Arizona Archaeological Society



Desert Foothills Chapter - Monthly Meeting

  • 08 Jan 2020
  • 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: January 08 – Pat Gillman

PhD Patricia A. Gilman presents, Ancient Macaws in Mimbres, Chaco, and the Hohokam.  Scarlet macaws were the most spectacular item in the ancient southwestern United States obtained from farther south in Mexico.  They were present and contemporary at Mimbres Classic and Chacoan sites from about A.D. 1000 to 1130.  They were present even earlier in the Hohokam region.  Does the presence of macaws in these three regions indicate a similar use and meaning?  Does it suggest social relationships between people in the various regions?

Pat Gilman argues that people used macaws and parrots differently in the three regions.  For example, about 30 scarlet macaws were concentrated at Pueblo Bonito, although one or two were present in each of three other Chaco Canyon sites.  In contrast, perhaps as many as 15 scarlet macaws were spread among at least eight Mimbres Classic sites, some of them within the Mimbres Valley core and some not.  Mimbres macaws were buried with a person or buried by themselves beneath a room floor, in Great Kiva fill, or in a midden, while most of the Chaco macaws were on floors or in room fill.

These differences support the idea that there was little communality between Mimbres and Chaco in terms of how scarlet macaws were used and probably therefore their role within the social and religious systems.  However, the Mimbres and Chaco macaws all belong to the same rare genetic group, suggesting that they had the same breeding source.  These patterns show the complexity of studying exotic items within their varying social contexts.

Patricia A. Gilman earned a PhD at the University of Oklahoma in 1983 and later retired from the University of Oklahoma.  Pat Gilman has done archaeological field work and research in the Mimbres region of southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona for more than 40 years.  Her initial interests were architecture and the transition that ancient people made from living in pithouses to inhabiting pueblos.  Recently, Dr. Gilman and her colleagues have been investigating the presence of scarlet macaws in Mimbres sites, their dates and DNA, and how they might have been brought to the southwestern United States from the tropical forest of southern Mexico.

The public may attend an Arizona Archaeology Society – Desert Foothills Chapter meeting at no charge, except for the holiday party in December.  The AAS-DFC meetings are held on the second Wednesday of each month, September through May.  There are refreshments available at 7:00 PM and the meeting begins at 7:30 PM, usually ending prior to 9:00 PM.  

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

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