The Rio Viejo Weaver: Burial Practices, Osteobiography, and the Early Classic Collapse

Author(s): Arion Mayes; Sarah Barber; Arthur Joyce

Year: 2015


The Early Classic (AD 250 – 500) in the lower Río Verde valley was marked by political fragmentation and significant transformations in social, political and economic relations following the collapse of a regional polity centered at Río Viejo. How the region’s inhabitants navigated these transformations remains poorly understood, although regional-scale evidence from settlement patterns and excavation indicates the abandonment of many communities and major changes in the way people engaged with uninhabited monumental spaces like the acropolis at Río Viejo.

This paper provides a micro-scale consideration of the broader social processes under way during the Early Classic in the lower Verde. Combining osteobiography with a detailed analysis of burial context and grave contents, we examine lived experience from the perspective of a single individual from the post-collapse era. This individual was an adult female who showed signs throughout her skeleton of occupational stress possibly related to weaving. She was also buried in the fill of an abandoned ritual structure with a number of grave offerings including ceramic vessels and a ceramic pendant. The juxtaposition of her physical health, burial location, and grave contents reveal the complex interplay of economic, religious, and political tensions during an era of significant social change.

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Cite this Record

The Rio Viejo Weaver: Burial Practices, Osteobiography, and the Early Classic Collapse. Sarah Barber, Arion Mayes, Arthur Joyce. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395449)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;