Toward Common Ground: Racing as an Integrative Strategy in Prehistoric Central Arizona

Part of the Legacies on the Landscape project

Author(s): Will Russell; Hoski Schaafsma; Katherine Spielmann

Year: 2011


Throughout the Southwestern United States and Mesoamerica, indigenous peoples have used running and racing as means of religious expression, environmental control, personal sacrifi ce, and community cohesion. In such contexts , the physical location of racing w as often unimportant, and manufactured facilities were relatively rare. In the Perry Mesa region of Central Arizona, ho wever, constructed racetracks were highly formalized and elaborated. Along with their associated plazas, they represent the only recognized form of communal architecture on Perry Mesa. We study these features with the goal of better understanding the behaviors and beliefs of the people who liv ed along the Middle Agua Fria and Verde rivers prehistorically and how their communities fi t into the surrounding social landscape. Our data suggest that rapid aggregation from disparate origins led to the abdication of dissimilar ritual architecture and a subsequent focus on racing and feasting, ritual activities probably familiar to each group. We argue that concentration on shared ritual and the avoidance of dissimilarity allowed for the emergence of a new identity in a time of dramatic social change

Cite this Record

Toward Common Ground: Racing as an Integrative Strategy in Prehistoric Central Arizona. Will Russell, Hoski Schaafsma, Katherine Spielmann. Kiva. 76 (4): 377-411. 2011 ( tDAR id: 406186) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8K64KXR

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: 1200 to 1450

Spatial Coverage

min long: -112.162; min lat: 34.079 ; max long: -111.907; max lat: 34.296 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contributor(s): Arizona State University, Department of Anthropology

Landowner(s): Bureau of Land Management

File Information

  Name Size Creation Date Date Uploaded Access
Russell-et-al-2011.pdf 388.98kb Jul 17, 2016 6:29:17 PM Public