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In 2015–2016, we feature presenters who will explain the “so what?” of their findings. Accordingly, we encourage audiences to consider not only the past, but also their own place in our human story.
On November 3, 2015, Katherine Dungan (University of Arizona) will present “Religion and Religious Architecture: A Historical Approach to Interpreting Great Kivas.”
In my work, I raise questions about how religion and large architectural spaces are interpreted in the precontact U.S. Southwest and in other non-state societies. Historically, archaeologists have tended to assume that past Southwestern religion and religious spaces were ‘integrative,’ that they served to hold social groups together in an unproblematic way.
The research that I will present at the Archaeology Cafe focuses on rectangular great kivas—large religious spaces built and used in east-central Arizona and west-central New Mexico—between around A.D. 1000 and 1400. Using information from existing collection and archives, along with the results of excavation from the joint Archaeology Southwest/University of Arizona Preservation Archaeology Field School, I take a historical approach to great kivas and argue that, rather than being straightforwardly ‘integrative,’ rectangular great kivas were subject to contestation, reinterpretation, and change through time.
This work speaks to larger questions of religion as both changing and driving social change over time, and, through the reinterpretation and reanalysis of a number of existing collections, helps to demonstrate the value of research carried out within a preservation ethic. The presentation will also serve to present some of the results of the 2011 and 2012 Field School to a broader audience.
Archaeology Café is an informal forum where adults can learn more about the Southwest’s deep history and speak directly to experts. We have based Archaeology Café on the science pub or science cafe model that developed in Europe and quickly spread to major American cities. At Archaeology Café, we break down the static, jargon-laden dynamic of traditional lectures, and have an expert share some ideas with the group in ways that get discussion going. (Food and drink make things a little livelier, too.)
The program is free, but participants are encouraged to order their own refreshments. Although kids may attend with adult supervision, Archaeology Cafés are best for adults and young adults.
If accommodation is needed due to disability, please contact Kate Gann by email or phone, 520-882-6946 x 16.
Place: We meet on the patio of Casa Vicente, 375 S. Stone Ave., Tucson. Enter through the restaurant.
Time: Presentations begin after 6:00 p.m. It is best to arrive before 5:30 p.m., as seating is open and unreserved, but limited. Share tables and make new friends!
Cost: Archaeology Café is free, but guests are encouraged to order their own refreshments from the menu.
The 2015–2016 season is made possible, in part, by Arizona Humanities.