The Social Value of Ornaments from Pueblo Bonito and Aztec Ruin

Author(s): Hannah Mattson

Year: 2015


Ornaments are generally considered to be items of wealth, luxury, and value, and are often used as one of several indicators of social inequality. However, the value and meaning of ornaments is often assumed rather than demonstrated. Aside from power and wealth, jewelry may also relate to various aspects of social identity. It has been proposed that ornaments, turquoise, and shell may have been important symbols of status and ritual (or socially valuable goods) in Chacoan society, as they form the majority of items associated with kiva offerings in niches and under benches, floors, and pilasters. In addition, ornaments appear in burials and rooms with other distinctive and apparently valuable items. This paper explores the relationship between identity and demographic reorganization through an examination of the extent to which elements of Chacoan identity and practice, as demonstrated by the social values attributed to ornaments at Pueblo Bonito during the Chaco fluorescence, were maintained or transformed by the post-Chaco period inhabitants of Aztec Ruin. Specifically, this research identifies the physical characteristics that differentiated ornaments of varying social uses at Pueblo Bonito from A.D. 900 to 1130 and compares them to those from Aztec Ruin during the A.D. 1200s.

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Cite this Record

The Social Value of Ornaments from Pueblo Bonito and Aztec Ruin. Hannah Mattson. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395289)


Spatial Coverage

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