AuthorWalker, William Howard.
Committee ChairAdams, E. Charles
Schiffer, Michael B.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractWhat is the behavioral evidence of ritual prehistory? How can the development of new archaeological method and theory enable prehistorians to identify ritual deposits and reconstruct the ritual past? This dissertation addresses these questions in a case study of puebloan sites in the U.S. Southwest. Rather than attempting to identify prehistoric belief systems, it uses an artifact life-history approach to create expectations about how certain artifacts were made, used and especially disposed of in ritual contexts. Fill and floor deposits from ceremonial structures (kivas) at the ancestral Hopi pueblo of Homol'ovi II are interpreted using this approach. These deposits are then linked to a greater ritual disposal tradition whose roots extend into Basketmaker times. These findings are also applied to fragmentary skeletal remains that have previously been attributed to cannibalism and warfare. An alternative explanation, witchcraft persecution is offered.