Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Catherine M Cameron
Stephen H Lekson
Patricia A. Gilman
This dissertation uses new data from Woodrow Ruin to examine the Late Pithouse (AD 550-1000) to Classic period (AD 1000-1130) transition in the Mimbres region of southwest New Mexico. Prior explorations of the Mimbres Late Pithouse to Classic transition have lacked data from one of the largest sites in the region. Woodrow Ruin is a large, multi-component site that had previously received little professional investigation. Fieldwork at Woodrow Ruin for this dissertation demonstrated that it had a long, continuous occupation with a dense population during the Transitional period. Numerous techniques were used to procure data on the occupational history of Woodrow Ruin, and Late Pithouse to Classic period transformations. Surface survey, GPS mapping, and magnetometry were used to assess the number of structures present at the site and how the site’s population transformed through time. Eight structures were excavated to provide information on the Late Pithouse, Transitional, and Classic period occupations of the site. Ceramics, chipped stone, and botanical material from those structures was used to assess changes in subsistence, trade, and interaction between the Late Pithouse and Classic periods.
Earlier archaeological investigations of the Mimbres Late Pithouse to Classic transition focused primarily on architecture. Data from Woodrow Ruin indicate that while significant architectural alterations occurred, these were only part of a suite of dramatic of transformations. Evidence of changes in trade and exchange networks, ritual practices, ideology, and social structure during the Transitional period were all found at Woodrow Ruin.
Along with delineating multiple Transitional period changes, this dissertation examines causal factors for the Late Pithouse to Classic transformations. Environmental data indicates that the Transitional period occurred during a prolonged, severe drought. Resilience and vulnerability theories are used to examine the interplay of drought and social transformations during the Mimbres Transitional period. Anthropologists and archaeologists have used vulnerability and resilience to better understand socio-ecological transformations. Expectations from these theories suggest that while the inhabitants of Woodrow Ruin were susceptible prolonged drought during the tenth century, they were able to persist and stay in place through social reorganization.
Sedig, Jakob W., "The Mimbres Transitional Phase: Examining Social, Demographic, and Environmental Resilience and Vulnerability from AD 900-1000 in Southwest New Mexico" (2015). Anthropology Graduate Theses & Dissertations. 45.