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I have seen various history textbooks use the term "Ancestral Puebloans" in referring to the a group who lived in the American Southwest prior to circa 1500.

Most books say hese people dispersed and relocated to various newer settlements, such as Hopi, Zuni, Acoma, where many live to this day, with a collective title of "Puebloans".

When referring to other cultures, I haven't seen one attach "Ancestral" to the beginning. For instance, if studying Japan's history, I haven't seen books use the word "Ancestral Japanese".

So why do scholars affix the word "Ancestral" when referring to Puebloans prior to 1500?

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This culture was distinct from modern Pueblo cultures in many respects, and in particular, was found in many ares where it no longer persists.

For a long period, this culture was known as the "Anasazi" culture, as noted in the Wikipedia article. This name was given them by the Navaho -- and means "ancient enemies." It was altered because the Puebloans did not like "Anasazi," but called "Ancestral" to mark out the differences.

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