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The Social Dynamics book cover image
February 1996
Crow Canyon Archaeology Center

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The Social Dynamics of Pottery Style in the Early Puebloan Southwest

Michelle Hegmon

Native peoples of the American Southwest have decorated their pottery with beautiful painted designs for more than a thousand years. Anthropologists have long recognized that, in all cultures, the materiel of daily life — including the way that style is used to embellish certain types of artifacts — can play a critical role in social relations by communicating important messages about individual and group identity. In this groundbreaking study, which focuses on Puebloan pottery made during the ninth century, Michelle Hegmon relates differences in pottery design style in southwestern Colorado and northeastern Arizona to differences in broad social and cultural developments in the two areas. Her innovative theoretical and analytical approach and her application of archaeological data to questions of broad anthropological concern will be of value to archaeologists, cultural anthropologists and all those interested in the development of prehistoric Puebloan pottery.


Michelle Hegmon is a professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University. Her research focuses on the archaeology of the U.S. Southwest, particularly the Mimbres region of southwest New Mexico.