports the streets and the rooms on
the left. In
talks with one archeologist, he points to the lack of easily
shapeable sandstone for the relatively crude Kayenta construction.
Certainly the size of Keet Seel (possibly the largest residential
Pueblo), the ingenuity of its retaining wall, and other
unique innovations, such as the elbow deflector system (below
right), point to sophisticated engineering techniques and
photo opposite is instructive. Note the relatively crude
construction, probably a reflection of both culture and
construction materials available. Deflectors are generally
associated with kiva design, but the amount of smoke and
t-shaped door suggest this was a dwelling unit. At least
according to one Park Ranger, this is the only example remaining
of an Anasazi elbow shaped deflector.
particularly intriguing that Keet Seel was constructed in
stages as new family groupings or clans arrived independently.
Construction dates and the number of kivas at Keet Seel
point to the acceptance of news groups into the village.
The amount of presumably cooperative social action to lay
the foundations, receive new comers, and maintain the whole
might serve as a powerful example of organizational action,
if we learn more.
Framework/Organizational Worldview. This Keet Seel experience
was perhaps a more intense example of the very normal pattern
of Anasazi family groups occupying and adapting previously
constructed and abandoned pueblos. My favorite example is
Salmon Ruin, where families journeyed 60 miles northeast
from Chaco Canyon to build an outlier on the style of Pueblo
Bonito between A.D. 1088 and 1094. They then abandoned the
pueblo two to three generations later. It stood empty of
human habitation for some 50 years until families from Mesa
Verde reoccupied it temporarily and adapted it. The kiva
above left is a classic example of this adaptation process.
If one looks closely at its
construction, one will see that it is a circular kiva, Mesa
Verde-style, built within a rectangular room on the Pueblo
Bonito style. It was decorated with murals, which were removed
support for importance of the circle in human society. This
tower kiva, a spiritual center of Anasazi life (a great
kiva is just visible in the background), is located at Salmon
Ruins, Bloomfield, NM. It has a particularly poignant story
is evidence of a tremendous fire that started in the wood
and fiber roof of an adjacent room. When excavators reached
this kiva, a tower kiva, they found to the skeletal remains
of 42 children and one adult female. They hypothesize that
she fled with the children in her care to the top of the
two story tower kiva to avoid the fire, only to have it
burn as well. She and the children were buried together
when the kiva's roof collapsed below them.
a much earlier era, the Arcahic in Cedar Mesa, another,
more intimate tragedy is portrayed in the image opposite
of a breech birth.This culture is described in detail below
from the Cedar
Mesa Project Web site.
earliest known documented inhabitants of the Cedar
Mesa area in Southeastern Utah were the "Archaic,"
a highly mobile, low-density hunting and gathering
culture, which depended on wild animals and plants,
probably exploiting resources through seasonal movement
using open campsites and natural shelters. Recent
research indicates that they were moving through
the area from B.C. 6500 to B.C. 1500. Excavations
at Old Man Cave on the northeast edge of Cedar Mesa
substantiate these early dates (Geib and Davidson
1994:191-202). Members of this culture made stemmed
projectile points for atlatl weapons and ground
stone tools. More than 250 elements of abstract
polychrome rock paintings found at the Green
Mask site in Grand Gulch are attributed to the
archaic period (Cole 1993:198-201)."
the Archaic Period, there was a substantial increase
in population during the Basketmaker II Period (B.C.1500-A.D.
400). Habitation sites, alcoves for camping, burials,
and rock art, were located near arable land used for
flood plain or dryland farming (maize and squash) and
close to areas with a high diversity of wild foods (Lipe
1993:1-10). Caves were used for camping, storage, burials,
and rock art imagery. The San Juan Anthropomorphic style
pictographs and petroglyphs, large figures often with
elaborate headdresses and/or necklaces and other body
decoration can be attributed to Basketmaker II time
(Cole 1993:201-218). Research suggests that during the
late Basketmaker II period, (A.D. 50-400) small populations
lived in egalitarian communities with an informal social
organization. Pottery was not used during this period.
The composite dart and the atlatl (throwing stick) were
the principal weapons. The superior quality of workmanship
and design attributed to the Basketmaker II people is
remarkable and included coiled baskets, conical collecting
baskets, twined sandals, and bags."
Outcomes. Under development.
of concept test to date. We truly believe in learning
and growth in all that we do. Your comments or questions
about this site, its content, and implications are
important to us. Please drop us a line.