Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Art History

First Advisor

James Farmer

Second Advisor

Michael Schreffler

Third Advisor

Edward Abse

Fourth Advisor

Stephen Plog

Fifth Advisor

Babatunde Lawal


This dissertation provides an iconographic interpretation of a group of Ancient Puebloan human effigy vessels and fragments from the American Southwest, dating to the Pueblo II period, c. 900 -1150 CE. Initially, this project focuses on Ancient Puebloan human effigy vessels from three specific collections; a single vessel in the collection of the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., a human effigy vessel in the collection of the American Museum of Natural History in New York, and the so-called Putnam Human Effigy Jar from Chaco Canyon at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University. This study interprets these three vessels primarily as expressive sculptural forms, as opposed to ritual or utilitarian objects.

Stylistically and formally, these vessels are similar to several other human effigy vessels attributed to the Ancient Puebloan tradition. Two catalogs have been compiled for this study. Catalog A consists of Ancient Puebloan style human effigy. Catalog B presents comparable human effigy vessels created in a variety of ancient Southwestern styles, related to, but considered distinct from the Ancient Puebloan style. Formal and iconographic similarities between human effigy vessels in these cultures and the Ancient Puebloan culture suggest a shared cultural phenomenon, or, at the very least, is evidence of regional cultural relationships. Similar human effigy vessels can also be found outside of the ancient Greater Southwest in Precolumbian cultures. Of particular scholarly interest is the nature of the perceived relationship between the Ancient Puebloan tradition and the cultures of Casas Grandes, West Mexico, and Mesoamerica. The analysis of these three vessels and their associated tradition provides additional insight into this on-going scholarly discussion.


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