Religion in the Prehispanic Southwest

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Religion mattered to the prehistoric Southwestern people, just as it matters to their descendents today. Examining the role of religion can help to explain architecture, pottery, agriculture, even commerce. But archaeologists have only recently developed the theoretical and methodological tools with which to study this topic. Religion in the Prehispanic Southwest marks the first book-length study of prehistoric religion in the region. Drawing on a rich array of empirical approaches, the contributors show the importance of understanding beliefs and ritual for a range of time periods and southwestern societies. For professional and avocational archaeologists, for religion scholars and students, Religion in the Prehispanic Southwest represents an important contribution.

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Editorial Reviews

William Walker
This volume is a welcome addition to archaeological study in the American Southwest. Papers explore a range of interesting topics including Katsina religion, iconography, ballgames, ceremonial architecture, and religious conflict. The editors should be commended for gathering such an up-to-date and balanced mix of Puebloan and Nonpuebloan traditions. Their choices reflect the growing and exciting innovations in the archaeology of religion in the region.
January 2008 CHOICE
Advanced scholars will find it a challenging and stimulating book...larger research libraries should have a copy, as there are excellent arguments and data sets included. Summing Up: Recommended.
Carrol L. Riley
As is true of all societies, religion was and is a major organizing principle among Southwestern native cultures. Over the last century or more, the religions of this area have been central to many ethnological studies. But a specific focus on religion, especially in a cross cultural context, is quite rare in archaeology.

When dealing with Southwestern religion, archaeologists usually content themselves with a description of ˜ceremonialv artifacts, structures, etc., providing little interpretation. Editors VanPool, VanPool and Phillips challenge the chapter authors of ˜Religion in the Prehispanic Southwestv to speculate as to the meaning of the artifactual data. The result is a richly insightful and authoritative book, describing prehistoric Southwestern religions especially in their interaction with the high cultures to the south. This book is a "must read" for anyone interested in the native religions, past and present, of the Southwest.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780759109674
  • Publisher: AltaMira Press
  • Publication date: 1/18/2007
  • Series: Archaeology of Religion Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.08 (w) x 9.13 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author

Christine S. VanPool is visiting assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Missouri. Todd VanPool is assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Missouri. David A. Phillips, Jr. is curator of archaeology at the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology and an adjunct associate professor of anthropology at the University of New Mexico.

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction: Archaeology and Religion 2 The Horned Serpent Tradition in the North American Southwest 3 Religious Behavior in the Post-Chaco Years 4 New Perspectives on an Ancient Religion: Katsina Ritual and the Archaeological Record 5 Icons and Ethnicity: Hopi Painted Pottery and Murals 6 Gathering Places and Bounded Places: The Religious Significance of Plaza-oriented Communities in the Northern Rio Grande, New Mexico 7 Iikááh: Chaco Sacred Schematics 8 Guanacos, Symbolism, and Religion During The Hohokam Pre-Classic 9 Elevated Spaces: Exploring the Symbolic at Cerros de Trincheras 10 Toloatzin And Shamanic Journeys: Exploring The Ritual Role of Sacred Datura In The Prehistoric Southwest 11 Precolumbian Venus: Celestial Twin and Icon of Duality 12 Religion and the Mesoamerican Ballgame in the Casas Grandes Region of Northern Mexico 13 Emergent Complexity, Ritual Practices, and Mortuary Behavior at Paquimé, Chihuahua, Mexico 14 The Salado and Casas Grandes Phenomena: Evidence for a Religious Schism in the Greater Southwest

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