Reading between the Lines: The Social Value of Dogoszhi Style in the Chaco World

Evan Giomi, Barbara J. Mills, Leslie D. Aragon, Benjamin A. Bellorado, Matthew A. Peeples

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Archaeologists have pointed to certain architectural or decorative designs as representing elite styles that mark status distinctions. We look at one such style - Dogoszhi - that was applied to several pottery wares across the Chaco World of the northern Southwest. Using a large database of ceramics, we test whether this style comprised an elite style or whether it signaled participation in a broader Chaco social network. We compare the distribution of Dogoszhi style to measures of settlement importance, including site size and network centrality, and we investigate whether this style occurs differentially at Chacoan great houses as opposed to small houses, or by subregion. We also compare its spatial distribution to an earlier style, called Black Mesa style, similarly applied to a number of different wares. Our results indicate that both styles were consistently distributed within Chaco communities (whether great houses or small houses) but variably distributed across subareas and most measures of settlement importance. We conclude that Dogoszhi style was used to mark membership in social networks that cross-cut great house communities, a pattern more typical of heterarchical rather than hierarchical social structures. Such variation questions the uniform category of elites and points to the ways that representational diversity may be used to interpret different regional histories and alliances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100-123
Number of pages24
JournalAmerican Antiquity
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 18 2022


  • Chaco
  • ceramics
  • elite style
  • heterarchy
  • hierarchy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Archaeology
  • Museology


Dive into the research topics of 'Reading between the Lines: The Social Value of Dogoszhi Style in the Chaco World'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this