Household Rituals in the Ancient Americas – from Patio Groups to Pueblos

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 80th Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA (2015)

In this session we would like to explore the role of household ritual practices in society, specifically their role in social change. We are interested in the reflexive relationship between domestic and public rituals in ancient American societies. For instance, how do rituals performed at different scales and in different contexts affect or structure socio-political relations? Archaeologists working in different regions of the Americas have approached such issues from various theoretical perspectives and employing various methodologies. They have addressed ritualization, resistance, kinship, and gender, among other anthropological themes. By bringing together a diverse group of scholars, we hope to provoke new ideas, questions, and debates about ritual activities carried out in residential contexts.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-10 of 10)

  • Documents (10)

  • Critter Caching: Animals in Household Rituals at the Maya Site of Ceibal, Guatemala (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Ashley Sharpe.

    With an occupational history spanning nearly two millennia, the Maya site of Ceibal provides a rare opportunity to study the remains of ritual practices and domestic activities at household groups over a long scale of time. This study examines the zooarchaeological remains, both bones and shells, recovered from household caches, burials, and middens from several peripheral locations around the Ceibal site epicenter. The diversity of household types and extended time frame provides an opportunity...

  • The Distribution of Articulated Animal Remains: An Analysis of Household and Community Ritual in Chaco Canyon (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Katelyn Bishop. Samantha Fladd.

    Chaco Canyon is thought to have been a regional center during the Pueblo II period. Its identity as such makes it a particularly interesting locale at which to compare the relationship between public community-based and more exclusive household-based rituals. In this paper, the nature of articulated animal remains and their deposition are examined in order to elucidate social relationships at both the community and household scale, particularly at the largest and most well-studied site, Pueblo...

  • A Good, Old-Fashioned Patio-Group Raising: Domestic Architecture as Ritual among the Classic-Period Maya (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Alyce De Carteret.

    As anthropological and archaeological scholarship attests, household ritual has a potent role in forging and maintaining sociopolitical relationships both within the household as well as with the communities, cities, and states of which it forms a part. Archaeological research in the Classic Maya area has revealed evidence of feasts, ancestor veneration, dedication and termination caches, and other ritual practices taking part within the limits of the house. The most substantial remnant of...

  • House Ritual in Chaco Canyon: Scale, Context, Emergent Differentiation and Inequality (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Emily Ditto.

    At Chaco Canyon, clear indications of social differentiation in the Pueblo world first appeared during the 9th-11th centuries. One materialization of this is the contrast between two contemporaneous architectural forms: great houses, interpreted as populous communities or largely empty centers of seasonal ritual pilgrimage, and small houses, explained as multi-family households. Since ritual artifacts have been excavated from both house categories, analyzing inter- and intra-site variation in...

  • Investigating the Development of Social Inequality through Preclassic-Period Maya Household Ritual (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Michael Callaghan. Brigitte Kovacevich.

    In this paper we will discuss how ritual activities in both emergent elite and commoner Maya households contributed to the development of social complexity and hierarchy during the Preclassic period at the site of Holtun, Guatemala. Our working hypothesis at the site is that while certain households successfully manipulated traditional ritual practices and symbols related to political and religious authority, all households would have contributed to the cultural milieu in which the dominant...

  • Issues of Function and Scale as Viewed through Possible Ritual Structures at the Late Archaic Site of Huaricanga, Peru (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Matthew Piscitelli.

    Throughout the Late Archaic Period (3000-1800 B.C.) communities along the north-central coast of Peru witnessed a dramatic increase in the material manifestations of ritual performance. During this time, the earliest monumental ceremonial architecture in South America was constructed at over 30 sites between the Huaura and Fortaleza River valleys in a region known as the Norte Chico. While considerable archaeological research has been conducted on the large-scale platform mounds and sunken...

  • Levels of Hierarchy in Northern Mexico: The Color of Ritual at Paquimé, Chihuahua, Mexico (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Abigail Holeman.

    In societies across the ancient world, incipient leadership and centralization were founded on connections to the cosmological through ancestors, origins, and other ritual practices. At Paquimé in northern Chihuahua, Mexico these ritual practices were expressed through the language of color symbolism. Color/directional symbolism is a cosmological principle that acts as a deep structure for societies in the Puebloan U.S. Southwest and Mesoamerica. Red, black, yellow, white, and blue/green...

  • Preclassic Maya Households and Ritual at the Karinel Group, Ceibal, Guatemala (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jessica MacLellan.

    Founded around 1000 B.C., the Maya site of Ceibal has yielded important insights into the development of public rituals and spaces in Preclassic Mesoamerica. Recent excavations at the Karinel Group, located just outside the ceremonial core of Ceibal, have complemented this knowledge with data from domestic contexts. By making detailed comparisons of public and household ritual practices, we seek to understand the social processes through which the community of Ceibal changed over time. Some...

  • Ritual in the "Great Household": Termination Deposits in Classic Maya Royal Residences (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Sarah Newman.

    In a certain sense, the Classic Maya royal court can be seen as an expanded, intensified household, a comparative model for which can be found in the "Great Households" of early medieval Europe and elsewhere. Closely linked to governing political structures and notable for their size, complexity, and levels of expenditure and waste, royal courts mimic the patterns of interaction that define the household as an archaeological unit, but on a grander scale. This paper examines ritual at the "Great...

  • Rooting the Kiva: The Placement of Coal in Ancestral Pueblo Construction Rituals (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Susan Ryan.

    Architectural construction is the process by which material and non-material elements and overall spatial setting are made fixed. Consideration of the ways in which physical space-defining elements function can provide insights to the ways in which space was used and understood by the occupants or builders. This study illuminates how ancestral Pueblo kiva construction rituals were integrated within Pueblo worldview concepts in the northern Southwest during the Pueblo II (A.D 1050-1150) and...