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Religious Transformation in the Late Pre-Hispanic Pueblo World

Edited by Donna M. Glowacki and Scott Van Keuren

Publication Year: 2012

The mid-thirteenth century AD marks the beginning of tremendous social change among Ancestral Pueblo peoples of the northern US Southwest that foreshadow the emergence of the modern Pueblo world. Regional depopulations, long-distance migrations, and widespread resettlement into large plaza-oriented villages forever altered community life. Archaeologists have tended to view these historical events as adaptive responses to climatic, environmental, and economic conditions. Recently, however, more attention is being given to the central role of religion during these transformative periods, and to how archaeological remains embody the complex social practices through which Ancestral Pueblo  understandings of sacred concepts were expressed and transformed. <br><br>The contributors to this volume employ a wide range of archaeological evidence to examine the origin and development of religious ideologies and the ways they shaped Pueblo societies across the Southwest in the centuries prior to European contact. With its fresh theoretical approach, it contributes to a better understanding of both the Pueblo past and the anthropological study of religion in ancient contexts This volume will be of interest to both regional specialists and to scholars who work with the broader dimensions of religion and ritual in the human experience. 

Published by: University of Arizona Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. iii-iv


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xi

This book project began as a conversation between friends about the topic of religion in the late pre-Hispanic period Southwest (our designation for the Pueblo IV period, AD 1275–1540). At the time, we wondered if archaeological research on Ancestral Pueblo religion was at ...

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1. Studying Ancestral Pueblo Religion

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pp. 1-22

The northern Southwest was fundamentally reshaped by regional depopulation, long-distance migrations, and resettlement into large plaza-oriented villages by the late pre-Hispanic period (ca. AD 1275/ 1300 to 1540), also known as the Pueblo IV period. These historical ...

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2. Pueblo Religion and the Mesoamerican Connection

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pp. 23-49

The late thirteenth-century religious ideologies that transformed the Pueblo world sprang from far-ranging beliefs, rituals, and social relations inextricably linked to Mesoamerica (see figure 2.1). Indigenous peoples living in the Southwest of the United States and the Northwest ...

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3. Ritual and Cosmology in the Chaco Era

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pp. 50-65

Much of the renewed focus on religion in the Pueblo Southwest over the last two decades has addressed the post-1300 era (hereafter, the late pre-Hispanic period), which is characterized by elaborate kiva murals, red and orange wares with representational designs, and fascinating ...

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4. The Role of Religion in the Depopulation of the Central Mesa Verde Region

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pp. 66-83

The AD 1200s in the central Mesa Verde region have been described by Lipe (1995) as a turbulent time, and indeed it was, for within 60 years sweeping demographic and social changes during poor climatic conditions resulted in widespread depopulation. The circumstances prompting ...

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5. Bowls to Gardens: A History of Tewa Community Metaphors

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pp. 84-108

As noted by Van Keuren and Glowacki in their introduction to this volume, comparative religion scholars today define religion as a social phenomenon with four components: (1) discourses whose concerns transcend the human, temporal, and contingent, and claim a similarly ...

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6. Iconography, Space, and Practice: Rio Grande Rock Art, AD 1150–1600

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pp. 109-129

Rock art in the northern Rio Grande valley changed dramatically in the late AD 1200s to early 1300s. Both the style and iconography of the imagery itself shifted, especially in representation of the human form and of certain animals. At the same time, rock art sites themselves reflected a newly ...

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7. Plazas, Performance, and Symbolic Power in Ancestral Pueblo Religion

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pp. 130-152

Pueblo religion is known for the emphasis it places upon the well-being of the group and upon adherence to the rules and values of the group. In ethnographic religious performances in plazas, highly structured routines of dance, song, and prayer involving large numbers of participants stress ...

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8. Spectatorship and Performance in Mural Painting, AD 1250–1500: Visuality and Social Integration

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pp. 153-174

The study of evidence for the cultural phenomenology of vision in the Southwest offers new ways to approach aspects of historic and prehistoric society and expressive culture, from visual expressions in art and architecture, to relationships between viewership and time-based media ...

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9. The Materiality of Religious Belief in East-Central Arizona

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pp. 175-195

A variety of novel or refashioned religious beliefs and practices emerged across the Pueblo Southwest during the late pre-Hispanic period. These traditions appeared during a remarkable period of change, triggered by major migrations and population resettlement that eventually resulted ...

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10. North, South, and Center: An Outline of Hopi Ethnogenesis

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pp. 196-220

The religious transformations of the fourteenth century in the American Southwest involved both novel introductions and things that were left behind. New ritual practices tied to the Katsina religion or the Southwestern Cult swept broad areas, while long-standing ways of life ...

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11. Getting Religion: Lessons from Ancestral Pueblo History

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pp. 221-238

Religion may be uniquely human. It might even be that which makes human beings human (Rappaport 1979:229–230). But to what extent do religions or religious ideologies constitute human history? Answering that question is a task for archaeologists, but they often seem uncertain ...


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pp. 239-243


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pp. 245-298

About the Contributors

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pp. 299-304


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pp. 305-310

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780816599721
Print-ISBN-13: 9780816503988

Page Count: 320
Publication Year: 2012