The Mysterious Disappearance of the Ancient Ones

A project to explore the Anasazi Indian culture and the mystery that surrounds their sudden departure over 700 years ago.

Dr. Mills, University of Kansas


You are with a team of archeologists that is investigating what happened to the Anasazi Indian civilization. Although this civilization did not have a written language, they left clues throughout the southwestern United States that should help you in determining their fate. The Anasazi Indians were driven to their spectacular cliff dwellings around 1250 AD because of conflict or war. The conflict theory is not fully supported by all southwest anthropologists and archaeologists. Some support the drought theory that climate change forced the Anasazi to move. There is no doubt, however, that the Anasazi were in a desperate attempt to protect their lives. Exactly why they suddenly departed the cliff dwellings in which they were living is not currently known.


What is the possible cause for departure of the Anasazi from their cliff dwelling towns and villages?

What does Anasazi mean?
Who are the descendants of the Anasazi?
When did the Anasazi civilization begin and end?
Where did the Anasazi civiliation live?
How were the Anasazi able to farm in a desert climate?
What type of buildings did the Anasazi erect?
What were the reasons for the architecture they used to build their buildings?
What was the purpose of a kiva?
What was the purpose of the petroglyphs?
What was the influence of astronomy of Anasazi life?


The Anasazi Theme Page
This website is a curriculum theme for students at Gander Academy, Gander, Newfoundland and provides numerous facts and information about the Anasazi.

Spirit of the Anasazi
This website is hosted by Granite Schools (Utah) and provides descriptions of Anasazi symbolism, cultural periods, and Anasazi pueblos and cliff dwellings.

Online Utah: Native American Indians of Utah
Locate historical, geographical, and archaeological information about the Anasazi in Utah.

Sipapu: The Anasazi Emergence into the Cyber World
A multimedia presention of the history and culture of the Anasazi can be found at this site.


Create a WebEssay with links to supporting documents and images. Your WebEssay should outline the life and times of the Anasazi Indians as well as any other aspects of Anasazi life that are interesting or important. Your WebEssay should address any the questions presented in the Task section. Your WebEssay should include any pictures, maps, and drawings that support your findings. Your answer to this inquiry should be supported by factual information.


Competency: Advanced: Intermediate: Beginner: No Attempt: Weight:
Research and information gathering A large amount of relevant information is collected, published, and used to support conclusion. Some relevant information is collected, published, and used to support conclusion. Little relevant information is collected, published, and used to support conclusion. No relevant information is collected. 30%
Comprehension and depth of understanding Resource information was thoroughly examined and interpreted correctly. Resource information was examined and mostly interpreted correctly. Some resource information was not examined and/or was misinterpreted. Basic factual information is not evident. 30%
Organization and structure Products are presented logically and are interesting and understandable. Most information is presented logically and is mostly understandable. It is hard to follow the logic of the presentation. There is no structure or organization to the presentation. 20%
Grammar and spelling There are no grammatical errors or misspellings. There are few grammatical errors or misspellings. There are many grammatical errors or misspellings. No attempt was made to correct grammatical errors or misspellings. 20%

© Copyright 2003, Steven C. Mills, University of Kansas