Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Glaze painted pottery and communities of practice: Examining migration and identity through compositional analyses of glaze paints at Hummingbird Pueblo, New Mexico
by Theuer, Jason G., Ph.D., Southern Methodist University, 2013, 300; 3607739
Abstract (Summary)

The production and exchange of pottery plays a central role in evaluating economic systems and social processes. Significant research in the American Southwest has examined regional interactions through the production and exchange of pottery at multiple sites over a wide area. Recent investigations have established methods for measuring and quantifying exchange between specific regions and villages, and used these to identify the likely origins and destinations for migrations. While significant research has examined this process on a large regional scale, little has attempted to examine this process at a single site.

The production of glaze-painted pottery played a prominent, and the most archaeologically visible, role of the Kats’ina religious system that spread across the northern Southwest during the fourteenth century A.D. While the Kats’ina system has received significant study and documentation, little research has explicitly examined how this belief system spread and why people adopted these new religious practices (it has remained more of a tacit acknowledgement in Southwest circles).

This dissertation explores the connection and interrelationships between glaze-painted pottery production and the processes of social identity and migration at Hummingbird Pueblo (LA578) during the Pueblo IV period (A.D. 1300–1425). Examining glaze-painted pottery produced locally and non-locally at Hummingbird Pueblo, this study evaluates patterned variability in glaze-paint recipes in order to understand how production technologies and belief systems are disseminated, learned, and adopted in middle-range societies and better understand the processes of migration. Three/[Four] aspects of social interaction and their impact on the archaeological record are considered here: production, [exchange], migration, and social identity. While key aspects of each may be delineated, the interconnectedness of these social and economic processes demonstrates the complexities in developing explanative models for the Southwest.

Architectural and demographic data from the site are evaluated against typological and compositional analyses of pottery to assess [independently verify] the evidence for migration to and from Hummingbird Pueblo. Compositional analyses of locally produced glaze-paints recovered from seriated midden and construction sequences are then used to examine the social contexts of production in terms of the diffusion of technological knowledge. Spatial analyses of glaze-paint compositions with meaningful recovery contexts across the site are then used to evaluate whether any significant patterning exists across the site’s three room blocks or within groups of rooms that may indicate social identity. A significant concentration of glaze-painted pottery vessels is evaluated against compositional and spatial group data in terms of information provided by descendant Native American communities that the deposit represents a “closing offering” and each pot would have been made specifically for the event by the leading groups at the village.

Results of the compositional and spatial analyses suggest that dynamic processes shaped migration, social identity, and the sharing of production technologies and belief systems (religious practices). Compositional and typological data hint at multiple “communities of practice” at LA578, the regional exchange networks that migrating groups utilized to facilitate access to new communities, and the material records correlates of sharing/learning production technologies. Spatial and demographic analyses support previous models of residence patterns, and composition data suggests that glaze-paint recipes reflected (or provides an archaeologically reasonable analog for) social identity. Though the production of glaze-paints varied substantially over time and a wide array of factors influenced both glaze-paint composition and recovery context, this study shows analyses at a single site like LA578 can contribute significantly to our understanding of migration and social identity.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Adler, Michael A.
Commitee: Bernardini, Wesley, Eiselt, Sunday, Sampson, Garth
School: Southern Methodist University
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- Texas
Source: DAI-A 75/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Archaeology, Geochemistry
Keywords: Communities of practice, Compositional analysis, Glaze paints, Hummingbird Pueblo, Identity, Migration, New Mexico, Pottery
Publication Number: 3607739
ISBN: 978-1-303-65436-7
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