Obsidian Procurement Strategies at the Harris Site


The Harris Site is a large pithouse village in the Mimbres Valley of southwestern New Mexico. Many of the twenty structures (recently excavated) are organized into five discrete clusters that have been interpreted as the remains of extended family corporate groups. Some of these groups apparently had more wealth and social power, and these differences may be tied to both land tenure and ritual sponsorship. We use obsidian provenance data to explore differences in obsidian procurement strategies between households at the Harris Site. All obsidian artifacts excavated during the eight field seasons of UNLV-sponsored fieldwork at the site have been subjected to X-ray fluorescence analysis at the MURR Archaeometry Laboratory. This assemblage of nearly 2500 artifacts represents the largest known study from a single site in the Southwest. The assemblage includes primarily obsidian from Mule Creek, but it also most other known sources in New Mexico and eastern Arizona and a still unknown minor source. Many of these artifacts are from dated contexts that allow the examination of patterns of obsidian procurement through time as well as within households and household clusters. These data can further illuminate social relationships and access to obsidian by households at the Harris Site.

Cite this Record

Obsidian Procurement Strategies at the Harris Site. Jeffrey Ferguson, Barbara Roth, Katelynn DiBenedetto. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404465)

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Spatial Coverage

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