Living and Dying on the Periphery

The Archaeology and Human Remains from Two 13th-15th Century AD Villages in Southeastern New Mexico

Jamie L. Clark
John D. Speth

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9781647690533 (hardback)
9781647690540 (ebook)

The phrase "southwestern US/northwestern Mexico archaeology" tends to evoke images of multistoried villages and cliff dwellings. But on the eastern periphery of the Southwest, where mesas and mountains give way to vast grasslands, other types of villages once thrived. In this volume, archaeologists Jamie Clark and John Speth document the lives and lifeways of the people who inhabited two of these villages: Henderson and Bloom Mound. The villagers hunted bison on the plains and exchanged meat and hides with Puebloan peoples for pottery, turquoise, marine shells, and other goods. The origins of these close social and economic ties between bison hunters and village farmers, often referred to as “Plains-Pueblo interaction,” have intrigued anthropologists for generations. The excavations at Henderson and Bloom Mound provide fascinating new insights into when, how, and why these relationships came about.

Summarizing results from eight seasons of research, Clark and Speth document human burials and associated grave offerings from the two sites. They discuss evidence for pathologies and trauma, raising questions about the nature and causes of violence that led to the demise of Henderson and Bloom Mound, and the abandonment of many other farming-hunting communities in the surrounding region.