Anthropology, Department of


First Advisor

Carrie C. Heitman

Date of this Version


Document Type



A thesis presented to the faculty of the Graduate College at the University of Nebraska in partial fulfillment of requirements for the degree of Master of Arts

Major: Anthropology

Under the supervision of Professor Carrie C. Heitman

Lincoln, Nebraska, November 2018


Copyright (c) 2018, Jade L. Robison


In the two papers that comprise this thesis, I explore the various intersections of the materiality of memory, the multivocality of particular landscapes, and the memorialization of people and places. In the first paper, I examine how three very different groups of people utilized the Natchitoches Trace, a trail that once extended southwest from St. Louis, Missouri, to Louisiana and Texas. Created by precolumbian groups for trading purposes, the trail was later utilized by early European pioneer families for westward expansion. The 1830 Indian Removal Act forced the repurposing of the trail as a route of exile for displaced Cherokee, an event commemorated as the Trail of Tears. With a focus on the Ozark region of southeast Missouri, I examine how individuals have inscribed the Natchitoches Trace with meaningful narratives via oral traditions, historical accounts, and material remnants. This paper ultimately conveys the multivocality of the Natchitoches Trace trailscape as it was continually shaped and remade by groups of people with different cultural identities and motivations.

In the second paper, I examine the shell ornament assemblage from Salmon Pueblo, a Chacoan great house community constructed c. AD 1090 in the Middle San Juan region of northwest New Mexico. The Ancestral Puebloans who occupied Salmon Pueblo emulated Chaco characteristics and symbols of prestige in many ways, including through the possession and ritual deposition of shell ornaments. The presence of shell ornaments at great houses in the canyon and beyond suggests participation in a regional system of prestige centered on Chaco. In this study, I analyze the spatial and temporal distribution of shell at Salmon Pueblo using data derived from the Salmon Pueblo Archaeological Research Collection (SPARC). As demonstrated in the distribution of marine shell at Salmon Pueblo, Ancestral Puebloans actively used objects of high prestige and social value to consolidate community identity and ritual activities. This thesis demonstrates how memory practices shape human connectivity within cultural landscapes.

Advisor: Carrie C. Heitman