SoA Lecture Series: Dr. Alex K. Ruuska


May 4 2017 - 5:00pm

Title: When the Earth Was New: Memory, Materiality, and the Numic Ritual Life Cycle

Thursday, May 4, 2017
Haury Room 216
2:00 p.m.

In this talk, I explore longstanding debates about Numic Ethnogenesis in the Great Basin. Using oral traditions, geology, and archaeology, I problematize the A.D. 950 Numic Spread Hypothesis, and examine alternative theories for the peopling of the Great Basin and Colorado Plateau. Using ethnoarchaeology and geology, I demonstrate how science and native oral traditions can be used in tandem to relay information about ancient geological events including floods, and seismic events including volcanism, earthquakes, faulting and geothermal activities. In turn, this information can clarify theoretical understandings of ancient migrations, while also providing details about the ritual cycle of the Paiute and Shoshone people. This includes: Earth Destruction and Rebirth Narratives, as well as Human Fertility, Coming of Age, Healing, and Death Rituals.

Calendar Type: 

Send to college calendar: 


Mark as important date: