Arizona Archaeological Society



Desrt Foothills Chapter - Monthly Meeting

  • 13 Feb 2019
  • 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
  • Community Building (Maitland Hall) at The Good Shepherd of the Hills Episcopal Church, 6502 East Cave Creek Road, Cave Creek, AZ 85331 (near the Dairy Queen)

DFC-AAS: February 13 – Stephen Lekson

Lecture Opportunity:

Dr. Stephen Lekson presents, Chaco and the Origins of "Pueblo Style."  Archaeology (and Chaco) were present at the creation of the "Pueblo Style," a distinctive contemporary architecture of the Southwest.  It all began in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  At the turn of the 19th century, Santa Fe was small, dusty, and decrepit.  When citizens suggested moving the State Capital from old Santa Fe to modern, progressive Albuquerque, Santa Fe's city fathers – archaeologists at the fore – fought back with culture:  ultimately, with "Pueblo Style."  Old Spanish corner hearths became "kiva fireplaces" and faux vigas bristled from every roofline.  It worked: Santa Fe retained the Capital and became a Pueblo theme park.  Pueblo Style, however, became more than an architectural veneer; indeed, it dominates narratives of regional prehistory, recursively influencing archaeology – once its major inspiration.  This presentation tells the story of people, institutions, and ideas that created "Pueblo Style," and how it now distorts our notions of the region's ancient history.  For example: Chaco Canyon.  Chaco has always been the Great Anomaly of southwestern prehistory; it does not "fit" our notions of how Pueblos work, of "Pueblo Style."  So, archaeology invented odd notions that "normalized" Chaco -- rituality, pilgrimage center, and so forth -- and kept it congruent with (our notions of) "Pueblo Style."  That influence -- or, more accurately, bias -- from popular culture was reinforced by fundamental errors of American anthropology.  If we can get past those biases (our notions of "Pueblo Style" and anthropology's errors), it is quite possible to understand Chaco on its own terms: a key episode in the history of the Pueblo peoples but a place that did not operate in "Pueblo Style."

Dr. Stephen H. Lekson is Curator of Archaeology and Professor of Anthropology at the Museum of Natural History, University of Colorado, Boulder.  He received his PhD from the University of New Mexico in 1988, and held research, curatorial, or administrative positions with University of Tennessee, Eastern New Mexico University, National Park Service, Arizona State Museum, Museum of New Mexico, and Crow Canyon Archaeological Center.  Lekson directed more than twenty archaeological projects throughout the Southwest.  Recent projects include excavations at Pinnacle Ruin in central New Mexico (2000-2008), excavations at Chimney Rock in southern Colorado (2009), and excavations at Black Mountain and Woodrow ruins in southwestern New Mexico (2010-13).  He was Editor of the journal Kiva (2006-2011) and he is currently Contributing Editor for Archaeology magazine.  Lekson's publications include a dozen books, ninety chapters in edited volumes, and forty-five articles in journals and magazines.  Recent books: A Study of Southwestern Archaeology (2018), Chaco Meridian (2015), A History of the Ancient Southwest (2009), Archaeology of Chaco Canyon (2006); and Archaeology of the Mimbres Region (2006).  He curated a half-dozen exhibits, most recently “A History of the Ancient Southwest” (2013-2014) at the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History.

Reception and socialization at 7:00 pm, program begins approximately 7:30 pm.

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