Decorated Walls and Tree-Ring Dates South of the Bears Ears with Dr. Ben Bellorado

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Thursday March 25

4:00 PM  –  5:00 PM

Thursday, March 25th, 2021 4:00 p.m. MDT
Online Webinar


This presentation presents the results of the Cedar Mesa Building Murals Project, a five-year study (2013–2017) of decorated buildings at Ancestral Pueblo cliff-dwellings in southeastern Utah that were occupied in the Pueblo III period (A.D. 1150–1300). The project was focused on (1) documenting the distribution and variability of building murals in the area and to date the contexts in which these rare features occur using dendrochronological (tree-ring dating) techniques; and (2) conducting base-line documentation of at-risk cliff-dwellings and other cultural resources before they are further impacted by increased visitation, vandalization, and looting. The results of the project indicate that murals were used to express important aspects of social identities related to community, political, and religious identities on local scales in the early A.D. 1200s. After A.D. 1240, however, changes in mural styles reflect broader developments in the political and ritual systems of the larger region as the large-scale depopulation of the region began. Furthermore, the results of the project demonstrate that the Ancestral Pueblo people who made these murals used them to conceptually dress and animate their homes and other special structures in what appears to be one of the earliest examples of such behaviors in the region. The project was conducted through a partnership with the federal archaeologists at the Monticello Field Office of the BLM and the University of Arizona School of Anthropology and the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Dating.



The webinar is suitable for lifelong learners from high school students to adults.  The lesson is free.



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