The Anasazi Tribe: Pottery, Homes, Ruins & Clothing

Instructor: Lorrine Garrison-Boyd
This lesson is designed to inform and educate readers about unique cultural characteristics of the Anasazi tribe. The Anasazi tribe lived more than 2,000 years ago, in the southwestern region of the United States known as the Four Corners.

The Anasazi Tribe

We all know Native Americans and their culture have an important place in the history of North America. One of the oldest known tribes is the Anasazi tribe. The pottery, homes, ruins and clothing of the Anasazi people provide a distinct understanding of their remarkable lifestyles. For example, you may have admired decorative items depicting southwestern art, such as colorful pottery with beautiful, intricate designs and intriguing geometric shapes. But did you realize that these items may be similar to the pottery creations of the Anasazi people?


Pottery created by the Anasazi were developed for various reasons. Some were created for trade and others for ritual practices. At times, these intricate pieces of art were designed to occupy burial places, and then in other cases, to simply provide the means for carrying out common household tasks. However, in each case, the creation is believed to have been based on tradition handed down from one generation to the next, depicting tribal customs and expressing the native skills of a particular region within the Four Corners, the southwestern region of the United States that includes Arizona, Utah, New Mexico and Colorado.


Cliff dwellers is a term commonly connected with the Anasazi tribe, mainly because their homes were actually structured to occupy the sides of cliffs. Shelters built out of rock and wood were multi-storied and included storage space, as well as an area for religious practices. The structure of these homes (often accommodating more than 100 people each) provided limited access, requiring one to climb before entering; this also prevented the unwanted attack of other tribes.

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