The Coombs Site is unique in comparison to many other Ancestral Puebloan sites in the southwest. It is located near what is considered to be the border of the Ancestral Puebloan and Fremont cultures. The Fremont were a prehistoric group that occupied most of Utah during the same period as the Ancestral Puebloans. The result is a blending of traits or a prehistoric “melting pot” that is reflected in the artifacts recovered from this site, as well as in the architecture. In addition, elements from other branches of the Ancestral Puebloan have been identified here, suggesting the presence of an extensive trade network.

Who were the Anasazi?

Anasazi is a Navajo word interpreted to mean ancient enemies or enemy ancestors, but is now referred to as the ancient ones. Pueblo Indians, who also inhabited the area have various names for their ancestors. The Hopi prefer the word, Hisatsinom, for their ancestors and strongly object to the term “Anasazi”. The Hopi prefer not to call anyone enemy. What the Anasazi called themselves will probably never be known. More recently, the term Ancestral Pueblo is used, which suggests common ties with modern Pueblos. Although Ancestral Pueblo is probably more accurate and becoming more preferred. The term Anasazi has been used for many decades, and is still generally accepted. It refers to village dwelling farmers who existed on the Colorado Plateau between A.D. 1 and 1300. Most of the sites were left after A.D. 1300, but a few continued to flourish, Hopi, Zuni, and Acoma to the west, and eastern Pueblo villages along the Rio Grande River.

Ancestral Puebloans were likely the descendants of an Archaic Desert culture known as the Basketmaker cultures. Some archeologists claim they may have migrated from Mesoamerica. They eventually cultivated crops, and the primary products were corn, beans, squash, and cotton. They domesticated the turkey, and continued to gather wild plant foods and hunt game in order to supplement their diet.

The Ancestral Puebloans are known for their extraordinary building techniques. From pit houses to multi-storied cliff dwellings, these structures remain as a tribute to their outstanding architectural abilities. The Ancestral Puebloans were also highly skilled potters. Beautifully decorated pots, bowls, ladles, mugs, and other elaborate ceramic objects have been found in sites throughout the region.