Birds in Ritual Practice and Ceremonial Organization in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico

Author(s): Katelyn Bishop

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "SAA 2019: General Sessions" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Birds have remained one of the most symbolically valued animals in human cultures, from prehistoric past to ethnographic present, and across the globe. Especially in the North American Southwest, whole birds and their parts have been an integral part of Pueblo ceremonial life for centuries. Their ritual and symbolic value has been demonstrated both archaeologically and ethnographically, where birds have been ritually interred and their feathers and claws used in the manufacture of ceremonial paraphernalia. This poster explores the use of birds in Pueblo II period (AD 900-1150) Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. Seven museum collections from across the country were examined to produce a single dataset that presents all avifaunal remains recovered from multiple excavations conducted over the last 120 years in Chaco Canyon. Preliminary results are presented from this research, which also includes the analysis of objects of bird imagery, such as effigy vessels, figurines, and painted designs. Results not only speak to the use of birds in Pueblo II period Chaco Canyon and the nature of ritual practice and ceremonial organization, but also demonstrate the value of (re)examining museum collections from historic excavations, and uniting multiple collections into synthetic databases that focus on one material type.

Cite this Record

Birds in Ritual Practice and Ceremonial Organization in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. Katelyn Bishop. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 449733)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -124.365; min lat: 25.958 ; max long: -93.428; max lat: 41.902 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 25775