A Contextual Analysis of Ritual Fauna and Socially Integrative Architecture in the Tonto Basin, Arizona

Christopher W. Schwartz
  • KIVA, June 2018, Taylor & Francis
  • DOI: 10.1080/00231940.2018.1463684

Ritual use of animals in public spaces

What is it about?

This paper explores how specific types of animals with multi-faceted significance to people in the past were used, deposited, and stored in public spaces (often used for ceremonies or ceremonial storage). I find that ritually significant animals are more commonly recovered from settlements with large, above-ground platform mounds.

Why is it important?

Animals were important to people in the past in many ways, but researchers tend to focus on subsistence. This paper explores ethnographic analogies for conceptualizations of various animals to inform patterns seen in the archaeological record. My findings suggest that animals were used, stored, and deposited in various contexts, many of which may not have been related to subsistence, and that for some animals, their significance to past people influenced their deposition in specific locales and contexts.

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