Entangled complexity: Spiro, religion, and food

Author(s): Dawn Rutecki

Year: 2017


Understanding past peoples – those living in different places, spaces and times – requires archaeologists to reorient how we see and experience the world. We have the ability to move beyond recording the physical traces of past lives to get to the central goal of our discipline – understanding how people lived, participated in and tied themselves to communities, and connected to larger systems. Instead of forming stagnant images of the past, we need to remember the dynamism of choices made and changed in an individual’s and a community’s continual process of becoming. Through analysis of subsistence data, evidence of religious practices, and ethnohistoric accounts, this paper discusses the lives of people in the Spiro community, Oklahoma, circa AD 1000-1450. It explores the relationships between food and religion to situate how North American archaeological theoretical frameworks can renegotiate their place in the past. I argue that through applying a critical lens, we can usefully expand how we conceptualize social complexity and develop a more nuanced understanding of how these entangled social relationships remain fluid, living connections.

Cite this Record

Entangled complexity: Spiro, religion, and food. Dawn Rutecki. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429705)

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Geographic Keywords
North America - Plains

Spatial Coverage

min long: -113.95; min lat: 30.751 ; max long: -97.163; max lat: 48.865 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16217