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Prehistoric jewelry of the NAN Ranch Ruin (LA15049), Grant County, New Mexico
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Jewelry from the NAN Ranch Ruin (A.D. 600/650-1140), southwestern New Mexico, is analyzed with the following research goals: to describe the physical properties of the jewelry, to provide a contextual analysis in the form of mortuary and spatial patterning, and to interpret the social and ceremonial roles that jewelry played for the Mimbres at the NAN Ruin. Comparative data are provided, when available, from additional sites in the Mimbres Valley and the greater Southwest. The jewelry from the NAN Ruin is of two main material types, marine shell and stone. The most common jewelry types made from these materials are beads, pendants, and bracelets. In total, 1,970 individual pieces of marine shell jewelry, both whole and fragmentary, were recovered from the site. These materials include unidentified white shell, unidentified shell, Glycymeris, Nassarius, Pecten, Haliotis, Spondylus, Olivella, Conus, Coral, Strombus, Turritella, Architectonicidae, and Columbella. The majority of the marine shell originated in the Gulf of California. Shell jewelry was likely imported into the NAN Ranch Ruin from the Hohokam, who controlled the trade of marine shell throughout the region. In total, 10, 185 individual items of stone jewelry and materials, whole and fragmentary, were present at the NAN Ruin. These materials include talc, kaolinite, turquoise, galena, unidentified stone, quartz, slate, malachite, hematite, limestone, pumice, rhyolite, copper, jadeite, and basalt. All of these materials were available locally or within a short distance from the Mimbres Valley. A little over a quarter of the mortuary population (28.1%) at the NAN Ranch Ruin was associated with jewelry. Based on the application of two statistical tests, binomial distribution and factor analysis, there is no strong evidence that the presence of jewelry in the mortuary record is indicative of particular social categories, lineage affiliations, or vertical social stratification. The association of jewelry with specific architectural features, as well as cached deposits, indicate that jewelry was included in non-mortuary ceremonial contexts. Ethnographic data supports this archaeological inference.
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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 249-258).
Issued also on microfiche from Lange Micrographics.
Parks-Barrett, Maria Shannon (2001). Prehistoric jewelry of the NAN Ranch Ruin (LA15049), Grant County, New Mexico. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from
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