Peoplehood and the Political Power of Landscape Change: Chacoan Interventions in the Northern San Juan Region

Kellam Throgmorton

Congratulations to Crow Canyon’s Supervisory Archaeologist, Dr. Kellam Throgmorton, who was the recipient of the Distinguished Dissertation Award from Binghamton University!

Kellam’s dissertation research transforms our understanding of how Chaco Canyon as a political and ritual center exerted its influence throughout the larger Pueblo region. Crow Canyon will benefit from his perspectives as he works with his colleagues at the Center to understand the relationship between Chaco and the Mesa Verde region through our ongoing Northern Chaco Outliers Project.

Kellam is the Supervisory Archaeologist for Crow Canyon’s Northern Chaco Outliers Project. He received his PhD from Binghamton University in 2019. His research interests include early villages, sociopolitical organization, landscape archaeology, and architecture. Kellam’s dissertation work considered Chacoan landscapes as a form of political action, and he conducted fieldwork at two Chacoan outlier communities—Morris 40 (near Farmington, NM), and Padilla Wash (in Chaco Culture National Historical Park). He has assisted in research at numerous outliers, including Chimney Rock, Las Ventanas, and Aztec North. Kellam is excited to be working at the Haynie site, and looks forward to sharing his enthusiasm with students and participants.

Dr. Ruth Van Dyke, Professor of Anthropology at Bingham University-SUNY shared these words of Dr. Throgmorton: "I have had the pleasure of working with Kellam for 17 years, on his journey from eager Colorado College undergraduate to accomplished professional archaeologist. Kellam's dissertation is an innovative and exemplary piece of original archaeological research focused on the relationships between landscape and identity during the rise of Chaco. Archaeological attempts to understand the politics of Chaco have been hampered by our application of Western models to the Native North American past. Recognizing this, Kellam adapted the concept of peoplehood from the Indigenous sovereignty movement to encapsulate a shared understanding of identity that is embedded in, and informed by, the intersections of landscape and time. He combined magnetometry, detailed surface mapping, and Bayesian ceramic dating to identify, date, and map ephemeral architecture in two Chacoan communities...

Download the dissertation here

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