Event: Friday Seminar: "Cremation Practices and Personhood among the Pre-Hispanic Hohokam of Southern Arizona"

Date & Time

May 5, 2017 - 4:00pm to 6:00pm

Contact Information

Matthew Swanson


Fowler A222

Event Type

Friday Seminar

Event Details

Speaker: Dr. Jessica I. Cerezo-Román, Assistant Professor, Department of Geography and Anthropology, Cal Poly Pomona

Changing perspectives on concepts of personhood are explored by deconstructing cremation mortuary customs among the Prehispanic Hohokam of the Tucson Basin, southern Arizona, from the Preclassic to Classic periods (AD 475-1450/1500). The approach used analyzes how people were represented in mortuary rituals through three main bodies of data: (1) biological profile of human skeletal remains, (2) posthumous treatment of the body, and (3) archaeological context. The biological profile of human skeletal remains relates to physical aspects of an individual’s life. Examining posthumous treatment of the body and the archaeological context allow for reconstruction of relationships between the living and dead that are displayed through mortuary ritual. The combination of biology and culture reveals clues to how people were remembered at death by their families, peers, and community, as well as an individual's position(s) within multiple social networks. Results indicate that certain aspects of personhood did not change across time and space. However, by analyzing changes through time in cremation rituals it was possible to infer that some aspects of personhood did change. These changes in cremation practices parallel broader sociopolitical changes of increased social differentiation and complexity among the Classic Period Hohokam.