Landscape Ontologies as Landscape Politics: Chacoan Interventions in Northwestern New Mexico

Author(s): Kellam Throgmorton

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Contested Landscapes: The Archaeology of Politics, Borders, and Movement" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Indigenous perspectives and the ontological turn emphasize that Pueblo emergence was a process of relational engagement with particular places on the landscape. Following this relational perspective, no two places could be identical, nor could the resulting social assemblages that arose from them; emergence as a process of self-discovery contributed to the localization of identities and political orientations in the ancient past. Chacoan archaeologists have addressed this issue through the evaluation of material culture traits to determine whether communities in the 10th-12th century northern Southwest were "local emulations" or "Chacoan exports," concluding that most communities were primarily local manifestations. However, at the metalevel of "spatial doxa," Chacoan landscapes exhibited priorities and practices at odds with the logic of local emergence. They created a repeated canon of landscape constructs that effectively replicated portions of Chaco Canyon itself at dozens of sites throughout the northern Southwest. Using evidence from a community in northwestern New Mexico, I argue that restructuring local landscapes was a more effective political tool for Chacoans than controlling agricultural production and exchange networks, or replacing local leadership.

Cite this Record

Landscape Ontologies as Landscape Politics: Chacoan Interventions in Northwestern New Mexico. Kellam Throgmorton. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451857)

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 24426