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Anthropological Papers of the University of Arizona

Paper #64
Great House Communities Across the Chacoan Landscape

Author(s): John Kantner* and Nancy M. Mahoney,* Editors
Publisher: Anthropological Papers of the University of Arizona 64, 2000, $16.95
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Photo below: Computer reconstruction of the Kin Klizhin great house positioned on the site in northwestern New Mexico. Photograph and reconstruction by John Kantner.

Archaeologists investigating the prehistory of Chaco Canyon have long been impressed by its massive architecture, evidence of widespread trading activities, and ancient roadways that extended across the region. Research on Chaco Canyon today is focused on what the remains indicate about the social, political, and ideological organization of the Chacoan people. Communities with great houses located some distance away are of particular interest, because determining how and why peripheral areas became associated with the central canyon provides insight into the evolution of the Chacoan tradition. This volume brings together twelve chapters by archaeologists who suggest that the relationship between Chaco Canyon and outlying communities was not only complex but highly variable. Their new research reveals that the most distant groups may have simply appropriated Chacoan symbolism for influencing local social and political relationships, whereas many of the nearest communities appear to have interacted closely with the central canyon--perhaps even living there on a seasonal basis. The multifaceted approach taken by these authors provides different and refreshing perspectives on Chaco. Their contributions offer new insight into what a Chacoan community is and shed light on the nature of interactions among prehistoric communities.


* Dr. John Kantner is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Georgia State University in Atlanta. His professional interest is in Southwestern archaeology and he has focused on Chacoan research for the past seven years.

*Nancy Mahoney anticipates receiving her doctoral degree in Anthropology from Arizona State University in 2000. She has been a Robert H. Lister Fellow in Anthropology at the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center and co-principal investigator of the Cottonwood Community Project in Utah.

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