Gambler's House

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A blog discussing a variety of subjects related to Chaco Canyon, the prehistoric American Southwest, and their complex connections to the world today.

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  • December 27, 2011
  • 02:15 AM

Ram Mesa: A Reasonable Case for Witchcraft Execution without Cannibalism

by teofilo in Gambler's House

One of the most notable examples of an assemblage of highly mutilated human remains from the Southwest being attributed to witchcraft execution rather than cannibalism, in accordance with J. Andrew Darling’s theory discussed in the previous post, is Ram Mesa, southwest of Chaco Canyon near Gallup, NM.  This site was excavated by the University of [...]... Read more »

  • December 24, 2011
  • 03:49 AM

Athapaskan Influence on Tewa

by teofilo in Gambler's House

There’s been quite a bit of research on relations between the Pueblo and Athapaskan peoples of the American Southwest, most of it falling within the broad domain of ethnography or sociocultural anthropology.  That is, there is quite a lot of evidence that some of the Athapaskan-speaking Apache groups, especially the Navajos, have been in close [...]... Read more »

Kroskrity, P. (1985) Areal-Historical Influences on Tewa Possession. International Journal of American Linguistics, 51(4), 486. DOI: 10.1086/465943  

  • August 16, 2010
  • 08:05 PM

Basketmaker Subsistence

by teofilo in Gambler's House

One of the important questions in understanding the spread of agriculture into the Southwest from Mexico is when Southwestern peoples became dependent on it for their subsistence.  It is generally accepted that this dependence was in place by the Pueblo I period, which is defined as starting around AD 750 in most areas, but there [...]... Read more »

  • June 7, 2012
  • 02:55 AM

Ten Thousand Smokes, One Hundred Years

by teofilo in Gambler's House

One hundred years ago today, one of the biggest volcanic eruptions in recorded history took place in southwestern Alaska. The volcano, known as Novarupta, is located in what is now Katmai National Park, which was established in 1918 as a direct result of the eruption and its effects on the landscape. As a result, this [...]... Read more »

Dailey, I. (1912) Report of the Eruption of Katmai Volcano. Bulletin of the American Geographical Society, 44(9), 641. DOI: 10.2307/200811  

  • January 16, 2012
  • 02:49 AM

The Vacant Quarter

by teofilo in Gambler's House

One of the major advantages Southwestern archaeologists have over those studying other areas of prehistoric North America is a very solid chronology, based primarily on tree-rings and extended by diagnostic pottery types that in many cases changed rapidly. As a result of this chronology, in many parts of the Southwest unexcavated sites can be dated [...]... Read more »

  • August 10, 2010
  • 11:30 PM

The Turkey Connection

by teofilo in Gambler's House

In a comment to the previous post, Alan Reed Bishop brings up an issue closely related to the recent evidence for early maize cultivation in Chaco Canyon: the introduction of domesticated turkeys to the Southwest.  A recent study of archaeological turkey remains found that the majority of the turkeys found in Southwestern archaeological sites are [...]... Read more »

  • February 27, 2012
  • 03:25 AM

Filed Teeth at Cahokia

by teofilo in Gambler's House

One of the distinctive characteristics of Cahokia and its area of strong influence is the prevalence of filed teeth in many human burials. Filing of teeth as a cultural practice was common in Mexico for thousands of years before the Spanish conquest, but further north it is very rare and found mostly at Cahokia and [...]... Read more »

  • December 19, 2011
  • 04:09 AM

The Puzzling Dena’ina

by teofilo in Gambler's House

As I mentioned in the last post, it’s generally thought that the Athapaskan migrations which eventually led to the entrance of the Navajos and Apaches into the Southwest began in Alaska.  The northern Athapaskan languages are actually spoken over a very large area of northwestern Canada as well, but the linguistic evidence clearly points to [...]... Read more »

Osgood, C. (1933) Tanaina Culture. American Anthropologist, 35(4), 695-717. DOI: 10.1525/aa.1933.35.4.02a00070  

  • January 6, 2013
  • 02:50 AM

Capturing the Fremont

by teofilo in Gambler's House

Many of the prehistoric cultures of the Southwest are routinely described as “mysterious,” most often in popular accounts and tourist information but also sometimes in the more serious archaeological literature. This is certainly true in a sense, in that a lot of information about any given ancient society, especially one without writing, is gone forever [...]... Read more »

Gunnerson, J. (1956) Plains-Promontory Relationships. American Antiquity, 22(1), 69. DOI: 10.2307/276168  

Madsen, D., & Simms, S. (1998) The Fremont Complex: A Behavioral Perspective. Journal of World Prehistory, 12(3), 255-336. DOI: 10.1023/A:1022322619699  

  • July 7, 2013
  • 07:18 PM

Lessons from Bolivia

by teofilo in Gambler's House

I often read articles on the archaeology of other parts of the world to gain a better understanding of the context for Chaco. The areas I focus on for this are primarily those that had interesting things going on contemporaneous with the Chacoan era, but I also look to some extent on archaeological phenomena in […]... Read more »

  • April 18, 2010
  • 01:45 PM

Atlatls to Bows: First Things First

by teofilo in Gambler's House

Everyone is familiar with the bow and arrow, but what on earth is an atlatl?  Although this implement was once used all over the world and was an important part of life, in most areas it was replaced by other weapons so long ago that it is no longer remembered, and most people today have [...]... Read more »

Howard, C. (1974) The Atlatl: Function and Performance. American Antiquity, 39(1), 102. DOI: 10.2307/279223  

  • December 16, 2010
  • 12:50 AM

Speaking of Wupatki

by teofilo in Gambler's House

The paper by Glenn Davis Stone and Christian Downum that I mentioned in the last post, which evaluated the archaeological record of the Wupatki area of northern Arizona in the light of Ester Boserup‘s theory of agricultural intensification, was based largely on the data from an extensive archaeological survey of Wupatki National Monument done by [...]... Read more »

  • June 23, 2012
  • 03:56 AM

Wetherill’s Intellectual Influence

by teofilo in Gambler's House

Today is Wetherill Day, the anniversary of Richard Wetherill’s death in 1910, and as such I would like to continue my tradition of marking the occasion by discussing the complicated and often misunderstood legacy of Wetherill, the pioneering amateur archaeologist who excavated many sites in the Southwest, including most famously Pueblo Bonito at Chaco Canyon. [...]... Read more »

  • May 11, 2010
  • 12:21 AM

Atlatls to Bows: Loopy

by teofilo in Gambler's House

Intact atlatls are rarely found, but when they are it’s usually in the Southwest or the Great Basin, arid regions with good preservation conditions for perishable materials like wood and leather.  Some, but not all, of the examples that have been found in these areas have pieces of leather attached as apparent finger loops to [...]... Read more »

  • September 30, 2014
  • 05:23 AM

The Evidence from DNA

by teofilo in Gambler's House

To wrap up my series on tracing the connections between ancient Pueblo sites like Chaco Canyon and the modern Pueblos, I’d like to discuss a type of evidence I haven’t discussed much but that people often ask about: DNA evidence. This is the most direct way to tie one population to another, at least in theory, […]... Read more »

Raghavan, M., DeGiorgio, M., Albrechtsen, A., Moltke, I., Skoglund, P., Korneliussen, T., Gronnow, B., Appelt, M., Gullov, H., Friesen, T.... (2014) The genetic prehistory of the New World Arctic. Science, 345(6200), 1255832-1255832. DOI: 10.1126/science.1255832  

  • September 25, 2010
  • 07:40 PM

Another Possible Chacoan Effigy Vessel

by teofilo in Gambler's House

Effigy vessels are very rare in the prehistoric Southwest, and human effigy vessels even more so.  Most known examples, especially in the Anasazi area, are of animals, and by far the most common of these are the so-called “duck pots,” a distinctive type of vessel shape that is often considered to be a representation of [...]... Read more »

  • December 25, 2010
  • 02:40 AM

The C Word

by teofilo in Gambler's House

Near the very end of his report on the excavations at Pueblo Bonito by the Hyde Expedition in the 1890s, George Pepper wrote the following: The finding of cracked and calcined bones in some of the rooms brings up the question of the eating of human flesh by the people of this pueblo.  There was [...]... Read more »

Dongoske, K., Martin, D., & Ferguson, T. (2000) Critique of the Claim of Cannibalism at Cowboy Wash. American Antiquity, 65(1), 179. DOI: 10.2307/2694813  

Lambert, P., Leonard, B., Billman, B., Marlar, R., Newman, M., & Reinhard, K. (2000) Response to Critique of the Claim of Cannibalism at Cowboy Wash. American Antiquity, 65(2), 397. DOI: 10.2307/2694066  

  • December 22, 2014
  • 01:11 AM

Orientation and Identity

by teofilo in Gambler's House

Today is the winter solstice, which means it’s also the sixth anniversary of this  blog. On these anniversaries I like to write about archaeoastronomy, which is a very interesting topic and an important one for understanding Chaco and Southwestern prehistory in general. Last year I wrote about some research indicating that in the Rio Grande valley, […]... Read more »

Malville JM, & Munro AM. (2010) Cultural Identity, Continuity, and Astronomy in Chaco Canyon. Archaeoastronomy, 62-81. info:/

  • August 17, 2010
  • 04:24 PM

So What Did the Turkeys Eat?

by teofilo in Gambler's House

As if on cue, given that I’ve been talking about turkey husbandry and stable isotope testing of human remains, a paper in the latest issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science combines the two, using similar stable isotope techniques on turkey remains from sites in southwestern Colorado to determine what the turkeys were eating.  The [...]... Read more »

  • June 10, 2011
  • 10:29 PM

Colin Renfrew Has a Hammer

by teofilo in Gambler's House

Kristina Killgrove has an interesting post on the numerous broken Cycladic figurines on the Greek island of Keros that have been documented over the past few years by the prominent British archaeologist Colin Renfrew.  Renfrew’s interpretation seems to be that these figurines were deliberately broken in various Cycladic communities, then deliberately brought to Keros to [...]... Read more »

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