From roughly A.D. 550 until A.D. 1300, communities flourished in the region where Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado now meet. One of the largest was at Mesa Verde, now on the edge of the Ute Mountain Indian Reservation. Called Anasazi--""ancient ones""--by present-day Navajos, these pastoral, pueblo-dwelling people reached a peak of several thousand and then moved away, leaving cliff dwellings, pots, and the detritus of generations; who they were, where and why they went, and what became of them are mysteries, only slowly yielding to research. Drawing on sources here and abroad, Arnold provides an overview of current knowledge and speculation about the lives and culture of these early people. Aided by Hewett's detailed, beautiful color photos of sites, researchers, and artifacts, she describes their dwellings, tools, crops, and daily living patterns, carefully separating fact from speculation. Attractive and useful. Glossary; index.