Date of Award

Spring 4-1-2010

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Catherine M Cameron

Second Advisor

Stephen H Lekson

Third Advisor

Tammy Stone


In the northern Southwest, items of personal adornment were an important component of ceremonial costuming and everyday dress that can provide a wealth of information about the past. People use items of adornment to communicate information about themselves in a non-verbal manner and as a result, these items of adornment are informative of social identity, including age, gender, occupation, social status, ethnicity, social group membership, or ceremonial affiliation. In this thesis, I explore the materialization of social identity as it is communicated or symbolized through personal adornment by examining archaeological evidence from 68 sites in the Ancestral Puebloan Southwest that date between 1200 B.C and 1400 A.D. Multiple lines of evidence are used (ornaments, mortuary data, ethnographic data, and representational media) to attempt to understand and interpret personal adornment practices in the past, and assess how ornaments intersect with these social aspects. The results of this study demonstrate differences in the styles and types of ornaments in relation to age, gender, status and group membership.