Canids in the Faunal and Iconographic Record at La Quemada: An Analysis from the Perspective of Huichol Ethnography
This is an abstract from the "Journeying to the South, from Mimbres (New Mexico) to Malpaso (Zacatecas) and Beyond: Papers in Honor of Ben A. Nelson" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.
The presence of canids (members of the biological family Canidae, including dogs, wolves, coyotes, and foxes) at the archaeological site of La Quemada in Zacatecas, Mexico has been established through multiple lines of evidence, including broad representation in iconography (e.g., ceramics, shell, carved lithics) and their physical presence identified through faunal analyses. The analysis of canids remains indicates several ritual uses—which attest to various interactions between humans and canids—, but what would this have meant in ideational terms. The importance of canids seen in ethnographic evidence from the neighboring Huichol (Wixarika) region suggests that the relevance of canids at La Quemada can be explored through ethnographic analogy. In this paper, we analyze iconography and faunal remains alongside a careful review of ethnographic data from the Wixarika region to explore new ideas about the relationships between humans and canids in the pre-Hispanic past at La Quemada. Specifically, we explore the possibility that canids identified in the La Quemada faunal assemblage were wolves, beings from which the Wixarikari people prefer to keep a distance. We consider this hypothesis in comparison to an alternative, that the canids were dogs who were benevolent spirit companions of departed souls.
Cite this Record
Canids in the Faunal and Iconographic Record at La Quemada: An Analysis from the Perspective of Huichol Ethnography. Nora Rodríguez Zariñán, Christopher W. Schwartz, Ben Nelson. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451508)
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min long: -107.117; min lat: 16.468 ; max long: -100.173; max lat: 23.685 ;
Abstract Id(s): 24488