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The Exotic and the Sacred: Evidence for Ritual Uses of Birds and Long Distance Exchange at Chaco and Mimbres (AD 800-1200)

Author(s): Adam Watson ; Patricia Gilman ; Douglas Kennett ; Peter Whiteley ; Stephen Plog

Year: 2017

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Summary

Birds are key actors in Pueblo narratives of emergence and symbolize the six sacred directions in Pueblo cosmology and in some instances religious sodalities and societal divisions; bird feathers are powerful offerings to the supernatural, carrying prayers to the gods who in turn use them for adornment. Simply put, birds are central to modern Pueblo cosmology and social and religious life. Similarly, iconographic representations and the ritual treatment of avian species such as the Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) and Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), evident in the archaeological record of Chaco Canyon and the Mimbres region, reflect the ceremonial importance of birds to Ancestral Pueblo peoples. This paper investigates the differing ritual uses of birds in Chacoan and Mimbres society through new AMS radiocarbon dates and stable isotope assays and considers the implications of these new data for our understanding of the development of long distance networks and the rise of social elites and religious specialists.


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Cite this Record

The Exotic and the Sacred: Evidence for Ritual Uses of Birds and Long Distance Exchange at Chaco and Mimbres (AD 800-1200). Adam Watson, Patricia Gilman, Douglas Kennett, Peter Whiteley, Stephen Plog. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429418)


Keywords


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14446

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America