Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Art History and Visual Culture



First Advisor

Dr. Jeanette Nicewinter

Second Advisor

Dr. Sarah Cantor

Third Advisor

Dr. Khristin Landry-Montes


The focus of this research considers the culture of the Ancestral Puebloans from the American Southwest region. This project reflects and examines the cultural arts and practices in relation to funerary aspects of the ancient Puebloan society that flourished in Chaco Canyon, located in present-day New Mexico. While investigations of historians and archaeologists have concentrated on findings within the Great House of Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Canyon, research focused on the structures and objects within rooms. The base of this research examines a collective set of vessels from burial room 33, excavated from the original exhibition of George H. Pepper, and observes the patterns to identify how they relate with an elite society in mortuary aspects. Emphasis is given to the painted markings on the forms to interpret the association of these ceramic vessels with the funerary practice of elites in Ancestral Puebloan culture. To further consider the customs and cultural influences of Ancestral Puebloan people, this study examines images of Ancestral Puebloan ceramics with contemporary Puebloan culture to interpret a more in-depth understanding of the underlying dynamics of the culture.