New Publication from Crow Canyon Researchers Looks at Ancient Pueblo Economy

Posted May 30, 2019

The professional publications just keep on coming for Crow Canyon’s remarkable group of researchers, as Laboratory Manager Kari Schleher, Ph.D. and Research Institute Research Database Administrator Grant Coffey have chapters in a new volume edited by Crow Canyon Research Associate and renowned Southwestern archaeologist Scott Ortman, Ph.D.

The volume, Reframing the Northern Rio Grande Pueblo Economy (University of Arizona Press), takes a closer look at socioeconomic developments in Rio Grande pueblo societies following their migrations to the region in the 13th century through the lens of the archaeological record.

According to Ortman and his contributors, early Pueblo economies were organized in radically different ways than modern industrialized and capitalist economies. This is examined through demographic patterns; the production and exchange of food, cotton textiles, pottery, and stone tools; and institutional structures reflected in village plans, rock art, and ritual artifacts that promoted peaceful exchange.

In her chapter, “Community Specialization and Standardization in the Galisteo Basin: The View from Pueblo San Marcos,” Schleher examines the specialization in pottery production at New Mexico’s San Marcos Pueblo, and considers the implications of community-level specialization at San Marcos for the overall Rio Grande Pueblo economy.

In their chapter, “The Network Effects of Rio Grande Pueblo Rituals”, Coffey and Ortman look at the plaza-based public rituals of the Northern Rio Grande Pueblos, and how these events may have been an important economic driver for pre-Hispanic pueblo communities. Through mathematical models and the archaeological record, they argue that these “feast day” types of events strengthened community solidarity and social relationships and acted as an important driver of community size, specialization, economic integration, and living standards.

To order a copy of Reframing the Northern Rio Grande Pueblo Economy from the University of Arizona Press, click here.