The Anasazi tradition is steeped in mystery and legend, for these people came, flourished, and then vanished without a trace in 1300 A.D., leaving only their magnificent cliff dwellings, some pottery shards, and pieces of bone. Scientists fiercely debate the causes of their disappearance, but it is generally agreed to correlate with a great drought around the same time and the warlike Athabascan Indians settling in. A fun little side note is that the Anasazi are found to have converted to cannibalism late in their stay in the Four Corners region.

They settled the land around the Four Corners region en masse in about 600 A.D., the first of them moving there around 1 A.D. As they expanded, they eventually absorbed the Hohokam and Mogollon cultures, which resided south of them. Cultural sophistication kept up with their expanding population: they advanced quickly, with surprisingly little outside influence, through eight distinct stages, three “basketmaker” and five “pueblo.” They were a farming people, learning to store grain and corn during bumper crops to survive during droughts.

The final cause of their disappearance is, as mentioned, still under debate. One theory suggests that the high mineral content in their water eroded their teeth to the point they could no longer eat. The cannibalism, however, gives credence to the theory of drought. It is believed that the Hopi are their descendants. No matter the reason for the Anasazis' sudden extinction, they disappeared from the region completely, leaving only the giant monuments of their cities and some remains of their artwork, such as the famous Yellow Man, to stand testament that they had ever existed at all.

The X-files

Episode: 2X25
First aired:05/19/95
Written by: Chris Carter and David Duchovny
Directed by: R. W. Goodwin

The season finale! Wow, what an episode!

After an earthquake in New Mexico, a young Native American, Eric, finds something shiny in the sand, which turns out to be a hatch. They also find a desiccated corpse that does not look human. Albert, Eric’s grandfather, says that it should be returned and that they will be coming.

Meanwhile, the Thinker, a computer hacker, breaks into the Defense Department computer system. In a series of phone calls, the Italian, Japanese, and German governments find that someone has broken into files called MJ. The German embassy calls the Cigarette Smoking Man who says he’s taken care of the problem. Hanging up, he speaks to the people in the room saying this was the phone call he never wanted to get.

Mulder is contacted by the Lone Gunmen who say they’ve been pursued by a multinational black ops unit named Garnet because of the Thinker. The j files turn out to be all the Defense Department has learned about UFOs since the 40s. Also that the Thinker wanted to meet with Mulder but the Lone Gunmen fear he is already dead. Suddenly Mulder’s neighbor shots her husband of over 30 years.

Mulder meets with the Thinker who hands him digital copies of the files. Upon examining the files, Mulder realizes that they are all in Navajo, which was used to encrypt messages during WWII.

Mulder is acting strangely, which Scully notices. Skinner tries to talk to him but Mulder punches him. Scully hears that Mulder is in danger of being dismissed and she would most likely be as well.

The Cigarette-Smoking Man visits Mulder’s father with pressing business. He tells Mr. Mulder that the documents have been breached. Mr. Mulder asks CSM if he can protect Mulder and CSM says that he’s been protected him for this long.

Scully is helped in finding a person who can read the Navajo and code.

Mulder wants to talk to X but gets a call from his father. Mr. Mulder begins to tell Mulder about his work at the State Department. He speaks of merchandise, as something that Mulder needs to find out. However, when he steps into the bathroom, he is fatally shot by Krycek.

Scully goes to talk to Mulder and walks over to the X on his window (used to summon X). She is shot from outside but luckily the bullet barely hits her forehead. Mulder calls Scully to tell her of his father’s death. They both worry that Mulder will be blamed for the death since his behavior has not been normal. Mulder reaches Scully’s apartment, sick and weakened. He wakes to find Scully and his gun gone.

Mulder is very upset with Scully and believes she thinks he killed his father.

Scully goes to Mulder’s apartment to retrieve the bullet. She finds that, when checking the plumbing, Mulder’s water has been drugged, which explains his weird behavior.

Mulder meanwhile, finds Krycek and is ready to kill him when Scully shows up and shoots Mulder to prevent him from committing murder.

Mulder awakens in New Mexico where Scully is there with Albert Hosteen, a Navajo code taker during WWII. Mulder is disoriented but Scully tells him of the drugging and he remembers that there was a murder in his building.

Scully plans to return to Washington but tells Mulder that he needs to find out what are in the MJ files. She has found that her name and Duane Barry’s name are among the recent entries having something to do with a test.

Albert mentions a tribe, the Anasazi, who disappeared 600 years ago. He thinks they were abducted. Eric, Albert’s grandson, takes Mulder to the alien corpse site. Mulder receives a call from CSM who warns him against taking things at face value and saying his father authorized the project.

Opening the hatch, Mulder finds underground compartments. He finds piles of, what appear to be alien bodies in the cars. He calls Scully from inside who’s found references in the files to Axis power scientists granted amnesty after the war to perform experiments on humans, called merchandise. On the alien bodies, Mulder notices a smallpox vaccination. He exclaims to Scully "Oh my God, Scully, what have they done?" just as the hatch is closed and the signal dies.

Above the cars, the CSM has arrived by helicopter. They search the cars but are unable to find Mulder. He sets the train on fire with Mulder, supposedly in side….

Important Quotes:
Mulder -- "Have you boys been defacing library books again.?"

Mulder -- "You know they always denied that these files even existed. What do you want from me.?"
The Thinker -- "I want the truth. And I want you to promise that those rat bastards answer to the people."

Scully -- What are you talking about.?"
Mulder -- "The biggest lie of all."
Scully -- "What is this.?"
Mulder -- "The Holy Grail. The original defense department files. Hard evidence that the government has known about the existance of extraterrestrials for over fifty years."

CSM -- "I've protected him this long, haven't I.? Your son has been provident in the alliances that he's created. The last thing we need is a martyr in a crusade."

Mr. Mulder -- "You're going to learn of things... Fox, you're going to hear the words and they'll come to make sense to you."
Mulder -- "What words.?"
Mr. Mulder -- "The merchandise."

Scully -- "Fox... My God. Look at you. You're sick."
Mulder -- "I'm okay."
Scully -- "No come on, I want you to lie down on, woah, come on I want you to lie down, let me take your coat off. "
Mulder -- "You gotta find them Scully."

Scully -- "You had a temperature of 102 last night I didn't want to wake you."
Mulder -- "What were you afraid that I was gonna shoot you too.?"
Scully -- "Mulder, I'm being called into Skinners office this afternoon, they're gonna want answers and I'd like some good ones to give them."
Mulder -- "So you can clear your conscience and your name?! You've been making reports on me since the beginning Scully, taking your little notes!"
Scully -- "Mulder you're sick, you're not thinking straight, I'm on your side. You know that."
Mulder -- "Look you have my files and you have my gun. Don't ask me for my trust."

Mulder -- "And what is the truth.?"
Albert -- "Nothing disappears without a trace."

Mulder -- "Oh my God Scully, what have they done?"

CSM -- "Nothing vanishes without a trace."

Back to The X-files: Season 2

Anasazi means "ancient enemies" or "enemies of our ancestors" in Navajo (some say that it is ancient ones). Though their population was greatest between 700 and 1350 CE, estimates indicate that they lived in the four-corners area for nearly two thousand years. It is unclear where exactly they came from, and who they are descended from. In fact, as v3rgez mentions, almost nothing is known about the Anasazi people. What little we do know comes from the ruins that they left scattered about the Southwestern United States at places such as Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde National Park. Most of what is known about them is purely theoretical, but there is good evidence for each theory. Most of the knowledge that we have is actually based off of what has been found in the excavated remains of garbage heaps that they left behind. These contain a wide variety of pottery, as well as many types of jewelry and baskets. Modern knowledge of the Anasazi is based almost entirely on these garbage piles. The dates that are associated with all of the major Anasazi events are based on dendrochronology, the study of tree rings to determine age.

Analysis of skeletons has revealed that the Anasazi were fairly short, growing to be only about 5'2" tall. They had no written language, except for a few petroglyphs. Not much is known about their day to day lifestyle, although many have speculated. We do know that they were able to weave intricate baskets and that later they learned to make pottery, based on artifacts that have been found. Their pots and baskets both had intricate patterns on them, many of which can be seen in very good condition in the museums. Unfortunately, wholesale looting of many of the larger ruins has left tragically few well preserved specimens. They created ropes by weaving together fibers from the Yucca Plant. In some of the better protected ruins, there is still plaster with red-painted patterns remaining on the walls. All of these things indicate that the Anasazi advanced technologically during their stay, although not to the level of many other groups of pre-Columbian Americans.

The Anasazi were primarily an agricultural people whose farms were located on top of the mesas that surrounded their homes. They gathered berries and pinion nuts, both of which were fairly plentiful in the area. As time wore on, they also began to hunt some small game, but they still relied most heavily on agricultural products. Trading was another component of the subsistence of the Anasazi. We know that they traded through extensive networks throughout the west, because many artifacts found contain sea shells, which clearly weren't indigenous. Because the southwest is a desert, water was a scarce resource. But obviously, any group that bases its livelihood on farming requires water. Though some drinking water was available in small streams at the bottoms of canyons, this water was difficult to get to. Instead, the Anasazi placed pots at the back of caves, where pure water would seep through the pourous rocks of the cliffs. If you visit Mesa Verde National Park, Hovenweep National Monument, Canyon de Chelly National Monument, or any of the other major ruin sites, you can see many examples.

Contrary to popular belief, the Anasazi weren't primarily cliff dwellers that comprise the most famous Anasazi ruins. In fact, many archaeologists believe that they only lived in these cliff dwellings for about 100 years of the time that they lived in the area. As with most things related to the Anasazi people, the reasons for this are a mystery. Some believe that it was to protect themselves from neighboring tribes or predatory animals, and others believe it was simply to escape the heat. But, the cliff dwellings certainly represent the apex of the Anasazi's technical achievement.

In any event, the Anasazi disappeared abrubtly and completely around 1350. Traditionally, the reason offered for this is a severe drought that must have killed either the crops or most of the people. Studies of tree rings indicate that the time was one of severe drought. But, within the past ten years or so, many people have begun to speculate that perhaps something else caused the migration, because the drought simply wouldn't have been enough. Some have suggested war, either within the tribe, or with a neighboring tribes. But, it would seem that the Anasazi were too numerous (possibly as many as 20,000) to have been defeated so quickly. Plus, whoever would have won such a war didn't stay around afterwards, which doesn't seem to make sense. Other believe that some sort of ideological change caused a mass migration. Usually, this is presumed to be some sort of religious idea that drew the Anasazi away from the four corners. The evidence for this is that none of the descendent cultures of the Anasazi seem to have no religious structures or rituals similar to those of the Anasazi. Whereas Anasazi ruins contain kivas, either above ground such as at Hovenweep or below ground, like those at Mesa Verde, the villages of their descendents contain no such structures. No trace of a distinct culture like the Anasazi exists after this time. Most scholars agree that the Anasazi probably migrated to various places, and were the ancestors to the Hopi indians, a Kachina pueblo tribe. Perhaps Kachina was the religion that brought the Anasazi away.

The Hopi oral tradition tells the story differently. They believe that they came from the center of the earth, and that they emerged near the meeting point of the Colorado River and the Little Colorado River. They were instructed by a spirit to travel in all directions, and then return. Some are said to have made it as far as the jungles of central and South America before the faithful returned to the desert. In any case, the modern Hopi language shows little influence of southern indian languages.

Obviously, we will never know what exactly happened to the Anasazi, or even very much about their lives. But it's fun to speculate. And with the huge number of small, undiscovered ruins in the southwest, it is still possible that something will be found. But they are certainly an interesting culture. Anyone interested in learning more should definitely visit one of the many monuments in the four-corners area dedicated to the ruins.

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