Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Searching for communities of practice with sherds: Stylistic variation in the Cibola region
by Newcomb, Elizabeth Blair, M.A., Northern Arizona University, 2015, 110; 1598389
Abstract (Summary)

A major increase in the local production of red ware and polychrome vessels in the Cibola region of the American Southwest occurred during the Pueblo III to Pueblo IV transition. The transition is characterized by a dramatic increase in the diversity of ceramic decorative styles. In this thesis, I review evidence for shifts in settlement patterns and community organization, including collective actions and social identity, as part of an intensive 10 week internship. I do so by addressing ceramic variation of design elements on the exterior portion of White Mountain Red Ware bowls, specifically during the reorganization in the Cibola region from A.D. 1200 – 1540. Through analysis of design motifs in the ceramic assemblages from the Sandstone Hill Pueblo Ruin (NA11, 233) and the Zuni Airport Project (NM:12:L3:141), I examine the interaction between potters residing at local sites and potters in the broader region.

Archaeologists investigate the social organization of the Cibola region with the aid of ceramic analysis. Examining the stylistic choices of potters in the archaeological record illuminates changes in the social system of past societies. Decorated ceramic styles are indicative of communities of practice. When coupled with the Style Information-Exchange theory, communities of practice provide a greater understanding of the ancestral Zuni culture. As this case study shows, analysis of cultural resource management (CRM) collections and repository collections has the potential to contribute greatly to an expanded understanding of prehistoric societies. The concluding suggestions for future research will provide guidance and ideas for future preservation of collections and the value to the public.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hays-Gilpin, Kelley
Commitee: Small, Cathy, Thompson, Kerry
School: Northern Arizona University
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: MAI 55/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Archaeology
Publication Number: 1598389
ISBN: 978-1-339-02950-4
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