A Dance with Dragons

Author(s): Dylan Person

Year: 2017


What is the relationship between culture and the things that humans create? How do our beliefs affect what we make and how do these creations affect us in turn? This issue is investigated through study of horned water serpent iconography, imagery that is both ethnographically and archaeologically documented as ritually significant in the Southwestern United States. This case study focuses on Cottonwood Spring Pueblo, a large aggregated settlement in the Jornada Mogollon culture branch. Salado polychrome pottery is used in the analysis due to its presence at the site, as well as the site’s location on the far edge of Salado polychrome’s geographic distribution. This supports conceptions of Cottonwood Spring as place where different social and ritual practices were a part of its aggregated community. The study uses the principles of behavioral archaeology to examine how objects existed in flows of communication that facilitated community integration and acceptance of religious practice. Communication process modeling provides a way for archaeologists to derive communicative meaning for ritual imagery through the process of logical inference. The analysis explores how materiality and art can influence human behavior in ritual practice and provides methods for obtaining such information from the archaeological record.

Cite this Record

A Dance with Dragons. Dylan Person. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 428908)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16647