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Living and Dying a Bioarchaeological Analysis of Human Remains Recovered by Earl Morris at Aztec Ruins

Author(s): Pamela Stone ; Ryan Harrod ; Alyssa Willett

Year: 2017

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Aztec Ruins, an Ancestral Pueblo site in northern New Mexico, is recognized as a large and socially complex site. Aztec Ruins is typically considered in relation to the Chaco Phenomenon, although connections to Mesa Verde have also been made. Combined these relationships suggest close ties to other temporally occupied sites. Excavations of Aztec Ruins were undertaken between 1916 and 1923 by southwestern archaeologist Earl Morris. Among his many finds he reported excavating 186 sets of human skeletal remains with a higher concentration of burial appearing in the West Ruin area of the Aztec Ruins complex. Unfortunately, only a third of these remains were collected, and fewer have been curated. In this paper we will discuss the politics and laws that impacted what was excavated versus what was curated. In our reanalysis of some of the curated human skeletal remains, we examine markers of stress, pathological conditions, activity, and nutrition, as well as consider the potential connections between Aztec and the Chaco and Mesa Verde complexes. Combined we offer a window into the lived experiences of these Ancestral Puebloan people, and their relationships to the greater Southwest.

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Living and Dying a Bioarchaeological Analysis of Human Remains Recovered by Earl Morris at Aztec Ruins. Pamela Stone, Ryan Harrod, Alyssa Willett. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429984)


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17288

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