3512 - The Rocks Are Alive: Western Pueblo Landscape, Architecture, and Craft Production

By building a dwelling, coiling a pot, or weaving a basket, Hopi and Zuni artisans meld materials from the landscape with personal, human intentions and skills to create new living beings to serve particular purposes. Sometimes these structures and artifacts are meant to last and tell future generations about past lives, and that is how many Hopi and Zuni consultants interpret artifacts and archaeological sites today. Pueblo land speaks and acts through the plants, animals, humans, and minerals that dwell therein. This presentation draws on discussions with Hopi and Zuni men and women about museum exhibit planning, collections management, and repatriation in northern Arizona and New Mexico. Results reveal relationships with landscape that are personal, interactive, and long-lasting. Where archaeologists have emphasized resource extraction and exploitation of an inanimate “natural” world, Pueblo people focus on long-term relationships of reciprocity and respect that are reiterated and reinforced over many generations. In this ontology, everything is living and related to everything else. Traces of the land that bore plant materials dwell in each basket together with traces of the individual who wove it. Building stones still stand because knowledgeable individuals placed offerings of turquoise and cornmeal at each corner of the structure, and because present day people remember and mention ancestral dwelling places in songs and prayers. For archaeologists today, recognizing Hopi and Zuni ways of remembering the past--and experiencing traces of the past--transforms archaeological and museological practice and opens up new ways of interpreting the archaeological record.

Keywords: landscape, craft production, Hopi, Zuni

Author: Hays-Gilpin, Kelley (Northern Arizona University, Ud States of Am / USA)


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