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Benjamin A. Bellorado – “Dressing Up in the Ancient Southwest: The Fashions of Fancy Footwear in the Chaco and Post-Chaco Eras”

April 16, 2018 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm MST

Clothing traditions are important components of all societies, and clothing both mediates the ways people interact with the world and allows us to negotiate identity politics. Archaeologists rarely have the opportunity to study dressing practices in ancient societies, due largely to issues of preservation. When clothes are encountered, they are usually removed from the contexts of their production, distribution, and use, making it difficult to reconstruct their roles. Of all clothing related materials used in the ancient Southwest, yucca sandals have been recovered most frequently, and collections of hundreds of these items are housed in museums across the country. Of these sandals, twined styles were by far the most labor and time intensive to produce and may have been made by specialists. Twined yucca sandals were complexly woven with both geometric color and raised tread designs that left unique footprints when worn. By analyzing both high and low-visibility attributes of their production and decoration, I hope to shed light on ways in which Ancestral Pueblo people materialized group affiliation and social position through their footwear. Additional insights into the spatiotemporal changes in the roles and fashions of different clothing traditions, as well as the movements of associated groups and individuals, are gleaned by integrating traditional artifact-focused analyses of woven garment collections with data from media where woven garments are depicted (i.e., murals, rock art, and decorated pottery). These analyses reveal new understandings of the development of twined sandal production, as well as the associated social contexts in which Ancestral Pueblo people wore and displayed fancy footwear in the Chaco and post-Chaco eras.


April 16, 2018
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm MST
Event Category:


Katherine Cerino


DuVal Auditorium, Banner-University Medical Center
1501 N Campbell Ave
Tucson, AZ United States
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