After careful research, the archaeologist has been able to reconstruct much of the past life of these Pueblo peoples. Culture periods, known as Basketmaker I, II, and III, the dates of which are undetermined, give us definite facts about a race of longheaded (dolichocephalic) men and women who populated the mesas and canyons of the Southwest. In Basketmaker I these people subsisted on game, seeds, and berries. They led a nomadic life and were sheltered by caves in the edges of the mesas. They used clubs and stone knives, and they made coiled baskets and twined and woven bags and sandals. In Basketmaker II they began to cultivate a kind of corn and a kind of squash, and to provide safe storage spaces they dug
pits in the floors of their caves. In Basketmaker III a sort of pit house was built, a shallow excavation covered with brush. Beans and several species of corn were grown and clay pottery was made. The bow and arrow appeared for the first time and feather robes replaced the previously worn robes of fur.
About the time of Christ a new race of people appeared in the North American Southwest and drove the Basketmakers from their strongholds. The bones of these direct ancestors of the Pueblo Indians are recognized by their round (brachycephalic) heads and artificially flattened skulls.
Pueblo I (ca . A.D. 1-ca . A.D. 500) saw the building of permanent houses of several rooms on the surface of the ground. The turkey was domesticated and its feathers were used in clothing. Wild cotton was cultivated, spun, and woven into cloth—an industry destined to change the material culture of the area. Pueblo II (ca . 500-ca . 900) is believed to have known the organization of a definite clan system. Each group had its own house, which consisted of a number of one-storey rooms built around a court. In this period the kiva, or subterranean ceremonial chamber, became the central element in community life. Pueblo III (ca . 900-ca . 1300) has been called the Great Period or Golden Age of the prehistoric Pueblos. The remains of large community buildings still stand as mute testimony to the group life that existed within their walls. It was the early part of this period which beheld the highest development of the cliff dwellings and the many-roomed walled towns which were built on the mesa tops and in the valleys. There was also a high development in the arts and the material crafts. Pueblo IV (ca . 1300-ca . 1700) saw the breaking up of the large centers and a migration to sites with which the present-day pueblos correspond very closely. It was in this period that the historical records of Pueblo life were begun.
In 1540 Francisco Vásquez de Coronado led an expedition of discovery and conquest into this new country from which had come rumors of
the "Seven Cities of Cíbola," fabulously rich in gold and precious stones. Instead of the great riches they expected, the Spaniards found self-sustaining communities of natives. They called these communal groups pueblos , the Spanish word for villages. Exploration and subjugation were extended from the Colorado River as far as eastern Kansas. The locations of seventy pueblos were reported; many are occupied today.
The invasion followed soon after a great drought and the two calamities hastened the disintegration of the native civilization and forced the villages to consolidate. Forty years later, in 1581, history records that a party set out under the leadership of Fray Agustín Rodríguez to convert the heathen and explore the country. At the end of two years no word had been received from these soldier-priests: they had met an untimely death at the hands of their intended converts. A small expedition under Antonio de Espejo started north to trace its predecessor. Luxán, one of the party, wrote of their arrival among the Hopi: "Hardly had we pitched camp when about one thousand Indians came, laden with maize, ears of green corn, pinole [corn meal], tamales, and firewood, and they offered it all, together with six hundred widths of blankets, small and large, white and painted, so that it was a pleasant sight to behold."
In 1598 Juan de Oñate attempted to colonize the country, and several communities of Mexican and Spanish settlers sprang up along the Rio Grande. By 1630 most of the pueblos had priests and churches. A period of suppression and of contention between civil and ecclesiastical authorities followed, and at the same time a resentment began to grow against the foreigners. The resentment flared into revolt in the Pueblo Rebellion of 1680. The result was the driving out of all Spaniards and the supremacy of native power for a period of twelve years. However, since no Pueblo Indian had the imagination to mold all the community groups into a strong nation, the rebel natives were at the mercy of the forceful and determined Don Diego de Vargas, who started north in 1692 and within a few months accomplished Spanish reoccupation.
Pueblo V (ca . 1700 to the present) finds the Indian permanently under the domination of a stronger power. Spanish rule ended in 1821, at the same time that Mexico threw off the yoke of Spain. There followed a period of trade. Santa Fe was at the western end of the covered-wagon trail and here the native Indian came into contact with commerce and the outside world. When the war between Mexico and the United States ended in 1848, the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo gave New Mexico to the latter country. As a territory belonging to a stable government, New Mexico gained peace. But what of the Indian? His free and open country has been replaced by small grants of impoverished land. The 'superior' and meddlesome white man has endeavored to arrange his life, judge his morals, and instruct him in a new civilization. Outwardly the Pueblo Indian has accepted the American's blue shirt and overalls, his canned peaches and coffee, but inwardly he remains aboriginal. The heritage of his race descends through him unmarred by the surface irritations of this 'higher' civilization. On his picturesque sites overlooking magnificent vistas of Arizona desert and New Mexican plain, he still lives a community life of peace and serenity that is his own. Or at least this has been so for a longer time than one might have hoped.