The Hisatsinom Chapter presents Chacoan Successors with Dr. Erina Gruner

Thursday June 17

4:00 PM  –  5:00 PM

Thursday, June 17th, 2021 4:00 p.m. MDT
Online Webinar


This event is brought to you by The Hisatsinom Chapter of the Colorado Archaeological Society and the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center. Please note that this event will only be available during the livestream, so it will not be posted to YouTube for later viewing.


Around 850 A.D., Chaco Canyon arose as the preeminent cultural center of the San Juan Basin and surrounding Colorado Plateau. Chacoan political power was underpinned by control of restricted religious knowledge by elites, who also controlled access to the rare and exotic materials used in ritual contexts. While religious knowledge was restricted within Chacoan communities, it was exchanged with distant trade partners to access ritually significant rare materials, as indicated by the presence of Chacoan religious objects at trade centers outside of the Chaco area. Dr. Erina Gruner shares recent research into the exchange of Chacoan religious objects (prayer sticks, altar pieces, and ritual costume) within the pan-southwestern networks that exchanged exotic materials such as shell, parrots, and precious stone. She discusses how the migration of Chacoan religious specialists into allied peripheral centers during the late Chacoan period shifted the balance of power in the southwest, allowing the rise of rival polities: Aztec in the Middle San Juan region, and Wupatki Pueblo in the Flagstaff area. Both centers adopted portions of the Chacoan ceremonial program and rejected others, as indicated by the types of ritual paraphernalia used within their radius. These affiliations allowed them different access to external trade partners, turning Aztec into a powerful local center with limited pull in macro-regional exchange networks, and Wupatki into the hub of a cosmopolitan but decentralized community with far-reaching trade alliances.


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



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