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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Inconspicuous Identity: Using Corrugated Pottery to Explore Social Identity Within the Homol'ovi Settlement Cluster, A.D. 1260-1400
by Barker, Claire S., Ph.D., The University of Arizona, 2017, 496; 10683986
Abstract (Summary)

This research explores the relationship between social identity, artifact style, and communities of practice in the late prehispanic U.S. Southwest, focusing on how domestic, utilitarian objects and contexts both shape and reflect social identities. During the A.D. 1200s and 1300s, large-scale migration and aggregation occurred over much of the U.S. Southwest, bringing diverse individual and community identities into contact and, potentially, conflict. Within this social context, this research focused on clarifying the relationship between social identities and utilitarian objects and domestic contexts, and how this relationship can elucidate the social history of a community. These issues were explored through analysis of corrugated utilitarian pottery from the sites of the Homol’ovi Settlement Cluster (HSC), a community of seven villages in northeastern Arizona occupied from around 1260 through 1400.

The social organization of corrugated pottery production in the HSC was approached from several angles. To identify the number and nature of the ceramic manufacturing communities present during the Pueblo IV occupation of the Homol’ovi area, sherds were submitted for instrumental neutron activation analysis and petrographic analysis. The results of the compositional analyses indicate that ceramic production groups in the Homol’ovi area were not primarily distinguished by access to specific raw material resources. What differentiation there is within the raw materials used by Homol’ovi potters appears to have been determined primarily by village, with the residents of a few villages preferring to use specific clay or temper sources. Both locally produced pottery and ceramics imported into the Homol’ovi area were incorporated into a typological and stylistic analysis. This analysis found evidence of two different production styles in the corrugated pottery assemblage. One appears stylistically similar to pottery produced in areas to the north around the Hopi Mesas; the other appears to be more akin to stylistic traditions practiced in the Puerco area and in the Chevelon drainage. This diversity suggests the presence of multiple immigrant communities co-residing within the HSC. This social diversity is not reflected in the decorated ceramic tradition of the HSC, which largely conforms to the ceramic traditions of the Hopi Mesas.

Interrogating the disjuncture in the identities embodied through different categories of material culture, used in different social contexts, provides a framework through which to explore the complex social relationships that characterized Pueblo IV villages formed as individuals and communities negotiated the competing forces of integration and differentiation. This study demonstrates the value of approaching identity from multiple scales. If identity is understood as fundamentally multi-faceted and multi-scalar, even seemingly homogeneous cultural units are characterized by social diversity and the tension that accompanies such diversity. The patterns of production visible in utilitarian corrugated pottery provide a nuanced method of clarifying the complex identities of Ancestral Puebloan communities and assessing social connections and differences between groups.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Adams, E. Charles
Commitee: Lyons, Patrick D., Mills, Barbara J.
School: The University of Arizona
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-A 79/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Archaeology
Keywords: Arizona, Ceramics, Communities of practice, Corrugated pottery, Identity, Migration, United States Southwest
Publication Number: 10683986
ISBN: 978-0-355-52314-0
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