Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Anthropology

First Advisor

Catherine M. Cameron

Second Advisor

Stephen H. Lekson

Third Advisor

Gerardo Gutiérrez

Abstract

Perched at the base of a prominent cliff above the Nutria River is the Village of the Great Kivas great house. Beginning in the mid-eleventh century, numerous small sites were constructed around the great house--establishing the Village of the Great Kivas community--a cluster of residential sites distributed along the fertile floodplain of the Nutria River and its drainages. Although the area was not used prior to the A.D. 900s, by the mid-eleventh century this location became the center of an expansive Chacoan community. This thesis is about outlying Chacoan communities in the Zuni region. My study of Zuni great house communities begins at Village of the Great Kivas. Here, during an unusually hot summer in 1930, Frank H. H. Roberts began excavations that would eventually lead to the notion of a connection between Chaco Canyon and the Zuni region. The primary goal of this thesis is to explore the meaning behind the Chacoan experience in the Zuni region and trace the origins, development, and abandonment of several great house communities throughout the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries. Such a broad emphasis can only be approached from community comparisons. Throughout this thesis, I compare Zuni region great house communities to other Chacoan communities throughout the Chaco world, contending that the differences and similarities between Chacoan communities have implications for understanding the relationships these communities endured with Chaco Canyon. Recognizing how Zuni great house communities are different or similar to other Chacoan communities has implications for understanding the relationships that existed between Chaco Canyon and its regional system. Here, I focus on four characteristics of Chacoan communities--community origins, timing, historical events, and proximity to arable land--and contend that these factors, in part, directed Chacoan community development in the Zuni region. The similarities and differences between these themes begin to illustrate how Zuni great house communities participated in the Chaco world and how local developments and histories influenced community construction during the Chaco era.

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