Serious Miracles: Semiotic Battlefields of the Spanish Reconquista in 17th Century New Mexico
Author(s): Matthew Liebmann
This is an abstract from the session entitled "Historical Memory, Archaeology, And The Social Experience Of Conflict and Battlefields" , at the 2020 annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology.
Miraculous stories are as common to the battlefield as weapons and shields. Whether in the form of saintly interventions in combat, victory despite overwhelming odds, or religious iconography protecting the virtuous, warriors have reported miracles on the field of battle throughout time and across the globe. Yet miraculous stories have heretofore played little role in battlefield archaeology. The materialist perspectives common to archaeology have tended to relegate miracle stories to the realm of fantasy. By their very (super)nature, such miracles neglect to leave behind any tangible remains to be discovered by archaeologists. Rather than dismissing seemingly fantastic war stories outright, this paper asks how stories of combat miracles might illuminate the archaeological record. Through a case study focusing on Pueblo-Spanish battles in New Mexico, I argue that religious symbols, apparitions, and beliefs were as crucial to the outcomes of these 17th century conflicts as terrain, tactics, and weaponry.
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Serious Miracles: Semiotic Battlefields of the Spanish Reconquista in 17th Century New Mexico. Matthew Liebmann. 2020 ( tDAR id: 457049)
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min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;
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