The mid-thirteenth century AD marks the beginning of tremendous social change among Ancestral Pueblo peoples of the northern US Southwest that foreshadow the emergence of the modern Pueblo world. Regional depopulations, long-distance migrations, and widespread resettlement into large plaza-oriented villages forever altered community life. Archaeologists have tended to view these historical events as adaptive responses to climatic, environmental, and economic conditions. Recently, however, more attention is being given to the central role of religion during these transformative periods, and to how archaeological remains embody the complex social practices through which Ancestral Pueblo understandings of sacred concepts were expressed and transformed.
The contributors to this volume employ a wide range of archaeological evidence to examine the origin and development of religious ideologies and the ways they shaped Pueblo societies across the Southwest in the centuries prior to European contact. With its fresh theoretical approach, it contributes to a better understanding of both the Pueblo past and the anthropological study of religion in ancient contexts This volume will be of interest to both regional specialists and to scholars who work with the broader dimensions of religion and ritual in the human experience.