Tuzigoot Burials


Tuzigoot Pueblo is the type site for the Tuzigoot Phase of the Southern Sinagua Tradition and was occupied from c. A.D. 1140 to c. 1400. This report gives the results of re-analysis of data from burials excavated at Tuzigoot in 1933-1934. The purpose of the study is to abstract the

organizing principles of social status, a subject of current archeological interest.

This project was conducted within constraints that would be imposed by repatriation of mortuary remains. Nearly all of the 411 burials excavated at Tuzigoot were reburied on site in 1934. Study has been deliberately restricted to data documented in field records, catalogue cards, and published descriptions. Records exist for 393 burials documenting---with some inconsistencies---orientation, age, sex, pathology, position, condition, depth, dimensions of grave, fill, and associated artifacts. Provenience is by room or undefmed portions of slopes outside the pueblo; specific extramural burial locations were not recorded or mapped.

A series of bivariate tables indicate that the overriding principle of acquiring status was achievement rather than ascription. With advancing age individuals acquired an increasing number of objects, exotic as well as utilitarian. Burials with the greatest number of objects are predominantly adult males buried with their heads to the north in pole-covered pits. Objects commonly (though not exclusively) buried with these individuals were ritual objects (prayer sticks, quartz crystals), elaborate ornaments (turquoise pendants and mosaics, beads of argillite, shell and an unidentified black stone), obsidian arrowheads and other tools, and decorated pottery (predominantly Jeddito Yellow Ware). Infants and children were usually buried under room floors or in room fill; those buried outside in the adult cemetery show a slight tendency toward more and rarer objects in association. By analogy with ethnographic examples, general and Southwestern, burials in the extramural cemetery are interpreted as ritual events in which a lineage or the village participated; intramural burials represent family ceremony. Absence of locations and context burials limits inferences, but ranked lineages could fit the Tuzigoot situation. Neither community context nor mortuary remains convincingly support the existence of a distinct class of hereditary elites.

This study raises questions that can be addressed by restudy of the artifacts found with burials. More detailed artifact description and source analysis should be completed if objects are repatriated.

Cite this Record

Tuzigoot Burials. Keith M. Anderson. Publications in Anthropology ,60. Tucson, Arizona: Western Archeological and Conservation Center. 1992 ( tDAR id: 4299) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8X34VX5

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Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: 1000 to 1400

Spatial Coverage

min long: -112.044; min lat: 34.764 ; max long: -112.018; max lat: 34.785 ;

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