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The Organization of Turquoise Production and Consumption by the Prehistoric Chacoans
Frances Joan Mathien
Vol. 66, No. 1 (Jan., 2001), pp. 103-118
Published by: Society for American Archaeology
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2694320
Page Count: 16
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For the prehistoric inhabitants of the American Southwest and Northern Mexico, turquoise was not an essential commodity for daily life. Yet, over 56,000 pieces of turquoise were recovered with two burials from Pueblo Bonito, the first site excavated in Chaco Canyon, and more turquoise is found in sites in Chaco Canyon when compared to other sites throughout the southwestern United States from ca. A.D. 900 through 1150. It may have been a long-distance trade item, exchanged for copper bells or macaws from further south, but its primary function was as a ritual item within the regional system. Because turquoise is found in sites established early in the Chaco sequence, this review will examine data from earlier periods to suggest which Bonito phase developments were innovations or continuations of previous practices. Some ritual uses of turquoise followed by contemporary Puebloan people probably have roots extending back into the Chaco era.
American Antiquity © 2001 Society for American Archaeology