Ancestral Pueblo People at Aztec Ruins Early settlers mistakingly thought that people from the Aztec Empire in Mexico created these striking buildings. They named the site “Aztec,” a misnomer that persisted even after it became clear that the builders were the ancestors of many Southwestern tribes. The people who built at Aztec and other places throughout the Southwest were called “Anasazi” for many years. Archeologists had adopted a word from the Navajo language, that they understood to mean “old people,” and then popularized its use. Most Pueblo people today prefer that we use the term “ancestral Pueblo” to refer to their ancestors.
At Besh-Ba-Gowah Archaeological Park in Globe, Arizona, visitors walk through a 700 year old Salado Culture pueblo, climb ladders to second story rooms and view the typical furnishings of the era. Numerous artifacts of this remarkably advanced culture are also displayed in the Besh-Ba-Gowah Museum. Besh Ba Gowah Pueblo is located at the confluence of Pinal Creek and Ice House Canyon Wash, south of present-day Globe, Arizona. Besh-Ba-Gowah has one of the largest single site archaeological collections in the southwest and is one of the most significant finds of Southwest archaeology. It is one of the largest and most complex of the Salado communities. Archaeologists consider Besh-Ba-Gowah a ceremonial, redistribution and food storage complex. Salado Culture is identified as the cultural period from 1150 to 1450 in the Tonto Basin.
Kinishba Ruins is the remains of a village built and occupied by ancestral Pueblo people between about AD. 1250 and AD. 1400. The site is roughly seven road miles southwest of Whiteriver, the seat of government for the White Mountain Apache and the largest settlement on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation. "Kinishba" is an anglicized Apache phrase that translates to "brown house." According to Hopi elders, Kinishba may once have been called Ma'ip'ovi ("place of the snake grass").
Following the evolution of the earlier Cochise people (5500 bc to ad 500, the Mogollon were influenced by the more highly-developed Anasazi who lived to the north in the Four Corners region. This was the period during which the Gila Cliff Dwellings were occupied -- after AD 1000. The earlier pit dwellings of the Mogollon have been destroyed by nature over the centuries. However, because they have been protected from the elements, the Gila Cliff Dwellings and a few other sites have survived. The dwellings and surrounding Gila Wilderness are national treasures.