In the last 30 years archaelogists have decided that the cliff dwellings of the American Southwest, with their obvious defensive purpose, actually had nothing to do with warfare.
Apparently, after many centuries living in indefensible pueblos on the mesa tops, they just decided, for no particular reason, to move into the incredibly inconvenient but highly defensible cliff dwellings.
When Einstein heard of Fermi's chain reaction, he said "now everything has changed except man himself." While civilization may have reduced our tendency to commit mayhem, it has also vastly increased our capacity to pursue it if we choose to do so.
The great anthropologists like Marvin Harris (as opposed to the intellectual pygmies we find in academe today) were unafraid to tackle the issue of war in primitive societies. In Harris's 'Cannibals and Kings' he devotes a chapter to the "Origin of War". Significantly, Harris found that anthropologists had found only a handful of societies that ostensibly did not make war. However, Harris found that those usually mentioned (Andaman Islanders, Shoshoni, Yaghan of Patagonia, Tasaday of the Philippines) were really refugee cultures. He notes that warfare is as old as time, and even the famous Peking Man had his skull smashed at the base, an indication of warfare.
I live in Durango CO about 45 miles from Mesa Verde National Park. Built by the Anaszi Indians, it is, INDEED, way up there in the mountains. A twenty minute ride around and around in circles to get to the top.
I'm a printer here in Durango, and constantly print 4/c brochures and books about Mesa Verde, and Chimney Rock to the south. There is never any mention of fighting or "wars" about these ancients.
Kind of funny, isn't it, considering this article....if Mesa Verde and the Anansazi had cannons, it would be "The Guns of Navarone".
Most of the crap I print here for the touristas is just that...Crap.
In May, I visited the New American Indian Museum at the Smithsonian. There was a detailed native account of finding village after village with so many people dead of disease there weren't enough survivors to bury them in the area around present day Cape Cod.
The implication that white man brought the disease was obvious. Less obvious was the dates of the account-- all years before any white man set foot on Plymouth Rock (1620).
This account was collaborated by an associate at the North Dakota Historical Society years earlier. Because I can prove some native blood in my lineage, I have access to some sources of information ordinary white guys do not. The associate told me that human remains dating from the 15th century (late 1400's) found in North Dakota showed signs of TB, another "white man's disease" supposedly unknown at the time. In the opinion of this associate, much of the agitation to return remains to politically-connected tribes was to prevent further study.
Maybe they were getting away from pollution? Ya know...higher in the skyscraper./s