Examining Female Status and Craft Production in Chaco Canyon: Bone Spatulate Tool Use-Wear Analysis

Author(s): Sara Anderson

Year: 2019


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

Chaco Canyon, located in present-day New Mexico, was a political and economic center for the Ancestral Puebloan culture between AD 800-1200 and remains an important cultural area in the American Southwest. Large-scale road networks facilitated the import of raw materials and craft goods and enabled the exchange of prestige items. Utilizing the Chaco Research Archive, I evaluate Ancestral Puebloan women’s participation in prestige-driven craft production. Bone spatulate tools, including several that are distinctively embellished with turquoise, jet, and shell inlays, are found in association with female burials and other tools related to female activities at great house and small house sites, as well as in some outlier communities. I argue that these objects, commonly referenced as bone scrapers and/or fleshers have unique use-wear signatures that suggest their function and significance as tools utilized by Ancestral Puebloan women in their daily activities and participation in craft production. Utilizing legacy data in concert with new digital techniques and experimental archaeology, the androcentric and ethnocentric biases of past archaeological interpretations can be more closely examined. A thorough understanding of the functionality of these bone spatulate tools permits new archaeological interpretations of gendered craft production activities and women’s status and prestige in Chaco Canyon.

Cite this Record

Examining Female Status and Craft Production in Chaco Canyon: Bone Spatulate Tool Use-Wear Analysis. Sara Anderson. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 449981)

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): 26258