Anthropology, Department of


First Advisor

Carrie C. Heitman

Second Advisor

Phil Geib

Third Advisor

LuAnn Wandsnider

Date of this Version

Summer 8-2-2019


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 : August, 2019

Copyright 2019 Sara L. Anderson


In the two papers that comprise this thesis, I will be discussing Bone Spatulate Tools (BSTs) specifically those made of artiodactyl humeri found within Chaco Canyon, NM. These archaeological tool types permit the investigation of androcentric biases by way of legacy data acquired using the Chaco Research Archive (CRA). By redressing these archaeological biases, I hope to resuscitate an understudied tool type and highlight their function and importance in Chacoan toolkits. In chapter two, I investigate women and gendered activities by examining Humeri Spatulate Tools (HSTs) that are found at Chacoan great and small house sites. In this study, I specifically evaluate HSTs and their female associations by using a cross-cultural comparison, legacy data, contextual associations, a comparative attribute analysis, and a discussion of use and significance. Several HSTs studied were embellished with turquoise, jet and shell tesserae. These embellishments provide evidence that these tools were cosmologically and ceremonially significant. This investigation allows for the discussion of Chacoan women participating in craft production which may have garnered them elevated status.

In the third chapter, I evaluate Ancestral Puebloan women’s participation in prestige-driven craft production through the use of HSP. I analyzed these bone artifacts at two repository institutions; the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) and the American Museum of Natural History in New York City (AMNH). I traveled to these two repository institutions to compare the embellished HSTs to the more ubiquitous unembellished artifacts. By examining several characteristics including use-wear and polish, I discerned that these HSTs have unique use-wear signatures that suggest their function and significance as utilitarian items as well as their ceremonial significance. To determine HST function, I conducted a five-stage experimental research program to try to create use-wear signatures that I could compare to those seen on the archaeological bone tools. Legacy data from the CRA and the attribute analysis of the HSTs housed at the AMNH and NMNH compared against my experimental research will add evidence to better understand Chacoan HST function.

Advisor: Carrie C. Heitman

Included in

Anthropology Commons