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Contemporary Archaeologies of the Southwest

Contemporary Archaeologies of the Southwest

William H. Walker
Kathryn R. Venzor
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 298
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  • Book Info
    Contemporary Archaeologies of the Southwest
    Book Description:

    Organized by the theme of place and place-making in the Southwest, Contemporary Archaeologies of the Southwest emphasizes the method and theory for the study of radical changes in religion, settlement patterns, and material culture associated with population migration, colonialism, and climate change during the last 1,000 years.   Chapters address place-making in Chaco Canyon, recent trends in landscape archaeology, the formation of identities, landscape boundaries, and the movement associated with these aspects of place-making. They address how interaction of peoples with objects brings landscapes to life. Representing a diverse cross section of Southwestern archaeologists, the authors of this volume push the boundaries of archaeological method and theory, building a strong foundation for future Southwest studies.   This book will be of interest to professional and academic archaeologists, as well as students working in the American Southwest.

    eISBN: 978-1-60732-091-3
    Subjects: Sociology, Archaeology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. List of Tables
    (pp. ix-xii)
  5. Introduction to Contemporary Archaeologies of the Southwest
    (pp. 1-10)
    William H. Walker and Kathryn R. Venzor

    This volume builds on papers presented at the 10th Biennial 2006 Southwest Symposium, entitled “Acts of History: Ritual, Landscape and Historical Archaeology in the U.S. Southwest and Northern Mexico,” held in Las Cruces, New Mexico, January 13–14, 2006. The symposium organizers, William H. Walker and Maria Nieves Zedeño, asked participants to focus on the role of practice theory in their theoretical and methodological considerations of ritual, history, and landscapes. The chapters submitted to this volume include studies of ancient and historical landscapes, the movement and shifting identities of past peoples, experimental archaeology, and preservation of sacred sites. They document...


    • CHAPTER 1 Materialities of Place: Ideology on the Chacoan Landscape
      (pp. 13-48)
      Ruth M. Van Dyke

      Landscape is the spatial milieu within which bodies and the social and material worlds intersect. Landscapes involve the archaeologically familiar environment of sites, features, topography, and resources, but they also have sensual and ideological dimensions. The term place emphasizes the lived experiences and meanings bound up in a particular space. In his Apache ethnography Wisdom Sits in Places, Keith Basso (1996) employed the term sense of place to describe the ways humans imbue their surroundings with memories, meanings, and aesthetic resonance. Place making—the construction of a meaningful landscape—is a sensual experience involving sight, sound, smell, emotion, and memory....

    • CHAPTER 2 Procurement and Landscape: Lithic Quarries as Places
      (pp. 49-66)
      Christine G. Ward

      Raw materials for the flaked stone artifacts found in the archaeological record are strewn across the landscape according to geologic processes of development and exposure. The reason some raw materials are selected over others, however, is often assumed to be a result of the practical and functional values we fix on those materials, such as workability or efficiency in acquisition. Obsidian, for example, has often been seen in archaeological contexts as having desirable qualities, but that desirability is often tied to economic purposes (Torrence 1986). More recently, researchers have noted aspects of the life histories of some chipped stone artifacts...

    • CHAPTER 3 The Sun Dagger Interactive Computer Graphics Model: A Digital Restoration of a Chacoan Calendrical Site
      (pp. 67-92)
      Anna Sofaer, Alan Price, James Holmlund, Joseph Nicoli and Andrew Piscitello

      In 2006 an interdisciplinary team, coordinated by the Solstice Project,¹ produced an interactive computer graphics model that precisely replicates the astronomical functioning of an ancient calendrical site, the Sun Dagger, of Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. The interactive, three-dimensional format of this digital model provides opportunities for extensive research of the structure’s light patterns, as well as its geometry and the process of its original development.

      At the Sun Dagger site, which Anna Sofaer rediscovered in 1977, three upright sandstone slabs cast precise light and shadow patterns on two spiral petroglyphs, recording the summer and winter solstices, the equinoxes, and the...

    • CHAPTER 4 The Lay of the Land: Power, Meaning, and the Social in Landscape Analysis
      (pp. 93-110)
      Maria O’Donovan

      The surge of interest in landscape within the last two decades has stemmed largely from the theoretical interests of post-processualism and Marxism. With few exceptions, archaeologists have constructed landscape as an alternative to processualist archaeology’s instrumentalist approaches to human-environment interaction (see Knapp and Ashmore 1999). The primary emphasis of landscape studies has been on meaning, symbolism, and cosmology, which represents a shift from material to ideal considerations. This development has corrected a long-held imbalance in archaeology, but we must be careful not to create new limitations by overemphasizing meaning. The material world was an equally important part of everyday life...

    • CHAPTER 5 Archaeology of the Moment: Creating Place in the Ludlow Strikers’ Colony
      (pp. 111-126)
      Michael E. Jacobson

      On April 19, 1914, the striking coal miners and their families living in the Ludlow strikers’ colony came together to celebrate Greek Easter Sunday. Union leaders and the striking families sang union songs, played baseball, and ended the day with a large community dinner (O’Neal 1971:130). Although it was a Greek holiday, few of those celebrating were Greek. The strikers represented at least twenty-one nationalities, mostly from the United States and Eastern and Southern Europe (Ludlow Report 1914:7). Despite their ethnic differences, the strikers joined together and turned a collection of canvas tents into a community. The following day, members...

    • CHAPTER 6 Sacred Landscapes, Sacred Acts: The Metaphysics of Emplaced Ritual among Northern Paiute and Hualapai Ghost Dancers
      (pp. 127-156)
      Alex K. Ruuska

      Among the Paiute and Hualapai of the Great Basin and the Colorado Plateau, ritual dance and song are ancient healing practices that continue to contribute to the creation of sacred places at unique physiographic locations within their aboriginal homelands (Carroll, Zedeño, and Stoffle 2004; Stoffle et al. 2000a; Vander 1986). From a Western perspective, each place serves as a sanctified stage upon which the cycles of death, rebirth, and regeneration are repeatedly performed and affirmed, an echo of nature and culture writ large. Generations of Numa and Newe have continually made the pilgrimage back to particular sanctified ritual places in...

    • CHAPTER 7 Fire: Accidental or Intentional? An Archaeological Toolkit for Evaluating Accident and Intent in Ancient Structural Fires
      (pp. 157-172)
      Joe Lally and A. J. Vonarx

      This chapter is intended as a primer for archaeologists interested in the interpretation of ancient structural fires. Here we introduce some fundamental principles, vocabulary, and tools used by fire investigators, engineers, and scientists and explain their significance for archaeology. We review findings of full-scale burn experiments completed by each author and discuss room-scale signatures of fire origin that may stand the test of time.

      In terms of this volume’s focus on “ritual,” this chapter may appear to some as atheoretical. We chose purposefully not to begin with reviews of ritual, warfare, landscape, social memory, termination, agency, or other theoretical approaches...


    • CHAPTER 8 Ancient Social Boundaries Inscribed on the Landscape of the Lower San Pedro Valley
      (pp. 175-196)
      Patrick D. Lyons, Jeffery J. Clark and J. Brett Hill

      In this chapter we examine evolving social boundaries marked on the landscape of the San Pedro River Valley of southeastern Arizona (figure 8.1) between AD 750 and 1450. Using both archaeological and ethnographic data, we present a model of identities in flux, and changing relationships between social groups and key resources, as two waves of immigrants established themselves in the valley and interacted with locals.

      Social boundaries can be marked in myriad ways (Barth 1998 [1969]; Eriksen 1991; Jenkins 1996, 1997; Kroskrity 1993; Ningsheng 1989). Here we focus on monuments (Adler and Wilshusen 1990; Bradley 1993, 1998, 2000; Criado 1995:199;...

    • CHAPTER 9 El Morro Valley as Crossroads, El Morro Valley as Gathering Place: Understanding the Social Landscape of the Eastern Cibola Region through the Archaeological and Historical Record
      (pp. 197-212)
      Gregson Schachner

      Archaeological, ethnographic, and historical research conducted in the Cibola region over the past 130 years has provided an excellent view of the development of social and cultural landscapes. The first anthropologists working in the area were among the earliest to recognize the vital importance of distant places for maintaining Native American subsistence practices, religion, and historical traditions (Cushing 1896; Stevenson 1904). More recently, research conducted by archaeologists and historians in consultation with the Zuni Tribe has been influential in contemporary approaches to landscapes of the ancient Puebloan past (Ferguson and Anyon 2001; Ferguson and Hart 1985). This research has highlighted...

    • CHAPTER 10 Social Identity and Memory: Interactions between Apaches and Mormons on a Frontier Landscape
      (pp. 213-226)
      Lauren Jelinek

      Using documentary evidence, oral traditions, and archaeological remains, in this chapter I examine a brief period of interaction between the White Mountain Apache and Mormon colonists in the Forestdale Valley of Arizona. Archaeological evidence and oral traditions support the claim that Apache people reoccupied the homes of the Mormon colonists after their expulsion. This may have been a symbolic as well as a practical act. Shortly thereafter the settlement was burned, resulting in the erasure of the physical evidence of a Mormon occupation. The complexities of Forestdale as a symbol to both groups are revealed through the interplay of social...

    • CHAPTER 11 Landscape Use at San Agustín
      (pp. 227-244)
      Barnet Pavao-Zuckerman

      The concept of “landscape” is difficult to define, even for landscape historians such as John Brinckerhoff Jackson. Archaeologists have done little better. The application of the landscape concept in archaeology is extraordinarily diverse: from simple one-to-one replacement for “environment” to the study of ritual and symbolic landscapes. Regardless of where individual researchers fall along this spectrum, however, archaeologists tend to recognize that the concept encompasses not only the physical environment but also the relationship between humans and the natural world.

      Archaeologists’ attraction to landscape as an interpretive framework lies in its conceptual integration of the material and meaningful. Meanings and...

    • CHAPTER 12 Ephemeral Sites and Inertia along El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro: Evidence from Nearly Two Decades of Archaeological Research
      (pp. 245-260)
      Edward Staski

      The Camino Real was the first truly long-distance route European colonialists established in the Western Hemisphere. It extended 1,600 miles—from near Mexico City to near Santa Fe, New Mexico—and was officially in use for about 300 years, from AD 1598 (when Don Juan de Oñate established its northern extension) until approximately AD 1880 (when its utility was diminished by the construction of the railroad). The Camino Real was important and has historical significance today because it brought into contact people with extraordinarily different cultural traditions. The linkage of these diverse cultures had a profound impact on the way...

    • CHAPTER 13 Investigating Differential Persistence of Pueblo Population: A Landscape Approach
      (pp. 261-290)
      Ann F. Ramenofsky, Michael K. Church and Jeremy Kulisheck

      Recent archaeological study of Native American demographic change since European conquest has focused almost exclusively on the question of catastrophic decline. Since the mid-twentieth century, however, Native Americans have shown unprecedented growth. This trend, in turn, suggests that differential persistence more accurately describes Native American demographic history than does catastrophic decline. Here we examine the question of differential persistence in New Mexico from the late pre-Spanish era through the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. We advocate a landscape methodology for the investigation of this problem. Using small and large settlements, we show that comparing large and small site distributions through time...

  8. Index
    (pp. 291-298)