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Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 28 (2009) 177190

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The signs of the sacred: Identifying shamans using archaeological evidence

Christine S. VanPool *
Department of Anthropology, 201 Swallow Hall, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211-1440, United States

a r t i c l e

i n f o

a b s t r a c t
Anthropologists have determined that shamanism is a robust cross-cultural pattern, but they still have many methodological and theoretical issues to resolve. Central to archaeological religious studies is the need to develop a general and rigorous methodology for identifying the presence and structure of shamanism. This discussion begins by discussing shamans as a polythetic class and proposes that shamans and priests as they are commonly dened do not represent dichotomous religious structures, but rather reect two ends of a continuum. The paper then presents a methodology for identifying and studying shamanism based on cross-cultural regularities in shamanic tools (sacra) and shamanic experiences. The methodology is then applied to the Casas Grandes region and Pottery Mound, both from the North American Southwest, and indicates that shamanic ritual was likely present during the late prehistoric occupation of the region. 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Article history: Received 24 September 2008 Revision received 15 February 2009 Available online 26 March 2009 Keywords: Religion Shamanism Iconography Southwest

Introduction Archaeological analyses of past religious systems are becoming increasingly common, and represent a major area of anthropological research (Rakita and Buikstra, 2008, p. 2). This includes a uorescence of books and articles written on shamanism by professional archaeologists over the past decade (Aldhouse-Green and Aldhouse-Green, 2005; Emerson, 2003; Lewis-Williams, 2002; Lewis-Williams and Pearce, 2005; McCall, 2007; Pearson, 2002; VanPool and VanPool, 2007; Whitley, 2000). These studies are based on a robust empirical pattern initially identied by ethnologists who found that religious practitioners from across the globe initiate trance states, generally called altered states of consciousness (ASC), for the purpose of communing with spirits. Subsequent research by other anthropologists and researchers in related elds have further validated the etic category of shamanism, dened as individual, part-time practitioners who commune with spirits (Jones, 2006). Interest in shamanism in general has been increasing amongst anthropologists. The journal Anthropology of Consciousness, published by the American Anthropological Association, in fact lists shamanism as one of its major areas of interest, and a recent review of shamanic studies nds there is a robust body of scholarly research on the subject (Jones, 2006). Archaeological research, however, is absent from Joness (2006) review, presumably indicating it has yet to contribute signicantly to this research topic.

* Fax: +1 573 884 5450. E-mail address: 0278-4165/$ - see front matter 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.jaa.2009.02.003

Given that shamanism has been documented around the world, archaeologist can be certain it was also present in the past. A number of regionally isolated studies indicates this is true, but the lack of systematic archaeological study of the topic is an impediment to the anthropological study of religion. One key to improving the archaeological study of shamanism is the development of a general methodology for identifying the presence of shamanism and discovering its basic structure using material culture. Research into shamanism using archaeological data has focused on a heuristic set of tools that shift from context to context and researcher to researcher. Whilst there is nothing inherently wrong with methodological exibility, a more general methodology based on a synthesis of the relevant characteristics of shamanic practice should allow more useful insights. An explicitly stated methodology should increase the rigour of the arguments by identifying variables and their behavioural correlates that can be examined and evaluated in archaeological contexts. Put another way, a methodology based on middle-range research (sensu Arnold, 2003) connecting archaeological data and shamanism will increase the rigour of archaeological analyses of past religions by clearly explicating the connection between data and the interpretations of shamanic practice. Here I outline such a methodology based on wellestablished worldwide shamanic patterns. I begin by dening priests and shamans and defending the analytic appropriateness of the concept of shamanism. I then discuss the physiological mechanisms that underlie shamanic experiences and summarise the analytic frameworks used to describe and organise shamanism. Next I discuss the shamanic sacra (the tools and iconographic depictions), and propose that archaeologists can determine the presence and nature of shamanic practice by identifying the occurrences and contexts of these sacra. Finally, I provide case studies


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State-level State level Societies

from the North American Southwest that illustrate the application of the proposed methodology and how it can be used to further addresses anthropological and regional concerns. Priests AND shamans, not priest OR shamans Although many scholars of comparative religion are moving beyond it (Carr and Case, 2005; Miller and Taube, 1993, p. 152; Rakita, 2009; Winkelman, 1992), many studies divide religious practitioners into two groups, shamans and priests. These types are often seen as mutually exclusive, alternate states such that a society either has shamans or priests. Priests are full-time religious specialists, typically associated with agricultural societies with social differentiation. They act as representatives working for deities and are relegated to performing standardised liturgies that seek to propitiate the supernatural and mediate contact with the sacred (Rakita, 2009; Miller and Taube, 1993, p. 152; Table 1). Winkelman (1992, pp. 7, 2836) explicitly argues that priests do not seek altered states of consciousness (ASC), and rarely if ever directly interact with supernatural agents. Often their rites are systematically depersonalise and are designed to inhibit the expression of self-referential messages. In contrast, shamans do use ASC and directly interact with supernatural entities whilst working for the people they represent either for healing, nding game animals, or procuring rain (Boyd, 1996; Grim, 1983; Vitebsky, 2001). They typically do have personal, individual specic rituals, and are most common in simple, hunter and gatherer societies. One of the key traits, therefore, for differentiating shamans and priests is the use of altered states of consciousness and the emphasis on becoming a non-human spirit agent (Jokic, 2008; Wilbert, 1972). ASC takes many forms from day-dreams to hallucinations (Lewis-Williams, 2002; McCall, 2007, p. 226). The differences between dream states and reality are actually socially constructed (Al-Issa, 1995). The clarity of these differences have caused shamans and priest to become religious archetypes that are thought to be associated with different subsistence strategies and levels of social complexity (Winkelman, 1992). Many other traits (e.g., apprenticeship, altars) have also been associated with these archetypes (Figs. 1 and 2), although these has been critiqued (Kehoe, 2000; Whitley, 2001). As intuitive as it may seem, however, shamans and priests are not appropriate archetypes and do not reect dichotomous or essentialist types in the sense that they are immutable states wholly distinct from one another. Instead they are analytically useful groupings that reect the cooccurrence of religious traits that tend to correspond with one another as the level of cultural complexity shifts (Fig. 1). Not surprisingly at each end of the continua, the groupings of shamans and priests appear distinct, but there is too much variation and mixed associations of traits to allow researchers to use one or
omplex Co Simple e

S man Sham n-lik ike Pri iest t-lik ke



P i Priests
Full time Practitioners (with codified knowledge and rituals)

Individual practitioners (own their own Rit and d spirit i it creatures) t ) Rites

ssa imple


Fig. 1. Illustration of variables that shift with increasing complexity to create the polythetic classes of shamans and priests. Ovals encompass the commonly accepted traits of shamans in the lower left-handed side, and priests in the upper portion of the graph.

the other of these terms in every situation (at least if one wants them to be meaningful). Researchers of course often recognise this (albeit they have not quite conceptualised it like Fig. 1), which is why some use terms like shaman-like or shamanpriests (Carr and Case, 2005; VanPool, 2003a). It is entirely possible that aspects of shamanic practices continue long after the focus of a religious system has shifted to full-time practitioners (priests) (Miller and Taube, 1993, p. 152). Maya scholars for example have identied the continuation of shamanic practices in Mesoamerica despite the rise of social complexity, state sponsored rituals and the development of priesthoods (Freidel et al., 1993; Furst, 1968; Miller and Taube, 1993, p. 152). Winkelman (1992, p. 55) further observes that the presence of priests does not indicate the complete absence of shamanism; shaman-healers were frequently found in societies that have other types of religious practitioners for example (Winkelman, 1992, p. 55). This topic leads to a second, related issuethe appropriateness of shamanism as an analytical concept.

Table 1 Sacra for shamans and priests at the tails of the continua (Figs. 1 and 2). These are based on cross-cultural comparison presented by Rakita (2009), Whitley (2001), Winkelman (1992), and Wilbert (1987). Shamans Iconography including: entopics (e.g., grids, nets, dots, spirals), anthropomorphic gures, tutelary creatures, liminal creatures Psychoactive plants Tutelary creatures in iconography and as fetishes Liminal creatures Individually owned and/or created tools such as pipes, noisemakers (especially drums), crystals, fetishes, and sucking tubes. These may be buried with their owner or transferred to an apprentice shaman, if the spirit requests it Private or personal ritual space and also places with controlled access to liminal spaces (e.g., caves or mountaintop shrines) Sacra stored in private spaces or left in caves or shrines. Therefore there should not be a systematic pattern to the sacra, although they may be clustered in certain locations Priests The divine written word. Limited specialists to write and read the word. Standardised texts Statuary and carvings of the deities Standardised ritual paraphernalia that should be found within a broad region (e.g., chalices, statuary). Musicians associated with the priesthood Large-scale public ceremonial spaces Storage area(s) for sacra when not in use, potentially creating repeated standardised caches of sacra within the ceremonial complex

C.S. VanPool / Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 28 (2009) 177190

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Individual practitioners (own their own Rites and spirit creatures)

Full time Practitioners (with codified knowledge and rituals)



Fig. 2. Ritual paraphernalia (sacra) used by Shamans and/or Priests. Utilized tools represent polythetic units that are adapted as they are needed by different practitioners.

Shamanism as a polythetic class The concept of shamanism has a long and productive history in anthropological analysis, but has also been heavily critiqued in large part because the term cannot be dened to refer to a uniform homogeneous group dichotomous with priests. This ambiguity has led to three related objections: the term is inconsistently dened, it obscures signicant behavioural variation, and it is insensitive to peoples who practice culturally unique religions (e.g., Aldhouse-Green and Aldhouse-Green, 2005; Hays-Gilpin, 2004, pp. 13, 89; Kehoe, 1996, 2000; McCall, 2007; Tedlock, 2005). Each of these criticisms (which could be applied equally well to terms such as priest) has some validity, but ultimately fail to undermine the analytic utility of shamanism for several reasons (see Whitley, 2001; Womack, 2001). Kehoe (1996), for example, argues that shamanism is so inconsistently dened that it cannot refer to a meaningful behavioural pattern. She is correct that there are many different denitions of shamanism, some of which are indeed incompatible. These differences reect honest disagreements amongst scholars and regional differences in culture and local historical sequences that produces different associations of the traits illustrated in Fig. 1. Shamanism cannot be dened as an internally homogeneous type but instead should be dened polythetically, in which members share many, but not all of the dening characteristics (cultural historical types and biological taxa are also polythetic [Mayr, 1969; Simpson, 1959]). This is of course true for priests, ceremonialists or any other group of religious practitioners one denes. Thus, critiques like that of McCall (2007) that holds one should not simply add the term shaman and stir to come up with an interpretation are well reasoned, and underscores the need to clearly indicate the structure of shamanic practice in its specic culturalhistorical setting as opposed to reecting an essentialist type that needs only to be discovered. As with all archaeological interpretations, studies of shamanism (and religion in general) should be based on multiple lines of evi-

dence. However, the inconsistent denition of shamanism does not necessitate that the concept is worthless (Jones, 2006; Kendall, 2002; Womack, 2001). Most archaeological terms, from bifacial thinning ake to a chiefdom, are dened in different ways by various researchers (see for example Bawden, 1996 and Leonard and Jones, 1987 who document the inconsistent denitions of socio-political designations such as band-tribe-chiefdom-state), yet archaeologists still nd these terms analytically useful so long as they are clearly dened in specic contexts. Discarding all terms that are inconsistently dened would require the elimination of virtually all archaeological nomenclature, including such basic terms such as archaeological sites, which can mean very different things in different culture areas and legal contexts (Dunnell, 1992; Ebert, 2001). Further, eliminating terms such as shamanism that protably label similar cultural practices identied through time from across the globe undermines the comparative approach that underlies anthropological research. A more useful alternative to just rejecting the label is to accept that shamanism is an etic term that by its very nature will be applied in slightly different ways by those who encounter different religious systems. Here I use a broad, but generally accepted denition: a religious system in which individuals work for their people by directly interacting with the spirit world1 (Freidel et al., 1993, pp. 3338; Grim, 1983; Hays-Gilpin, 2004, p. 61; Joralemon and Sharon, 1993; Lewis-Williams and Dowson, 1988; Myerhoff, 1976, p. 99; Narby and Huxley, 2001; Peters and Price-Williams, 1980; Vitebsky, 2001; Whitley, 2000, p. 156; Wilbert, 1987). The inconsistency of shamanisms denition leads into the second criticism, that using this term obscures signicant behavioural variation. Whilst anthropologists acknowledge that every culture is unique in regards to both its history and specic cultural practices, much knowledge has been generated by identifying crosscultural similarities as well as differences (e.g., Ember and Ember, 2001; Lekson, 2002; Peregrine, 2004; Womack, 2001). It is a truism that all cross-cultural patterns imperfectly reect the variation in specic cultural traditions, but failing to consider the cross-cultural patterns would irreparably harm both the practice and the potential of anthropological archaeology (Ember and Ember, 1995; Trigger, 2003). This is especially true for the study of religion, which is in its formative years in archaeological research (Rakita and Buikstra, 2008; VanPool et al., 2006a). Examining difference and similarities between past cultures will provide greater insight and a more intellectually robust anthropological study than a return to extreme cultural particularism (Chrisomalis, 2006; Peregrine, 2004). This in turn raises the third objection, that the use of the term shamanism is culturally insensitive because it ignores the culturally specic terms and frameworks for various religious practitioners in each culture (Kehoe, 1996, 2000). Undoubtedly the emic terms people use for their religious practitioners should be used when possible, whether they are curanderos (Peruvian), chayanyi (Keresan), or any of the other shamanistic terms people have used for at least the last 50,000 years since we started having clear religious expression. This would be more respectful to the people anthropologists study (Kehoe, 2000), but there would still be a need for synthetic concepts such as shamans and priests. Most archaeologists, however, work with extinct cultures and it is simply impossible to know what the culturally specic nomenclature was for their religious practitioners. Using some sort of alternative terms such as brujo (Spanish for witch) and overly ambiguous terms such as healer, seer, or religious practitioners are
1 While shamans might gatherer social prestige and power, shamans who use their shamanic abilities for their own empowerment are typical considered witches, whereas those who use their abilities for the good of the community are considered shamans.

Co omplex

Simple e

S man Sham n-lik ike Pri iest t-lik ke

P sts Prie s


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not viable alternatives given that these are no more (and may in fact be less) culturally and analytically appropriate than shaman, priest, and other commonly used terms. In short, studies of shamanism can usefully and reliably describe a cross-cultural religious pattern (Jones, 2006, p. 20) whilst providing the analytic exibility to examine variation within the pattern in specic cultural contexts. What is necessary is to be mindful of the fact that there will be considerable variation amongst different cultures, and that identifying shamans, priests, or any other category of religious practitioners is only the rst step towards understanding a cultures religious structure. The use of these concepts will then help researchers identity and communicate the traits that are unique to each culture. Far from obscuring cultural variation as Kehoe (2000) suggests, analytical units such as shamanism are useful tools for identifying it. The mechanics of shamanism As previous mentioned, shamanism is generally dened as a religious system in which individuals act as religious intermediaries between humans and supernaturals. Shamans are capable of directly interacting with spirits during waking or dreaming, but sometimes it is necessary for a shaman to transforms into spirit beings themselves. They transform into spiritual creatures through rituals that induce Altered States of Consciousness (ASC) to create what Harner (1980) has called Shamanic States of Consciousness (SSC). SSC is distinct from ASC in that SSC is considered a supernatural encounter within its cultural framework. All SSC are based on ASC, but not all ASC are SSC. Here I use these terms to distinguish between the process of creating a trance states (ASC) and the interpretation of these trances as to gain access to the spirit world (SSC). During SSC, shamans often report travelling to the supernatural realm to gain help/knowledge from spirits for healing, manipulating weather (e.g., rain seeking), divinations, ensuring successful hunts or raids, nding lost objects, killing enemies, or other important activities such as ensuring fertility and fecundity for the benet of their people (Atkinson, 1987; Boyd, 1996; Dobkin de Rios, 1976; Eliade, 1964, p. 35; Freidel et al., 1993; Furst, 1972; Grim, 1983; Joralemon and Sharon, 1993; Myerhoff, 1976, p. 99; Narby and Huxley, 2001; Peters and Price-Williams, 1980; VanPool, 2003a; Vitebsky, 2001; Whitley, 2000, p. 156; Wilbert, 1987). Physiological uniformity and the structure of the human neurophysiologic system limit the ways that ASC is achieved and experienced cross-culturally. This in turn creates consistencies in some shamanic practices and allows one to form expectations of how shamanic ritual can be expressed in a culture, its archaeological remains and iconography (Lewis-Williams and Dowson, 1988; Whitley, 2001). ASC can be initiated through fasting, dehydration, extreme pain, blood loss, sleep deprivation, drumming and chanting, and ingesting psychoactive chemicals. These are not mutually exclusive, and most shamans use them in combination. Sometimes only a minor difference in a state of being is needed (dreaming). Other times, the shaman will initiate powerful hallucinations often with psychoactive plants and possibly lose consciousness (e.g., witch hunting [Schultes and Hofmann, 1979; Parsons, 1996]). The use of psychotropic plants for inducing ASC is a global phenomenon (Schultes et al., 2001). New World shamans commonly used tobacco, peyote, and/or datura, each of which produces different experiences in ASC (Brown, 1997; Furst, 1972; Huckell and VanPool, 2006; Myerhoff, 1976; Schultes and Hofmann, 1979; Von Gernet, 1992, 2000; Wilbert, 1987). The sensations differs depending on the specic psychoactive agent and other means to reach ASC, but humans generally experience visual and auditory hallucinations, the feeling of ight or swimming, and extreme emotional experiences including fear and perhaps the sense of dying. These

experiences are often depicted in rock art and other mediums such as Huichol yarn paintings or Casas Grandes Medio period pottery (Boyd, 1999; Furst, 2003; Lewis-Williams, 2002; Schaafsma, 1998; VanPool and VanPool, 2007; Whitley, 2000). ASC is fundamentally an experience of sight (visual hallucinations), typically consisting of geometric entopic images such as dots, grids, lattices, honeycombs, checkerboards, arcs, cobwebs, tunnels, stars, and spirals (Bressloff et al., 2001; Klver, 1966; Lewis-Williams and Dowson, 1988; Siegel and Jarvik, 1975). Humans, even the blind, report seeing geometric visual hallucinations of these entopic images in the complete absence of light (Bressloff et al., 2001, p. 300). Bressloff et al. (2001) and Lewis-Williams and Dowson (1988, p. 202) differentiate between entopics, dened as being largely geometric visual percepts, and hallucinations, which are more complex iconic visions that take recognisable forms beyond the geometric shapes (Lewis-Williams and Dowson, 1988, p. 202). Both entopic images and hallucinations are universal, but their utilisation and interpretation by shamans in SSC are culturally specic. Geometric zigzags with grids might be labelled snakes in some cultures or plumed serpents in others (VanPool and VanPool, 2007, p. 75). Often the utilisation and interpretation of entopic imagery is taught through apprenticeships with experienced shamans (Whitley, 1994, p. 366).2 Understanding the cultural lter used to interpret the hallucinations encountered during SSC should be central to the anthropology of religion, given that it reects cultural transmission between the practitioners, aspects of a cultures cosmology, and their view of the spirit world. Perhaps surprising to most who smoke cigarettes today, the extremely high nicotine content in native tobacco causes powerful hallucinations (Wilbert, 1987). It was consequently one of the preferred hallucinogens used nearly everywhere in the Americas, where it is commonly associated with pipe ceremonialism and bird imagery (Brown, 1997, p. 474; Huckell, 1998; Huckell and VanPool, 2006; Jones and Morris, 1960; Robicsek, 1978; Switzer, 1969, p. 1; VanPool, 2003a; Von Gernet, 1992, p. 137, Von Gernet, 2000, pp. 7980; Whitley, 2000; Wilbert, 1987, p. 184; Winter, 2000). The focus on pipes is also not surprising given that smoking is the most efcient means of getting nicotine into the system (Wilbert, 1987, pp. 124, 141). According to ethnographic reports and medical studies, extreme nicotine intoxication from tobacco blocks the colour receptors, causing the intoxicated individual to see only white, yellow, and black; tobacco shamans report that people look ghost-like (Wilbert, 1987, pp. 167171). In contrast, buds of peyote, a small spineless cactus, can be chewed fresh or after they are dried to cause vividly coloured hallucinations (Furst, 2003; MacLean, 2001; Schultes and Hofmann, 1979; Schultes et al., 2001). Peyote has been used since at least the Archaic period in northern Mexico and the American Southwest (Boyd, 1996), and continues to be used today by various groups in North America, especially by members of the Native American Church and the Huichol of West Mexico. MacLean (2001), Furst (2003) and Siegel and West (1975) all note that the beaded and yarn art of the Huichols often depict shamanic themes, and employ vivid colours characteristic of the visions seen in peyote induced ASC. Furthermore, MacLeans work with a Huichol shaman indicates that peyote SSC not only produces certain vivid colours3 (violet, purple, brownish oranges, blue, chocolate browns, light dove-gray browns, uorescent greenish-yellow, and uorescent orange-yellowwhat used to be called Day-go colours on psychedelic posters of the 1960s), but also lacks green,
2 Siegel and West (1975) found that it was critical to train their subjects in their clinical test when taking hallucinogenic drugs. 3 For interpretation of color in Figs. 3, 8, 9, the reader is referred to the web version of this article.

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black, and white (MacLean, 2001, pp. 314, 315) (Fig. 3). This is quite distinct from nicotine intoxication in which black and white are two of the three primary colours observed. Datura from its root to its nectar possesses powerful and extremely poisonous alkaloids (scopolamine, hyoscyamine, and atropine) (Bye, 1986: Table 4). As members of the tropane alkaloid group, they inhibit activities of the central nervous system, and produce extremely powerful and often quite disturbing hallucinations (Claus et al., 1970). Like tobacco and peyote it has been used for millennia throughout the New World by various groups (Brown, 1997; Huckell and VanPool, 2006; Schultes and Hofmann, 1979). Schultes and Hofmann (1979, p. 142) found that South American shamans frequently boiled datura seeds (which can have a particular strong assay of D. stramonium [Morton, 1977: Table 1]) to make a brew. The effects of datura were often so violent that the partaker needed to be physical restrained until he passes out. Then the medicine man interprets the visions as visitations of the spirits and is supposedly thus able to diagnose disease, apprehend thieves, and prophesy the future (Schultes and Hofmann, 1979, p. 51; see also Harner, 1973a). Datura was used in the American Southwest beginning by at least Basketmaker III (AD 400700) times and into the historic period (Huckell and VanPool, 2006). Historically it was occasionally used by the Zuni and Hopi for divination and in healing ceremonies (Schultes and von Thenen de Jaramillo-Arango, 1998, p. 110; Yarnell, 1959). Stevenson (1915) reports that datura was given to put a Zuni patient asleep so that she could undergo breast surgery. When compared to both native tobacco and peyote, datura creates violent and disturbing ASC (Claus et al., 1970, pp. 232, 235, 239; Gowdy, 1972; Shervette et al., 1979). Those who ingest it are commonly reported as bing Hot as a hare, blind as a bat, dry as a bone, red as a beet, and mad as a hatter (Clancy and KleinSchwartz, 2001, pp. 911; Huckell and VanPool, 2006, p. 149). Datura frequently has analgesic effects and is often associated with memory loss (Schultes et al., 2001, p. 110). Medical reports rarely discuss in detail the patients hallucinations, but anecdotal information from Erowid (http://www.erowid. org), a webpage devoted to providing reliable, non-judgmental information about psychoactive plants and chemicals, has a number of experimental experts that report their experiences with datura (as well as other psychoactive plant). The personal narra-

tives about datura are in accord with academic reports (Clancy and Klein-Schwartz, 2001, p. 911; Claus et al., 1970, pp. 232, 235, 239; Schultes et al., 2001) and commonly state that datura intoxicated people cannot differentiate between what is real and what is hallucinatory and frequently had conversations with people that were not present and seeing people they had not seen for a long time or were deceased (see also Andrews, 2000, p. 70; Clancy and Klein-Schwartz, 2001, p. 911; Claus et al., 1970, pp. 232, 235, 239; Schultes and Hofmann, 1979). This is consistent with the use of datura amongst traditional people to talk to the ancestors, the dead, or other spirits (Schultes and Hofmann, 1979). Datura also causes the pupils to dilate, thereby affecting ones sight. Several of the experimental experts reported not being able to read and one reports that pages looked like bar codes. Many worried that they had permanently damaged their eyes. Colours during ASC are apparently not as intense as those associated with peyote, but none of the accounts (either medical or personal) report any colour loss as is the case with both nicotine (only black, white, and yellow) and peyote (with the loss of green, black, and white). As mentioned previously, rhythmic sounds and chanting are commonly used in addition to psychoactive substances such as datura, tobacco, and peyote to initiate ASC. Common noisemakers include drums, rattles, and bells (Grim, 1983; Harner, 1980; Peters and Price-Williams, 1980; Price-Williams and Hughes, 1994, p. 7; Van Deysen, 2004; Whitley, 2001). Popular lore holds that prolonged exposure to constant rhythmic sounds can induce ASC (Wikipedia, 2009), but Price-Williams and Hughes (1994, pp. 7 8; see also Rouget, 1985, p. 175; Vitebsky, 2001, p. 81) observe that there is no direct evidence that the beating of a drum elicited certain waves in the brain, thereby effecting an altered state of consciousness. Regardless, shamans commonly use noisemakers and other noisemakers to draw or house the spirit creatures (Van Deysen, 2004). Often in ASC people experience sensation of vertigo, falling or ying, which is sometime called soul ight or magical ight (Lewis-Williams and Dowson, 1988; Siegel and West, 1975). Shamans frequently report feeling as if they emerge into a New World full of creatures and spirits. In some SSC the shaman sees spirits but also remains awake and cognizant of the physical world. Tarahumara shamans, for example, can initiate SSC that allow them to see disagki, harmful spirit birds sent by witches (Bennett and Zingg, 1976, p. 265). In other cases, a shaman will completely loose consciousness, and (especially with tobacco shamanism) appear dead or near dead to the casual observer (Wilbert, 1987). In these cases, the hallucinations may be considered completely divorce from the mundane world, reecting the underlying real spirit world. In this realm the supernatural entities nearly always include ancestors that can speak through the shaman to help guide or warn their descendants (Steadman and Palmer, 1994). Shamanistic ritual and practice Because shamans mediate between the spirit realm and world of the mundane, they are liminal people who, in the words of Myerhoff (1976, p. 103) are at the thresholds of form, forever betwixt and between. Ethnologists state that liminal states (e.g., from girl to woman) are dangerous and thereby require rituals to ensure the safety of those who are involved (Myerhoff, 1976; Sharon, 1993; Turner, 1969; Wilbert, 1987). The shamanic transformation from the physical to the spiritual is typically viewed as dangerous perhaps in large part because there is true physiological danger in digesting hallucinogens, blood letting, extreme fasting, and other activities for inducing hallucinations (Freidel et al., 1993; Myerhoff, 1976; Sharon, 1993; Wilbert, 1972). Some shamans go so far as to claim that they have died, been reassembled

Fig. 3. Peyote shamanic imagery with Day-go colours (adapted from Siegel and West, 1975: colour plates).


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and merged with their tutelary spirits, and have been resurrected such that their tutelary animal is part of them (Wilbert, 1972; Jokic, 2008). Consequently, the rites associated with shamans are elaborated with rituals and symbols to ensure safe passage between the worlds (e.g., Bawden, 1996, pp. 6575; Sharon, 1993, pp. 166168; Wilbert, 1972, 1987). In cases of extreme ASC, shamanic rituals frequently involve individuals, usually other shamans, caring for the shamans spiritless (and defenceless) body (Wilbert, 1987, pp. 157158), but tutelary spirits (e.g., bears or jaguars), especially bird are ritually sent with the shamans to guide and aid them during their ights (Bawden, 1996, pp. 6570; Harner, 1973b; Sharon, 1993; Wilbert, 1987; Vitebsky, 2001). Typically these tutelary animals are liminal creatures, which according to Whitley (1994, p. 25) can move between one kind of environment and another: earthwater; earthsky; earth surfaceunderground. Shamanic rituals also involve a variety of tools such as pipes or other paraphernalia to ingest drugs, curing sticks or tubes that are used to nd and remove illnesses, shrines or altars that serve as entry points into the spirit world, and sand paintings or rock art that summons the spirits for the shamans (Lewis-Williams and Dowson, 1988; Parsons, 1996; Sharon, 1993; Vitebsky, 2001). These object form sacra, which are those objects associated with a specic cult institution (Knight, 1986). There is variation both within and between cultures in shamanic sacra (e.g., Tarahumara shaman-singers whose only role is to sing during community rites), but shamanic sacra by their very nature form consistent assemblages that reect the shamans need to induce SSC (Boyd, 1996; Furst, 1972; Joralemon, 1984; Lewis-Williams and Dowson, 1988; Vitebsky, 2001; Whitley, 2000; Wilbert, 1987). Hallucinogens are often administered with objects (e.g., pipes for tobacco or enemas for datura juice) (Schultes and Hofmann, 1979). Shamanic rituals also invoke physical symbols, and shamans are known to use feathers, drums, rattles or other noisemakers, headdresses and ritual clothing (Eliade, 1964; Vitebsky, 2001). They frequently build altars that are accompanied by fetishes and quartz crystals (Parsons, 1996, pp. 708710; Sharon, 1993; Whitley, 2001). These tool kits should be observable in the archaeological record. Further, this sacra will provide direct evidence about the content of shamanic ritual and provide insights into the cultures cosmology, especially in regards to the composition of the spirit world. In the following section, I outline general expectations regarding how archaeologists can identify and interpret such sacra and, by extension, how archaeologists can detect and study shamanic practices based on multiple lines of evidence using the archaeological record. Ritual sacra Please note that the discussion presented here is only a starting point and researchers in each region can add or delete components depending on their culture area. Identifying sacra is a hermeneutic process that requires archaeologists to work back and forth between the ethnographic and archaeological records to increase our knowledge about human physiology and the social signicance of shamanism, paying especially close attention to the contexts and range of behaviour. The use of multiple lines of evidence is fundamental for creating strong inferences about the presence and structure of shamanic-based religion in a given culture. Still, the most commonly used, and one of the potentially most informative, lines of evidence is imagery that depicts the shamans directly interacting with the spirits. Priests or other religious practitioners, on the other hand, generally do not travel to the spirit realm, are not thought to die and be united with their tutelary creatures, nor turn into anthropomorphic creatures in SSC (Winkelman, 1992).

Imagery Shamans often utilise imagery (e.g., rock art, sand paintings) to interact with their tutelary spirits and other spirits (Lewis-Williams and Dowson, 1988; Sharon, 1993; Vitebsky, 2001). Rock art panels that are thought be created by shamans typically have entopic imagery (Clottes et al., 1998; Lewis-Williams and Dowson, 1988; Whitley, 1994, 2000), although the validity of this association has been questioned (e.g., Bahn, 1988; Davis, 1988). How can one determine if geometric images reect entopics that are part of SSC? Because shamans are dened as religious practitioners who interact directly with the spirit world, entopic imagery should ideally be embedded with aspects of the spirit world. Thus, entopic images should not occur in isolations but will instead be combined into cosmologically signicant beings, such as the horned serpent of the Medio period Casas Grandes region, which combines checkerboard collars, zigzag body morphology, and other geometrics indicative of entopic imagery into a single creature (VanPool and VanPool, 2007, p. 79). Further, the entopic images and their related spirit creatures will most likely be directly associated with images of tutelary animals and liminal creatures that assist shamans during their rituals. Both Von Gernet (1992, p. 137, 2000), p. 80) and Wilbert (1987, p. 184) have argued that tobacco shamanism is always associate with bird imagery, perhaps because the physiological and biochemical reaction from nicotine intoxication causes people to see ashes of movement that are commonly interpreted as birds (Wilbert, 1987, pp. 133148). Other culturally powerful animals, such as bears or jaguars are also summoned as helpers and depicted in shamanic art in many New World cultures (Freidel et al., 1993; Miller and Taube, 1993). Shamanic imagery also shows shamans with characteristics of an animal or bird as s/he becomes a spiritual creature (Dobkin de Rios, 1976, pp. 6162, 73) or uniting into one conglomerate creature with his/her tutelary spirits that always resides in the initiated shamans body (Jokic, 2008; Wilbert, 1972). It is not surprising, therefore, that rock art researchers nd that unmasked anthropomorphic gures are commonly associated with shamanism (Boyd, 1996; Hays-Gilpin, 2004; Schaafsma, 1994; Whitley, 2000, 2001). The shamanic cosmos is full of liminal creatures and it reects the underlying chaos of the unconceptualized domain which has not yet been made a part of the cosmos by the cultural activity of naming and dening (Myerhoff, 1976, p. 102). Therefore shamans should interact with liminal creatures and the chaos, or, to use Turners (1969) term, the anti-structure. Such liminal creatures in the New World include feathered serpents because they have attributes of both the upper world (feathers) and the lower world (serpents), enabling them to transcend the distinction between the earth and the sky (VanPool and VanPool, 2007, p. 135). As a result, imagery used by shamans typically contains patterned geometric shapes (entopics) associated with images of tutelary creatures (especially birds or powerful creatures such as bear), supernatural non-naturalistic entities reecting liminality (e.g., featured serpents), and anthropomorphs that combine the attributes of humans and animals. Further, shamanic imagery likely provides insight into what hallucinogens were used. For example, the colours used in shamanic symbolism can reect the use of agents such as tobacco (white, yellow, and black images) or peyote (Day-go colours) (Furst, 2003; MacLean, 2001). The colours depicted in shamanic imagery may in fact be central its meaning; some Huichol shamans believe that the colours seen in SSC (as opposed to some sort of spoken word) are the means through which the gods communicate. MacLean (2001, p. 309) states,

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The shaman hears and understands by means of color. These colors are not words or symbols in a linguistic sensethat is, they do not function as a symbolic language in which color x means one thing and colour y means another. Rather, the colors themselves seem to be comprehended in a multisensory way that is meaningful to the shaman. In the case of Huichol shamanic art, colour has more intrinsic spiritual meaning than the subjects of the depictions themselves. Given that shamanic experiences are universal experiences, shamanic imagery will likely emphasise variation between the real world and the spirit world through colour. Hallucinogenic agents differ in their impact on colour perception. The specics of the imagery can be assessed by considering the compatibility of available hallucinogens with the colour symbolism of the proposed shamanic images. How nicotine and datura might be reected in prehistoric iconography is further explored in the archaeological case studies. Noisemakers and musical instruments Noisemakers and in particular drums are the most frequent items used by shamans (Van Deysen, 2004; Vitebsky, 2001). Drums and other rhythmic instruments are often used to summon spirits and evoke SSC (Van Deysen, 2004; Vitebsky, 2001, p. 54). Many shamans consider their drums to be animated entities whose spirits can help the shamans on their journey (Potapov, 1999, p. 25; Vitebsky, 2001, p. 85). Potapovs (1999, p. 25) work with Altai Turk shamans provides such an example: the drum symbolically fullled his role of a superior animal, on which the shaman journeyed into all spheres of the universe. But when in the course of the journey the shamans path was blocked by a river, the drum transformed itself into a boat and the shamans whip into an oar . . . The drum also served as a shelter for . . . the soul of the shaman. Furthermore drums and other noisemakers tend to be painted with important symbols that contain sacred knowledge to augment their power (Potapov, 1999, p. 25). Shamanism should therefore be reected by the presence of actual drums or other noisemakers in ritual contexts associated with shamanic imagery and/or with the depictions of noisemakers in shamanic imagery. Psychoactive plants and chemicals Although not universal, most shamanic rituals include some form of hallucinogenic agent. Shamanic sacra will therefore be indicated by its association with the agents themselves (e.g., macrobotanical remains of datura) and the tools used to administer them (e.g., pipes for smoking tobacco). This can be compared with the imagery (e.g., colour symbolism, types of images depicted) to determine if they correspond with one another. Altars and activity spaces Shamanic sacra is quite extensive, and the use of drums, the creation of shamanic symbolism, and ingesting psychoactive agents often, but not always, involves the use of xed ritual areas where altars and other embellishments are created. These spots are typically viewed as the literal doorway between the spirit and physical worlds, and are often an opening into the earth (caves or springs) or elevated spaces (mountains) and even caves in mountains (Lewis-Williams, 2002; Pearson, 2002). These are viewed as literal entrances into the underworld and upperworld (Bean, 1975; Pearson, 2002, pp. 6970; Wilbert, 1972; Vitebsky, 2001, p. 70). However,

not all cultures have specic shamanic ritual locations, and even when present, shamans will perform some rituals away from these locations (e.g., travelling with war parties or a house blessing). Still, the concentration of possible shamanic sacra in a specic location consistent with shamanic ritual (e.g., caves) will strengthen the certainty that shamanic-based religious practices were present and help focus the archaeologists attention on a location that can provide greater insight into the religious system. Such shamanic ritual locations will likely contain the tools used to administer psychoactive agents, drums or other noise makers, and shamanic symbolism focused on the transformed shaman. Other tools like quartz crystals, fetishes, and altars are also commonly used (Sharon, 1993; Whitley, 2001; Wilbert, 1972, p. 81). (Quartz has a property called triboluminescence that allows energy stored in its crystalline matrix to be released as a ash of light when it is rubbed or scratched with another stone. Shamans worldwide commonly employed quartz to show magical power [Whitley, 2001, p. 140].) A summary of the components of shamanic sacra Taken together, the common components of shamanic sacra create expectations using multiple lines of evidence that will reect the presence and form of shaman-based religion. Shamanic sacra as a set of tools should ideally reect the need of the shamans to attract tutelary creatures, which help them conduct rituals such as curing, travelling safely between realms, and bringing back knowledge and prayers given to them by their deities. They should also ideally indicate that the shamans directly communicated with the supernatural. Table 1 has some generalised suggestions for identifying both the presence of shamans and contrary evidence typical of priests and other types of religious practitioners. These should be useful for helping determine when shamans are not present or if there are religious practitioners that fall somewhere on the continuum between shaman and priest, which has been frequently ignored by archaeologists. Whilst shamanism is found around the globe, not all cultures employ a shaman-based religious system (McCall, 2007). The presence of any one of these characteristics will not adequately establish that shamanism was present in a culture (e.g., images of an anthropomorphic werewolf doesnt necessarily establish the presence of shamans that transformed into wolf-like spirit beings). However, the co-occurrence of many of these lines of evidence will strength the certainty that shamanism was practiced. Also confounding the issue is that shamans and priests can use similar paraphernalia (e.g., incense, altars, images of deities) and concepts (apprenticeship, prayers, and request for divine blessing) (Fig. 2), but they will differ in where, when, and how they access the supernatural (Table 1). The use of non-specialised sacra may also be a productive means of determining shamanism. Caution is also warranted because some of the characteristics that are commonly found in shamanic systems may not necessarily be reected in the archaeological record. Yanamano shamans have a set of sacra that matches the above expectations but is composed entirely of perishable materials (e.g., the long reed tubes used to ingest ebene [Ritchie, 1996]). Next I explore the utility of this approach using two case studies from the North American Southwest.

Archaeological case studies The prehistoric record of the North American Southwest reects iconic families and other evidence of shamanic sacra (Boyd, 1996; Hays-Gilpin and LeBlanc, 2007, p. 127; Schaafsma, 1994; VanPool, 2003a; VanPool and VanPool, 2006, 2007). I present two case studies where the various lines of evidence described above indicate


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both the presence of shamanism and provide insight into its practice. The rst comes from the Medio period (AD 12001450) of the Casas Grandes culture, where I have previously identied what I believe to be shamanic imagery and tobacco shamanic sacra (VanPool, 2003a,b; VanPool and VanPool, 2007). My arguments relied on an incipient form of the methodology presented here, but are strengthened and more clearly formalised by using the proposed methods. Many of the traits listed above co-occur in the iconography and archaeological record at Paquim, the ceremonial centre of the Casas Grandes world. In Medio Period iconography (AD 1200 1450) a classic shamanic journey can be identied by following a pound sign. This curious design is found only on a subset of males smoking, dancing, and transforming into macaw-headed individuals to interact with the spirit world (Fig. 4). Male smoker efgies are depicted with pipes that are morphological similar to those found at Paquim (Fig. 4). These individuals are colourfully dressed with distinctive face markings and textile patterns typical of Casas Grandes gures. They also appear as painted images depicted in odd positions indicative of ritual dancing and other movement whilst wearing headdresses. Similar individuals are depicted with their headdress beside them and a horn or spiral coming out of their heads (Fig. 4), which I believe show the human transforming into a spiritual being (VanPool, 2003a,b). The next gure of Fig. 4 reects a macaw-headed man, which I have proposed is the shaman fully transformed into a spirit creature. The anthropomorphs have lost the facial markings and clothing reected on the Casas Grandes human efgy jars. Tobacco shamans are typically thought to lose their humanness as they become spirit beings (Jokic, 2008; Wilbert, 1972, 1987). A bird rides on top of his leg (Fig. 4). It does not resemble anything found in nature (Casas Grandes artists frequently accurately depict snakes and birds that are identiable at the genus or species level [VanPool and VanPool, 2009]). Its uniqueness and the fact that it is on the leg suggest that it is a tutelary bird travelling with the shamans spirit. Furthermore, the macaw-headed anthropomorphs are sometimes depicted in a horizontal position indicative of soul ight. Again, the transformed shamans are completely devoid of the facial markings and clothing typical of human gures. They are also formed as negative images (outlined with black paint on a lightcoloured surface), making them appear whitish on the pottery

(Figs. 46) (VanPool, 2003a,b; VanPool and VanPool, 2007). Wilbert (1987), as discussed above, found that nicotine intoxication causes shamans to see only yellow, white, and black. Anthropomorphic gures are often depicted on black and white painted pots with little to no red paint (e.g., Fig. 6). This is odd given that the majority (98%) of Casas Grandes Medio Period pottery is polychrome, which have visually striking red and black interlocking designs. Male smoker efgies in particular are vividly painted with colourful red and black sashes and leggings, but the anthropomorphic gures consistently lack red designs on their bodies (Fig. 4). Fig. 6 is a perfect example of such an anthropomorphic gure on a black and white jar, which is also associated with tutelary birds. Colour choice or the lack of it is certainly symbolically meaningful. Here I suggest that as part of his SCC the shaman saw himself as ghost-like as a result of nicotine intoxication. Finally the macaw-headed shamans with pound signs on their bodies are seen interacting with two liminal creatures (feathered horned serpents and double-headed macaw diamonds) that Todd VanPool and I have suggested elsewhere are the primary deities of the Casas Grandes world (VanPool and VanPool, 2007; Fig. 5). Fig. 5, which is a rollout of a pot, reects lots of entopic geometrics including grids, as well as horned serpents with checkerboards, zigzag bodies, and other complex geometric designs or visual hallucinations. This vessel outs all of the artistic rules of Casas Grandes art, which typically includes obsessively bounded design spaces with open designs composed of interlocking and balances geometric forms that are limited to a central band on the upper two-thirds of the outside of jars, and is painted from top to bottom. This pot in contrast is busy without open space and clearly demarcated design panels. It encompasses all of the characteristics of shamanic imagery as outlined above, especially those characteristic of tobacco shamanism: entopic imagery imbedded all around anthropomorphs, zigzags that are embellished and interpreted to be the plumed horned serpent (powerful liminal creatures), tutelary birds, and the use of primarily negative anthropomorphic gures without substantial red designs on their body (there is a touch of red associated with the macaw designs that might reect blood or some other spiritually powerful substance coming from its mouth). There is also evidence of a shamanic ritual space at a man-made cave dug into the earth right in the heart of Paquim called the

Fig. 4. Casas Grandes shamanic transformation (adapted from VanPool, 2003b).

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Fig. 5. Casas Grandes supernatural realm (adapted from VanPool, 2003b).

Pottery Mound For the second case study, I have selected a more difcult context to study the potential presence of shamanism. It is in such cases that the methodology presented here should be most useful in clarifying and strengthening archaeological reasoning and presenting new ideas that can be further explored. Anthropologists have debated whether the historic Southwestern pueblos had practicing shamans. Ellis (1979), Parsons (1996), and Winkelman (1992) suggest that at least some of them had shaman-healers or medicine men. In fact, Parsons (1996, p. 132, originally published in 1939) believed that the term priests for Hopi, Zuni, and the Keresan speaking pueblos was for comparative purposes misleading, and should be replaced by shaman or more generally, doctor. More recently, Hays-Gilpin and LeBlanc (2007, p. 127) observe that shamanism as a form of ritual practice has been documented for many Keresan pueblos, a point that Ellis (1979, p. 444) stressed decades ago, although others disagree (Underhill, 1938, p. 50; see also Lamphere, 1983, p. 762). Archaeologists working in the region rarely use the concept of shamanism and in fact most of the overview books on Southwestern archaeology such those by Cordell (1997, pp. 11, 520) and Plog (1997, p. 23) only use the term when discussing the non-pueblo Rancherias people (e.g., Tohono Oodham). Although she does not believe that shamanic practices were continued in the pueblos, cultural anthropologist Lamphere (1983, p. 755) found that pueblo religion seems to be based on an essentially shamanic worldview adapted to the needs of an agricultural people (which is what one would expect given Fig. 1). This shamanic underpinning and the actual shamanic practices are perhaps evident as early as the Archaic period (prior to AD 400), but Southwesternists typically assume that shamanism ended before the start of the ancestral pueblo period, an assumption that has not been systematically defended (Cordell, 1997; Crotty, 1992; Plog, 1997; Schaafsma, 1980, 1994). Assumption aside, exactly when (and even if) shamanism dropped completely from the religious systems of the Pueblos and their immediate ancestors is an unanswered question. Again I stress that the distinction between priests and shaman-based religions is not a clear-cut dichotomy. Here I suggest that evidence indicates that datura and tobacco visions inspired some of the imagery found on the kiva murals at Pottery Mound, a late prehistoric pre-Pueblo site dating to the 16th Century in New Mexico. Starting with the imagery, Crotty (1992, p. 51) found that protohistorical Anasazi rock art and kiva murals had a relatively high incidence of anthropomorphic and

Fig. 6. White macaw-headed shaman outline in back. Courtesy of the El Paso Museum of Archaeology, Catalogue no. 59-9-57.

House of the Walk-in Well (VanPool and VanPool, 2007; for discussion of the well see Di Peso et al., 1974, pp. 7, 305306). The well descends over seven metres to the ground water level. It has limited access from within the community, and likely was not used for potable water because complete animals (e.g., a bison) and possibly other potential offerings were found in it (Di Peso et al., 1974, pp. 4: 305306). The wells compound had two shamanic caches (jars with mineral concretions, quartz, and small fetishes), seven of the nine pipes found at Paquim, large quantities of copper bells and shell tinklers (noisemakers), and a large jar (ca. 50 cm high) with depictions of two shamans transformed with their headdresses beside them. To enter into the well, one would literally have to step over a human skull embedded in the oor. The contexts of the pipes, the shamanic caches, and the olla decorated with shamans in the House of the Walk-in Well all have the expected characteristics of shamanic sacra and likely reect a shamanic ritual space associated with tobacco use. If so, then the smoking, pipes, shaman caches, and shamanic iconography at the House of the Walk-in Well constitute an iconic family that according to Knight (1986, p. 676) is a set of sacra particularly associated with a corresponding cult institution. This cult institution at Paquim was in all likelihood concerned with water making or rejuvenation, given the context of the Walk-in Well (VanPool, 2003a, p. 708). Multiple lines of evidence, which includes Casas Grandes architecture, sacra, and iconography, support the notion that shamans were present in the region during the Medio Period. In short, all of the elements outlined above co-occur as expected with shamanism and are distinct with other religious practitioners.


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mothmen (Fig. 8). The Oodham and other Southwestern groups note that hawkmoths feed on datura nectar, causing them to become drunk and dizzy (Grant and Grant, 1983; Nabhan, 1997; Russell, 1975, p. 300; Yarnell, 1959). The inhabitants of Pottery Mound and elsewhere almost certainly would have known about this association as well, given that aboriginal peoples throughout the world tend to have detailed knowledge of the plants and animals surrounding them. The mosquito men (Hibben, 1975, pp. 63 and 115), another common anthropomorphic gure, recorded at Pottery Mound (Hibben, 1975: Figs. 45, 86) could also be mothmen (Fig. 9). Unlike mosquitoes, these anthropomorphic gures have the coiled proboscises, which mosquitoes do not have, as well as similar wings to those found on the proposed mothmen. These gures, along with one holding datura stalks, are colourful and contain red, black, brown, yellow, and whitemuch like the earthed colours found in the Southwest today. Recall that datura intoxication does not seem to impact colour perception, so the colour of the depictions seem also reasonable for datura-based SSC.

Fig. 7. Masked birdman from Pottery Mound (adapted from Hibben, 1975: Fig. 18).

zoomorphic gures, although she avoids shamanism as a concept. Kiva murals from Pottery Mounds follow this general pattern (Hibben, 1975: Figs. 1, 2, 8, 12, 17, 18, 37, 69, 76). These images could potentially represent kachina, but this is unlikely. According to Adams (2000, p. 35; see also Cole, 1989), the only reliable indicator of a kachina is a gure with a clearly depicted mask (Adams, 2000, p. 35, see also Cole, 1989). Only one of the six anthropomorphic birdmen is clearly wearing a mask (Fig. 7) (Hibben, 1975: Fig. 18). If Adams is correct, then only one masked birdman can be considered a kachina. The other ve images may reect actual birdmen. Likewise several human-headed insect gures depicted without masks might be transformed shamans. They have antennae, humanoid legs and arms, large wings coming off of their backs, and a smaller set of wings coming off the ends of their bodies. They also hold stalks of plants with spiny round terminal capsules (Hibben, 1975: Fig. 8) that Lisa Huckell identied as datura capsules (personal communication 2003). These anthropomorphs are likely

Fig. 9. Mosquito men that might be mothmen from Pottery Mound (adapted from Hibben, 1975: Fig. 86).

Fig. 8. Mothmen from Pottery Mound holding datura capsules (adapted from Hibben, 1975: Fig. 7).

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Fig. 10. Birdman from Pottery Mound without a mask (adapted from Hibben, 1975, pp. 32 106). Fig. 12. Pottery Mound gure with feathered headdress and mask (adapted from Hibben (1975, p. 113).

One of the birdmen depicted in a mural from Kiva 2, Layer 1, north wall (Hibben, 1975, p. 32) is a negative image, which is outlined in black paint (Fig. 10). This anthropomorphic gure is not masked, has dorsal wings, and is wearing a white necklace. Against the dark earthen tone wall of the kiva this birdman looks ghost-like. Given his ghost-like appearance it is possible that he reects tobacco shamanism. The birdman is depicted behind a solid yellow and solid red human. The red human is holding a colourful shield, indicating that he is a warrior (Schaafsma, 2007, pp. 144146). Pottery Mound has many images of liminal creatures, such as the horned/plumed serpents (Fig. 5, for additional gures see Hibben, 1975: Figs. 34, 42, 83) (Fig. 11) that could have been used in shamanic rituals to transcend the world of the mundane. One of the kiva murals also depicts a human wearing a horned serpent headdress and mask (Fig. 12; Hibben, 1975, p. 113), which is similar to the plumed serpent headdresses worn by Casas Grandes shamans (Fig. 4). It is possible that the horned/ plumed serpent headdresses were used as regalia in shamanic ritual; Furst (1998) and Wilbert (1987) found that feathers and feathered headdresses are commonly used as part of the shaman ensemble elsewhere. Hibben (1975, pp. 51, 71) also found several stylised/abstract murals at Pottery Mound. Many of these murals have entopic-like imagery. Two panels in particular (Hibben, 1975: Figs. 22 [p. 39], 51 [p. 71]) are strikingly similar to hallucinations reproduced by medical researchers Siegel and West (1975): colour plates. Both of these stylised panels at Pottery Mound have brightly coloured central designs (a tunnel) that have arch-shapes with bird wing motifs around them (Hibben, 1975, pp. 22, 51). The bird wing motifs (which could reect the general sensation of ying or the

presence of tutelary animals) and arch-shapes give these panels a sense of motion or spinning. Hibben (1975, p. 39) also reports that one of these stylised murals has Sikyatki-style designs from Hopi. Hopi potters of northern Arizona produced Sikyatki polychromes from the 1400 to the 1600s. This polychrome tradition is highly abstract and is often imbued with bird imagery including wings, beaks, and feathers. Although I have only looked at a handful of these complex ceramics, they tend to have a central area surrounded by arch designs that are very similar to the abstract murals from Pottery Mound. What is perhaps more intriguing about Sikyatki polychromes is that the shoulder around the jars opening is decorated with entopic imagery, feathers, and stars. When the vessel is viewed from the top, it causes the entopic-like images to appear as though they are swirling around an actual tunnel formed by the pots orice. This causes them to look similar to ASC imagery reported in Siegel and West (1975). It is possible that the Sikyatki-style mural at Pottery Mound has entopic images surrounding an open area symbolic of a vortexa portal to the spirit world. Collectively the kiva murals at Pottery Mound and in fact kiva murals from throughout the region (Crotty, 1995; Hibben, 1975) are dominated by entopic images with vortexes, liminal creatures such as horned serpents, winged anthropomorphs including hawkmoth men, ghost-like birdmen, lots of birds (especially macaws, Hibben, 1975, pp. 9394), and colour symbolism that is consistent with both datura and tobacco induced visions. All of these are consistent with shamanic imagery, but less so with priest and the concepts of the divine world. In addition datura seeds were recovered from the oor of a deeply buried room (Yarnell, 1959), and three smoking pipes are

Fig. 11. Liminal creature: horned/plumed serpent from Pottery Mound (adapted from Hibben, 1975: Fig. 34).


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reported in the recently published 1954 site report for Pottery Mound (Ballagh and Phillips, 2006, pp. 47, 89, 93) (none were reported in the 1955 report). Likewise a few quartz crystals are reported (Ballagh and Phillips, 2006, pp. 23, 71; Ballagh and Phillips, 2008, pp. 92, 97) although they too do not appear to be associated with sacra caches. No altars, drums, or rattles have been reported thus far, although more reports are forthcoming. However, six unnished fetishes were found in Room 311 (Ballagh and Phillips, 2008, pp. 14). The pipes, crystals, and fetishes outside of clear priestly ritual spaces suggest that these items were lost personal items, perhaps used in personal rituals. This too is suggestive of shamanic behaviours (individualistic rituals) as opposed to ritual storage of priestly sacra (see Table 1). The available evidence indicates that shamanic-like imagery and hallucinogenic agents were present at Pottery Mound (see also Hays-Gilpin and LeBlanc, 2007, p. 127). Microbotanical evidence might have been greater if all the sediment had been screened and if otation samples had been taken.

Conclusions As with any archaeological endeavour, interpretations should be based on multiple lines of evidence with the most parsimonious explanation being chosen (Kelley and Hanen, 1988). The concept of shamanic sacra as a complex assemblage reecting rituals focused on transformation to communicate with the supernatural should take precedence in interpreting past shamanism. Shamanic sacra reected in nonrandom association of traits such as hallucinogens, anthropomorphic images, entopic imagery, animal fetishes, crystals, and the other materials is likely going to be a more productive means of recognising a complex behavioural pattern like shamanism than is relying on any single trait such as the presence of anthropomorphs. Southwestern archaeologists typically believe that priests were prominent during the late prehistoric period (e.g., Cordell, 1997; Plog, 1997; Schaafsma, 2000, p. 4), but cultural anthropologists debate whether the historical and modern pueblo peoples had shamans, priests, or ceremonialists (Dozier, 1970, p. 155; Dutton, 1983; Eggan, 1972; Ellis, 1979; Lamphere, 1983; Parsons, 1996). This is not an all-or-nothing debate; Winkelman (1992) suggested that some pueblos had both priests and shaman-healers, and Lamphere (1983, p. 755) suggested pueblo cosmology was essentially shamanic even if shamanism wasnt practiced. Given the variation in religious practices documented by ethnographers, perhaps archaeologists should adopt an equally nuanced view of past religion, eschewing a commitment to priestly pre-Puebloan religion that likely obscures signicant variation. Instead it is time to consider the range of variation in religious expression even within the same community (see Rakita, 2009 for an example of how this can be done). The kachina tradition is clearly represented at Pottery Mound in murals depicting masked beings. Pottery Mound also has anthropomorphs that are distinct from the masked gures. Accepting Lampheres (1983, p. 755) conclusion that modern pueblo religion has an underlying shamanic framework, this co-occurrence of shamanists imagery mixed with the development of priestly deity impersonation may reect a developmental reorganization underlying ethnographically documented Pueblo religion as shamanic transformation was modied to include priestly impersonations. It is therefore consistent with the continuum of religious practices I present in Fig. 1. Importantly, though, the rise of Pueblo priests occurred in the context of shamanic practice, a process that has not been adequately explored archaeologically. I have systematically examined

thousands of Casas Grandes pots (VanPool, 2003a,b; VanPool and VanPool, 2007), stone efgies in many museums4 and images of shell and stone artifacts in Di Peso et al.s (1974) seminal eight volume site report on Casas Grandes, and I have yet to nd a clear representation of a masked gure in this tradition. This suggests that the kachina religion did not begin in the Casas Grandes region at least during the Medio period (AD 12001450), even though it is present in the Salado region by the mid-1300s (Adams, 2000; Schaafsma, 2000). Casas Grandes and Salado cultures are often thought of as similar if not directly related cultures (e.g., Nelson and LeBlanc, 1986, pp. 812). Previously Todd VanPool and I proposed that Casas Grandes and Salado systems are fundamentally different based on differential use of serpent iconography and platform mound types (VanPool et al., 2006b). We did not, however, consider masked impersonators as part of the differences between the systems but we could do so now. This again suggests minimally that there is a greater range of religious variability than previously discussed in past religious practice of the Southwest. The same is surely true in other cultural areas. Such insights are only possible when consistent methodologies for studying religion are explored. The methodology I employ here is intended to help further such efforts. Colonization and the efforts of missionaries throughout the world have greatly impacted native peoples religious systems. It should not surprise us that the ethnographic record does not capture all the religious diversity that was once present. Casas Grandes iconography and archaeology, like Maya iconography and archaeology (Freidel et al., 1993), has evidence for leaders using SSC. Both the Casas Grandes and the Maya cases validate Winkelmans (1992) argument that some shamanic positions evolved into more priestly ones. However, because of the nature of the interaction of humans becoming or uniting with spiritual entities to interact with the supernatural instead of acting as their representatives (priests), I suggest that the term shaman or shaman-like are therefore more useful in many cases. The key attribute is in identifying shamanism, and differentiating it from other religious systems, is the relationship between the religious practitioners and the supernatural. Urbanization and increased social complexity can (and does) result in large-scale ceremonial structures, but this does not reect a complete shift away from a shamanistic concept of the cosmos and its deities. The proposed methodology and critical use of ethnographies indicates that both written accounts of people and archaeological data will be necessary for understanding how shamanic and priestly behaviours may be potentially related, and how an older shamanic substrate might be reorganized or included into a newer religious system such as the kachina religion. Acknowledgments I am thankful for the benecial comments and suggestions provided by Grant McCall, Lee Lyman, John OShae, Gordon Rakita, Todd VanPool, and David Whitley. References
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4 Stone artifacts and efgies were examined at the Museum of Peoples and Cultures, BYU; El Paso Museum of Archaeology; and Miles Museum, ENMU; and two private collections in El Paso.

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