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Katherine A. Spielmann
Ph.D., University of Michigan, 1982

SHESC Themes: Biological, Social and Cultural Dimensions of Human Health; Societies and Their Natural Environments

Field specializations: archaeology, bioarchaeology, ecology, economic anthropology, exchange and social networks, political organization, social organization

Regional focus: North America (Southwest)


About Research
My research interests focus on prehistoric economies in smaller-scale societies, primarily in North America. I am especially interested in the ways in which economic intensification is fueled by increasing demands for food and goods in ritual, political, and social contexts. One of my primary contributions to the discipline has been to demonstrate the variety of conditions under which small-scale societies with relatively non-complex political systems develop complex, specialized economies. I am also interested in the relationship between diet and health under different subsistence regimes.

I have completed 20 years of archaeological field research in the Salinas area of central New Mexico and embarked on a series of NSF-funded analyses of the wealth of data that was collected over those two decades. One of these analytical projects has focused on the nature and extent of economic specialization among aggregated Pueblo communities during the fourteenth through sixteenth centuries, with a particular focus on ceramics. We have demonstrated that each ceramic type (plain, white, and glaze ware) was the product of a different scale of specialization and exchange.

An outgrowth of this research on craft specialization in the southwest has been a new research project to investigate craft specialization in other smaller-scale societies. The comparative case study that I am engaged in now through excavation and analysis of museum collections is that of the Hopewell of southern Ohio. Like southwestern Pueblo populations, Hopewell peoples dramatically increased the intensity of craft production as demand for objects used in ritual performances grew. There are many contrasting aspects to Hopewell craft production, however, which are important in elucidating the southwestern case study. My current Hopewell research is focused on the earthwork site of Seip, where I will be directing the ASU Summer Archaeological Field School in the excavation of a large structure that may have been a workshop.

The second analytical project involving the Salinas materials concerns the impact of seventeenth century Spanish colonization on Pueblo subsistence, diet, and health. The Salinas data demonstrate stability in farming, a marked shift in hunting, variability in access to European domestic animals, and a significant increase in labor on the part of the Pueblo population following missionization of the region. Ceramic data from the first analytical project have also allowed us to investigate resistance to Spanish missionization through changes in ceramic iconography.

Most recently I have returned to an interest I developed during my doctoral research concerning human-ecosystem interaction. Over the past two years I have organized a collaborative team of archaeology and ecology faculty and students that has initiated both a research and a teaching program focused on Perry Mesa, Agua Fria National Monument, north of the Phoenix Basin. There we are investigating the long-term ecological changes that resulted from a pulse of occupation by farmers in the A.D. 1200s and 1300s.

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Select Publications
Spielmann, K. (2004)
Communal Feasting, Ceramics, and Exchange. In, Identity, Feasting, and the Archaeology of the Greater Southwest, edited by Barbara Mills, pp. 210-232. University of Colorado Press, Boulder.

Spielmann, Katherine A. (2004)
Clusters Revisited. In The Protohistoric Pueblo World, A.D. 1275-1600, edited by E.C. Adams and A.I. Duff, pp. 137-143. University of Arizona Press, Tucson.

Spielmann, Katherine A. (2002)
Feasting, Craft Specialization, and the Ritual Mode of Production. American Anthropologist 104:195-207.

Spielmann, Katherine A. (2000)
Gender and Exchange in the Prehistoric Southwest. In Women and Men in the Prehispanic Southwest, edited by Patricia Crown, pp. 345-377. School of American Research Press, Santa Fe.

Graves, William M. and Katherine A. Spielmann (2000)
Leadership, Long Distance Exchange, and Feasting in the Protohistoric Rio Grande. In Alternative Leadership Strategies in the Greater Southwest, edited by B.J. Mills, (William M. Graves and Katherine A. Spielmann), pp. 45-59. University of Arizona Press, Tucson.

Spielmann, Katherine A. (1999)
Review of A View from the Core: A Synthesis of Ohio Hopewell Archaeology, by Paul Pacheco, ed. American Antiquity 64:554-555.

Spielmann, Katherine A. (1998)
Ritual Craft Specialists in Small-Scale Societies. In Craft and Social Identity, edited by Cathy Costin and Rita Wright, pp. 153-159. Archaeological Publications of the American Anthropological Association 8, Washington, D.C.

Spielmann, Katherine A. (1998)
Migration and Reorganization: The Pueblo IV Period in the American Southwest. Edited by K. A. Spielmann, Arizona State University Anthropological Research Paper 51.

Spielmann, Katherine A. (1998)
Environment and Subsistence in the Classic Period Tonto Basin. Roosevelt Monograph Series 9, OCRM, Department of Anthropology, Arizona State University, Tempe.

Spielmann, Katherine A. (1996)
Impressions of Pueblo III Settlement Trends among the Rio Abajo and Eastern Border Pueblos. In Pueblo Cultures in Transition, edited by M. Adler, pp. 177-187. University of Arizona Press, Tucson.

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Contact: Katherine A. Spielmann

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