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Ritual and Archaic States$
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Joanne M.A. Murphy

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780813062785

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813062785.001.0001

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The Architecture of Ritual and Polity at Chaco Canyon

The Architecture of Ritual and Polity at Chaco Canyon

(p.192) 8 The Architecture of Ritual and Polity at Chaco Canyon
Ritual and Archaic States

Stephen H. Lekson

University Press of Florida

Chapter 8 examines the one state-like polity the U.S. Southwest produced: Chaco, named for the central capital at Chaco Canyon in New Mexico. Chaco was a secondary or derivative state reflecting the form of Mesoamerican city-states. Public ritual almost certainly served and shaped the state, justifying political decisions and developments. Ritual, thus understood, shaped the architecture of Chaco’s urban core and the form of its region. Chaco’s polity continued for almost six centuries (the tenth through the fifteenth) in successor capitals, first at Aztec Ruins and last at Casas Grandes in Chihuahua, Mexico. Southwestern archaeology’s current obsession with ritual obscures this political history.

Keywords:   Chaco Canyon, Southwest archaeology, political history, Mesoamerican, city-state, architecture

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