On Friday, October 18, doctoral candidate Ben Bellorado will give a presentation at the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center in Cortez, Colorado as part of his obligations for receiving the prestigious 2017–2019 Florence C. and Robert H. Lister Fellowship. The Lister Fellowship was established in recognition of the lifelong achievements of the late Florence and Robert Lister, noted archaeologists, dedicated educators, and friends and supporters of the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center. The purpose of the fellowship is to assist graduate students who show promise of making a significant contribution to the archaeological knowledge of American Indian cultures of the Southwest. Learn more in this announcement from Crow Canyon.
Title: Leaving Footprints in the Ancient US Southwest: Visible Indicators of Group Affiliation and Social Position in the Chaco and Post-Chaco Eras
Abstract: This research is aimed at understanding the ways in which Ancestral Pueblo people manipulated attributes of clothing visibility and textile imagery in various media to signal important aspects of social identities in the prehispanic, northern Southwest during the Chaco and post-Chaco eras. Clothing is an ideal medium for understanding social identity, but due to its perishable nature, archaeologists are rarely afforded the opportunity to study dressing practices in ancient societies. Fortunately, in the northern Southwest, one class of footwear—twined yucca sandals—have been preserved in relatively large quantities from archaeological contexts in the region and appear in numerous depictions in both building murals and rock art. Complexly woven and highly ornate, these sandals left unique footprints and were used in communal events to display status during the Chaco and Post-Chaco eras (A.D. 900-1300). Through the application of clothing theories and cross-media approaches, this research unravels the often subtle ways that ancient people wove together the complex tapestries of social and political connections that linked the region before, after, and during the Chaco era. Through museum collection studies, dendrochronology of ancient pueblos, and rock-art analyses, the study reveals how and why Ancestral Pueblo people marked the passing of certain groups with emblematic footprints in the soil, on plastered walls, and on cliff faces, and how sandal-design styles were manipulated to signal membership with groups of different scales and organizational structures during the turbulent Chaco and post-Chaco eras.
(Anthro News date: 10/18/2019)