Groundstone Shrines of the Pueblo Southwest

Author(s): Samuel Duwe

Year: 2015


The Pueblos of the American Southwest define their sacred geographies by using ground boulders and bedrock shrines (cupules, slicks, grooves, and channels) to establish land tenure, reflect cosmologies and religious organization, and to record history. Based on ethnography and Pueblo collaboration we know that these places mark the remains of the deceased, act as communication nodes with the spiritual world, and delineate social boundaries. Because these landscapes (and their associated shrines) vary between different Pueblo peoples and also change through time, archaeologists are excited to record these landscapes to understand the historical development of each modern Pueblo’s religion and identity. However, similar types of features are found globally throughout history, including diverse Pueblo villages and their neighbors. How can a widespread (and seemingly common) practice of bedrock and stone grinding be used to address historical and cultural questions on a local scale? Using examples from one Pueblo people, the Tewa of northern New Mexico, I argue that archaeologists must go beyond identifying the presence/absence of certain shrine types and adopt a landscape focus that incorporates shrine morphology and the patterns, context, and association of shrine placement.

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Cite this Record

Groundstone Shrines of the Pueblo Southwest. Samuel Duwe. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395196)


Pueblo Shrines Southwest

Geographic Keywords
North America - Southwest

Spatial Coverage

min long: -115.532; min lat: 30.676 ; max long: -102.349; max lat: 42.033 ;