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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.

teofilo
136 posts

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  • October 11, 2010
  • 01:02 AM
  • 824 views

Welcome, Science Readers!

by teofilo in Gambler's House

In honor of the twentieth anniversary of the passage of NAGPRA, Science has an interesting special section of short articles on the impact of NAGPRA on archaeology and physical anthropology.  They’re all definitely worth reading, and free with an annoying registration.  Among them is an interview of Steve Lekson by Keith Kloor which is of [...]... Read more »

  • June 12, 2011
  • 10:15 PM
  • 820 views

A Small House near Aztec

by teofilo in Gambler's House

In July 1914 Earl Morris, the pioneering Southwestern archaeologist who would later become famous for his excavations at Aztec and other sites in the region, happened to visit one Eudoro Córdoba, who owned a farm on the Animas River a short distance upstream of the major ruins at Aztec.  On his mantelpiece were various artifacts [...]... Read more »

  • April 9, 2010
  • 10:42 PM
  • 819 views

The Invention of Agriculture

by teofilo in Gambler's House

Earlier I mentioned recent research suggesting that the heartland of Mesoamerican agriculture was in western Mexico, which has important implications for the place of that region in Mesoamerica as a whole and in areas, like the Southwest, subject to Mesoamerican influence in prehistory.  The main research I was talking about is contained in two papers [...]... Read more »

  • November 14, 2010
  • 11:06 PM
  • 816 views

The Mines of the Future and of the Past

by teofilo in Gambler's House

In 1527 an expedition led by the Spanish nobleman Pánfilo de Narváez left Spain with the intention of conquering and colonizing Florida.  Accompanying the expedition as treasurer was Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, who ended up being one of a handful of survivors of the disastrous expedition.  Cabeza de Vaca later wrote an account of [...]... Read more »

  • February 28, 2010
  • 09:07 PM
  • 815 views

Athapaskan Continuities

by teofilo in Gambler's House

I’ve recently been  looking a bit into the important issue of the migration of Athapaskan-speaking groups ancestral to the Navajos and Apaches into the Southwest.  Although this is one of the most obvious examples of long-distance migration in prehistoric North America, surprisingly little is known about it.  There’s basically no archaeological evidence establishing when it [...]... Read more »

  • December 21, 2013
  • 05:52 PM
  • 810 views

Facing the Winter Sun

by teofilo in Gambler's House

Today is the winter solstice, which also makes it the fifth anniversary of this blog. I tend to like to post about archaeoastronomy on these occasions, and as I mentioned in the previous post I’m currently in Albuquerque and have been reading up on the archaeology of the Rio Grande Valley. Luckily, a recent article […]... Read more »

Lakatos, SA. (2007) Cultural Continuity and the Development of Integrative Architecture in the Northern Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico, A.D. 600-1200. Kiva, 73(1), 31-66. info:/

  • December 27, 2010
  • 09:42 PM
  • 809 views

Was There Any Cannibalism during the “Great Drought”?

by teofilo in Gambler's House

The best-known examples of probably cannibalism in the prehistoric Southwest all cluster in a very short period of time and in a relatively small geographic area: around AD 1150 in the area surrounding the modern town of Cortez, Colorado.  Perhaps the most solidly documented of these assemblages is the one at Cowboy Wash on the [...]... Read more »

  • March 8, 2010
  • 01:20 AM
  • 808 views

The Volcano Factor

by teofilo in Gambler's House

I’ve written a lot here recently about the Athapaskan migration(s) into the Southwest.  It’s a very interesting topic in a lot of ways.  I find it especially fascinating because although the evidence that it happened is very strong, nothing else about it can be easily determined.  We know that at least one migration of Athapaskan-speakers [...]... Read more »

  • May 25, 2011
  • 09:29 PM
  • 805 views

What Makes a “Kiva” “Great”?

by teofilo in Gambler's House

Although the idea that the small round rooms that area so common at Chacoan sites are ceremonial “kivas” has been increasingly challenged recently, it is still widely accepted that the large, formal, round structures known as “great kivas” were in fact community-wide ceremonial or integrative facilities.  Even Steve Lekson agrees, and he continues to use [...]... Read more »

  • May 22, 2012
  • 12:56 AM
  • 800 views

Linguistics and Archaeology in North America

by teofilo in Gambler's House

The same special issue of the journal World Archaeology that I was discussing in the previous post has an article looking specifically at the relationship between linguistic and archaeological evidence in the study of the prehistory of North America. It is by M. Dale Kinkade and J. V. Powell, two linguists who specialized in the languages [...]... Read more »

Kinkade, M., & Powell, J. (1976) Language and the prehistory of North America. World Archaeology, 8(1), 83-100. DOI: 10.1080/00438243.1976.9979654  

  • December 26, 2010
  • 09:39 PM
  • 799 views

What Happened at Cowboy Wash?

by teofilo in Gambler's House

In comments to the previous post, Graham King raises an important question: assuming that the assemblages of broken, burned, and otherwise unusually treated bones at sites like 5MT10010 at Cowboy Wash represent incidents of cannibalism, what does this mean culturally and historically?  After all, cannibalism has occurred in various contexts in many societies, including our [...]... Read more »

  • May 9, 2010
  • 06:03 PM
  • 788 views

Atlatls to Bows: The Hook Brings You Back

by teofilo in Gambler's House

Atlatl weights are the most widespread attachments to atlatls that are durable enough to survive in conditions where the wooden parts decay, but they’re not the only attachments known to have been used.  Another type of attachment, of more obvious function though of much more limited range, is the “hook” or “spur” near the back [...]... Read more »

Goslin, R. (1944) A Bone Atlatl Hook from Ohio. American Antiquity, 10(2), 204. DOI: 10.2307/275117  

Riddell, F., & McGeein, D. (1969) Atlatl Spurs from California. American Antiquity, 34(4), 474. DOI: 10.2307/277746  

  • January 22, 2012
  • 04:47 AM
  • 783 views

The Density of Cahokia

by teofilo in Gambler's House

The greatest of the Mississippian mound centers, by far, is Cahokia. This vast site contains numerous mounds and is located in the American Bottom area of southwestern Illinois, across the Mississippi River from the modern city of St. Louis, Missouri. This is a highly strategic location, very close to the confluence of the two largest [...]... Read more »

  • October 24, 2010
  • 10:16 PM
  • 781 views

Mesa Verde Water Control

by teofilo in Gambler's House

I’ve previously discussed water control technologies at Chaco, where they were particularly important given the extreme aridity of that area even by Southwestern standards.  There is abundant evidence, however, that water control was a widespread activity throughout the ancient Southwest, even in areas with more reliable water sources.  The best-studied water control systems have been [...]... Read more »

  • April 2, 2010
  • 11:45 PM
  • 778 views

The Importance of Scale

by teofilo in Gambler's House

Mike Smith has an interesting post about the scale of monumental architecture, focusing on the fact that the Templo Mayor in the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan, one of the best-known archaeological sites in Mesoamerica, would fit comfortably as one of several similarly sized elements on the enormous platform at the heart of Tzintzuntzan, the capital of [...]... Read more »

  • March 11, 2012
  • 05:56 AM
  • 775 views

The Figurines of Cahokia

by teofilo in Gambler's House

Among the rarest and most fascinating artifacts associated with Mississippian sites are figurines made of carved stone. These are most numerous in the Cahokia area, although they have also been found in various other parts of the Mississippian world, most notably at the Spiro site in Oklahoma. Regardless of where they are found, however, many [...]... Read more »

  • May 19, 2010
  • 12:48 AM
  • 771 views

Atlatls to Bows: A Very Strange Atlatl from Washington State

by teofilo in Gambler's House

Sometime in the early 1950s a wooden object was dredged from the mouth of the Skagit River, north of Seattle.  It ended up in the possession of Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Johnson, residents of the nearby town of La Conner.  In 1952 the Johnsons showed it to two local archaeologists, Herbert Taylor of Western Washington [...]... Read more »

Taylor, H., & Caldwell, W. (1954) Carved Atlatl from Northwest Coast. American Antiquity, 19(3), 279. DOI: 10.2307/277136  

  • December 25, 2011
  • 01:49 AM
  • 768 views

The “Kiowa Apaches”: Neither Kiowa Nor Apache?

by teofilo in Gambler's House

The term “Apache” is one of the most widely known names for Native American groups, but it’s actually quite problematic.  There is, I think, a general perception that it refers to a specific “tribe,” but it doesn’t.  What it really is, at least as it’s used today, is a designation for all the Southern Athapaskan [...]... Read more »

Hoijer, H. (1938) The Southern Athapaskan Languages. American Anthropologist, 40(1), 75-87. DOI: 10.1525/aa.1938.40.1.02a00080  

Huld, M. (1985) Regressive Apicalization in Na'isha. International Journal of American Linguistics, 51(4), 461. DOI: 10.1086/465932  

  • January 7, 2012
  • 02:46 AM
  • 766 views

Gendered Language among the Pueblos

by teofilo in Gambler's House

  This video has attracted some attention in certain corners of the internet.  It features a (very talented) male actor doing a pitch-perfect impersonation of a young woman saying various expressions that are strongly stereotyped as “female” in contemporary American English.  One thing that struck me about watching the video was how it shows how [...]... Read more »

Kroskrity, P. (1983) On Male and Female Speech in the Pueblo Southwest. International Journal of American Linguistics, 49(1), 88. DOI: 10.1086/465769  

Sims, C., & Valiquette, H. (1990) More on Male and Female Speech in (Acoma and Laguna) Keresan. International Journal of American Linguistics, 56(1), 162. DOI: 10.1086/466144  

  • October 31, 2013
  • 03:32 AM
  • 766 views

Watching the Skywatchers

by teofilo in Gambler's House

I recently finished reading Living the Sky: The Cosmos of the American Indian by Ray Williamson. This is a classic work on the archaeoastronomy of North America, and it’s the best introduction to the subject I’ve found. (Granted, there aren’t many out there.) Although it was written in the 1980s, the research it discusses is […]... Read more »

Aveni AF. (2003) Archaeoastronomy in the Ancient Americas. Journal of Archaeological Research, 11(2), 149-191. DOI: 10.1023/A:1022971730558  

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