The Lister Fellowship at Crow Canyon honors the legacy of Florence and Robert Lister, dedicated archaeologists and friends of Crow Canyon. Every two years a doctoral candidate completing their dissertation in archaeological, ethnoarchaeological, or paleoenvironmental is selected as a recipient. The 2017-2019 Lister Fellow was Benjamin Bellorado, a doctoral candidate at the University of Arizona, whose research interests include ancestral Pueblo maize farming, dendrochronology, ancestral Pueblo architecture, and textile analysis.
On Friday, October 18, Ben will present a lecture based on his research during his time as a Lister Fellow. “Leaving Footprints in the Ancient US Southwest: Visible Indicators of Group Affiliation and Social Position in the Chaco and Post-Chaco Area” will reveal how individuals in ancient societies communicated their social status to others through clothing.
The presentation will focus on the Pueblo people in the northern Southwest United States and how they used clothing to signal their social status. Articles of clothing help provide an understanding about how ancient civilizations in the past have operated, but archaeologists rarely have the chance to study the garments of ancient civilizations due to their perishable nature. However, archaeologists in the Southwest discovered large quantities of well-preserved twined yucca sandals, worn by the Pueblo people at community events and used to signal status to others. The sandals would also leave fancy footprints in the soil, which now helps us understand different group memberships and how people travelled through different geographic areas during the Chaco and Post-Chaco eras.
Ben’s research also documents how the sandals’ designs were used for murals and rock art, by decorating the dwellings and the landscape around them. As a result of his research, Ben has been able to provide the very first database of these designs and murals on rock exposures.
Through the application of clothing theories and cross-media approaches, Ben’s research shows how ancient people put together a complex tapestry of social and political connections and how it tied the Four Corners region together. Ben’s research provides a new basis for learning how Pueblo people expressed their social identity through clothing. He has examined how this expression has changed through time in Pueblo communities. Ben also documented how the Pueblo people used their social identities to de-escalate tensions between groups during a time when their lives underwent dramatic changes.
Please join us for Ben’s lecture on Friday, October 18, at 7 p.m. at the Crow Canyon campus. Admission is free.
More information about the lecture can be found on Facebook.