Ancient Southwestern Mortuary Practices

edited by James T. Watson & Gordon F. M. Rakita

“A wonderful addition to the Southwest mortuary understanding. . . . Contributes to a more nuanced and productive conversation about mortuary context writ large across the Greater Southwest.”
—Debra Martin, University of Nevada, Las Vegas


Ancient Southwestern Mortuary Practices
chronicles the modal patterns, diversity, and change of ancient mortuary practices from across the US Southwest and northwest Mexico over four thousand years of Prehispanic occupation. The volume summarizes new methodological approaches and theoretical issues concerning the meaning and importance of burial practices to different peoples at different times throughout the ancient Greater Southwest.

Chapters focus on normative mortuary patterns, the range of variability of mortuary patterns, how the contexts of burials reflect temporal shifts in ideology, and the ways in which mortuary rituals, behaviors, and funerary treatments fulfill specific societal needs and reflect societal beliefs. Contributors analyze extensive datasets—archived and accessible on the Digital Archaeological Record (tDAR)—from various subregions, structurally standardized and integrated with respect to biological and cultural data.

Ancient Southwestern Mortuary Practices, together with the full datasets preserved in tDAR, is a rich resource for comparative research on mortuary ritual for indigenous descendant groups, cultural resource managers, and archaeologists and bioarchaeologists in the Greater Southwest and other regions.


Contributors: Nancy J. Akins, Jessica I. Cerezo-Román, Mona C. Charles, Patricia A. Gilman, Lynne Goldstein, Alison K. Livesay, Dawn Mulhern, Ann Stodder, M. Scott Thompson, Sharon Wester, Catrina Banks Whitley

Publication supported, in part, by the Arizona Archaeological & Historical Society.

James T. Watson is associate curator at the Arizona State Museum and associate professor of anthropology at the University of Arizona. His research examines health and disease in prehistoric populations through their skeletal remains.

Gordon F. M. Rakita is professor of anthropology and director of academic technology at the University of North Florida. His work focuses on bioarchaeology, anthropological approaches to mortuary and other ritual behavior, physical anthropology, evolutionary theory, analytical data management and statistical analyses, and emergent social inequality and complexity.

Imprint: University Press of Colorado

Book Details

  • Hardcover Price: $74.00
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-64642-012-4
  • Ebook Price: $59.00
  • 30-day ebook rental price: $29.50
  • EISBN: 978-1-64642-013-1
  • Publication Month: June
  • Publication Year: 2020
  • Pages: 300
  • Illustrations: 33
  • Discount Type: Short
  • Author: edited by James T. Watson & Gordon F. M. Rakita
  • ECommerce Code: 978-1-64642-012-4