Prehistoric Wall Decoration in the American Southwest: A Behavioral Approach
AuthorMeyers, Julia Isabell
AdvisorAdams, E. Charles
Committee ChairAdams, E. Charles
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.
AbstractMajor social and demographic changes occurred during the Pueblo IV Period (AD 1300-1600) in the American Southwest. Small scattered communities aggregated into large settlement centers with more complex social organization during this period. Mural paintings created at this time are dramatically different stylistically from murals created before the social and demographic shift. At Homol'ovi in northeastern Arizona, these mural changes were accompanied by changes in plastering behaviors, including the development of distinct pigment use patterns.The hypothesis of the present study is that the visual performance characteristics of Hopi wall decorations, such as pigment sources, wall plaster colors and mural painting motifs, were part of a complex communicative system that changed as social power relationships changed and new rituals were established to support and legitimize the new social organization.Using inexpensive optical plaster and mural analysis techniques and XRF analysis of pigment samples from the ancestral Hopi sites of Homol'ovi I, Homol'ovi II and Chevelon, this research demonstrates the significance of wall decorations as social and political indicators marking transitions that occurred during the Pueblo IV and contact periods.