Pilgrimage, Materiality, & Phenomenology: To Chaco Canyon and Beyond

Ruth Van Dyke (Binghamton)

 Pilgrimages involve journeys – movements and displacements – as well as spiritual encounters and social transformations. From the Turners’ forays into 1970s liminality, to contemporary ethnographies of tourism, cross-cultural anthropological investigations into pilgrimage have focused on symbols and sacred places, communitas and contestation. But what of pilgrimage’s materiality, as experienced by moving bodies? In this presentation, I adopt a phenomenological perspective to consider bodies in motion; objects carried, venerated, deposited or left behind; clothing worn and gear adopted; trails, markers, and transportation; food and lodging. My goal at the end of this phenomenological journey is to shed archaeological light on the 11th century experience of pilgrimage to Chaco Canyon – the center of the ancient Pueblo world, in northern New Mexico.

*co-sponsored by the Center for Ancient Studies (CAS)

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