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Chaco Canyon: Dispersed Settlement, Dialectical Tension, and the Rise of an Ancient Polity in the Southwest U.S.

Author(s): Ruth Van Dyke

Year: 2017

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Summary

Two dozen monumental buildings lie at the heart of Chaco Canyon, a UNESCO World Heritage site in the Southwest United States. However, ancient Chaco Canyon was not a single locality but a focal point for outlier settlements spanning a region of 60,000 square miles. The canyon-outlier relationship is key to understanding the Chacoan polity. Residents of canyon and outlier settlements within a dialectical relationship gathered periodically to share resources, marriage partners, and ritual knowledge. When contradictions within this relationship reached a tipping point, a group of small-scale, dispersed farmers transformed into a centralized, hierarchical rituality where secret ceremonial knowledge legitimated elite political authority.


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Chaco Canyon: Dispersed Settlement, Dialectical Tension, and the Rise of an Ancient Polity in the Southwest U.S.. Ruth Van Dyke. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430825)


Keywords


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14343

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