Skin and Bones: The Presence and Potential Implications of Dog Skinning in the Pre-Colonial Southwest
Author(s): Madeleine Strait
The presence of dogs across burial sites in the southwestern United States and worldwide has been well noted in archaeological literature. The ubiquity of canine burials attests to their historical role as complex social actors in human society, prompting actions and performances, taboos and transgressions. To access the true depth of meaning in many canine remains, then, we must examine them with the level of precision normally reserved for human burials. This paper offers a close reading of the remains of four dogs buried in Room 822, a D-shaped kiva from T’aitöna (Pot Creek Pueblo). These dogs were ritually buried and show evidence of having been skinned before interment. The cultural significance of skins and dogs is analyzed in this paper through engagements with both descendant oral histories and folklore, as well as the theory of Amerindian perspectivism best known through the writings of Viveiros de Castro. When viewed through these lenses, the taphonomic evidence of skinning provides an important new understanding of the social and ritual role of dogs in the pre-colonial Southwest and argues for the importance of dogs as culturally rich participants in the human past.
Cite this Record
Skin and Bones: The Presence and Potential Implications of Dog Skinning in the Pre-Colonial Southwest. Madeleine Strait. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 445004)
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min long: -124.365; min lat: 25.958 ; max long: -93.428; max lat: 41.902 ;
Abstract Id(s): 20738