Frontiers in Center Places

Author(s): Valerie Bondura

Year: 2017


Borders often imply two-dimensional lines on a map, a naturalized "over here" and "over there". This is reified in places where political boundaries appear to follow ecological ones. But the nature of these lines, even apparently clear environmental ones, is always arbitrary, and the recognition of these lines is always dependent on subject position. The word "frontier" highlights this politics of definition and recognition; frontiers are defined in history and anthropology as the edges of colonial projects, and thus frontiers are recognized and experienced differentially. Drawing on several seasons of fieldwork in northern New Mexico, I discuss the ontological problem at the heart of studying ecological and political frontiers in archaeology. I seek to understand how ecological and cultural difference across space was conceptualized and experienced by examining a location that was a frontier for some (Spanish, American) and a center place for others (Pueblo, Jicarilla Apache, vecino). I look to historic ceramics and other materials to understand how the Sangre de Cristo mountains along the Rio Grande Gorge corridor were simultaneously a border and a center, and suggest that these archaeological remains speak to the inherent tension in the overlap of marginal/central places.

Cite this Record

Frontiers in Center Places. Valerie Bondura. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431840)

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17308