The Jornada Mogollon occupied much of southern New Mexico and far west Texas for thousands of years. With the Anasazi and the Hohokam, the Mogollon are one of three native prehistoric cultures and is the largest, spanning 400 miles east-west and 500 miles north-south. Various Mogollon branches have been defined to describe the cultural variation across such an immense area including the Jornada Mogollon, the branch farthest to the east and the group attributed to the Three Rivers Petroglyph site, near Carizozo. The Mimbres Mogollon are attributed to the Gila Cliff Dwellings.
Early Mogollon peoples, between roughly A.D. 400-800, lived in small pithouse villages. After A.D. 800, pithouse villages were built on an increasingly larger and more elaborate scale as agriculture became more important. By A.D. 1150, Mogollon peoples began building masonry and adobe pueblos, similar to those of the Anasazi, with increasingly concentrated populations relying heavily on agriculture. But by A.D. 1400-1500, much of the Mogollon area was depopulated and Mogollon culture ceased to exist. Most archeologists now believe that the Mogollon and Anasazi cultures were both ancestral to the Pueblo peoples first seen by Coronado in 1540.