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date: 15 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This broad overview considers the long discontinuous and diverse history of anthropomorphic figurine production in the ancient American Southwest. While the primary focus is on the Hohokam, Fremont, and Ancestral Pueblos, other cultural contexts are considered. Numerous figurine styles are described, as are close stylistic relationships between certain figurine traditions and rock art. Stylistic trends in the graphic rock art may have influenced the aesthetics of figurine production and vice versa. Discarded in refuse mounds, cached in association with burials and cremations or in crypts within architectural confines, figurines and their roles were diverse between cultures and changed through time. Regarded as active agents within their respective cultural frameworks, the chapter proposes that they functioned as social mediators, promoted fertility, increase, and community well-being, and as they served as conduits to the ancestors and cosmological entities.

Keywords: Hohokam, Fremont, Ancestral Pueblo, rock art, ancestors, fertility, mediators

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