Skip to Main Content
Student Activities 2011-2012

Shaza Wester Davis

Working Beyond the Mode: Mortuary Practices at Salmon Ruin
American Archeology Annual Meeting

Salmon Ruin was an 11th century pueblo built on the banks of the Animas River in New Mexico. Excavated in the 1970s, field crews uncovered a series of "unusual" human burials. From the remains of a woman, lying as if she had fallen asleep, to five burials in elaborately-trimmed cloth and fur robes, these atypical burials diverge from modal funerary treatments seen in the pre-historic Puebloan world. Working beyond the modal pattern, unusual burials give us an opportunity to highlight how mortuary behavior can be an active way that groups negotiate cosmological concerns, social orders, and cultural and environmental pressures.