Sign up for our Email Newsletter Berghahn Books Logo

berghahn New York · Oxford

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Youtube
  • Instagram
Agent of Change: The Deposition and Manipulation of Ash in the Past

View Table of Contents

Email Newsletters

Sign up for our email newsletters to get customized updates on new Berghahn publications.

Click here to select your preferences

Agent of Change

The Deposition and Manipulation of Ash in the Past

Edited by Barbara J. Roth and E. Charles Adams
Afterword by Tammy Stone

256 pages, 50 illus., index

ISBN  978-1-80073-036-6 $120.00/£89.00 Hb Not Yet Published (March 2021)

eISBN 978-1-80073-037-3 eBook Not Yet Published

Hb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“The combination of solid methodology and sophisticated theory places the works in this volume within the broader movement of understanding social action and meaning in archaeology and provide a path researchers can follow in other areas as research in this area continues in the future.”
 From the Afterword, Tammy Stone, University of Colorado, Denver


Ash is an important and yet understudied aspect of ritual deposition in the archaeological record of North America. Ash has been found in a wide variety of contexts across many regions and often it is associated with rare or unusual objects or in contexts that suggest its use in the transition or transformation of houses and ritual features. Drawn from across the U.S. and Mesoamerica, the chapters in this volume explore the use, meanings, and cross-cultural patterns present in the use of ash. and highlight the importance of ash in ritual closure, social memory, and cultural transformation.

Barbara Roth is Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her recent research has focused on changes in household and community organization that occur as groups become more sedentary and dependent on agriculture and move from pithouses to pueblos in the Mimbres Mogollon region of southwestern New Mexico.

E. Charles Adams is Emeritus Curator of Archaeology, Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona. Prior to retiring in 2020, Adams taught in the School of Anthropology in addition to being museum curator for 35 years. Adams directed a 30-year research program in the ancestral Hopi villages of Homol’ovi in northeastern Arizona and has sole-authored or edited more than a dozen books/monographs describing this research.

Subject: Archaeology Anthropology (General) Anthropology of Religion
Area: North America


List of Illustrations

Introduction: The Deposition and Manipulation of Ash in the Past
E. Charles Adams and Barbara J. Roth

Part I: Ash as a Transformative Agent

Chapter 1. The Ritual Closing of Domestic Structures in the Mimbres Mogollon Region
Barbara J. Roth

Chapter 2. Complex Closure Practices Involving Ash at a Small Pueblo in Northeastern Arizona
E. Charles Adams

Chapter 3. Sequencing Termination Events: Preparing Hearths for the Ritual Decommissioning of Ancestral Pueblo Pit Structures in the Northern U.S. Southwest
Susan C. Ryan

Chapter 4. Symbolic Associations: Assessing the Co-occurrence of Turquoise and Ash in the Ancient U.S. Southwest
Samantha G. Fladd, Saul L. Hedquist, E. Charles Adams, and Stewart B. Koyiyumptewa

Chapter 5. Fire, Ash and Sanctuary: Pyrotechnology as Protection in the Pre-Colonial Northern Rio Grande
Michael A. Adler

Chapter 6. Burned Roofs and Cultural Traditions: Renewing and Closing Houses in the Ancient Villages of the Middle Fraser Canyon, British Columbia
Anna Marie Prentiss, Alysha Edwards, Ashley Hampton, Ethan Ryan, Kathryn Bobolinski, and Emma Vance

Chapter 7. Agentive Ash and Dispersed Power in the Cahokia Mississippian World
Melissa R. Baltus and Sarah E. Baires

Chapter 8. Townhouses, Hearths, Fire, Smoke, Ash, and Cherokee Towns in Western North Carolina
Christopher B. Rodning

Chapter 9. Ash as an Agent of Transformation in Iroquoian Society
William Fox

Part II: Ash and Ritual

Chapter 10. Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust in Caddoan Mortuary Ritual
Marvin Kay

Chapter 11. Ashes for Fertility
Cheryl Claassen

Chapter 12. Ashes, Arrows, and Sorcerers
William H. Walker and Judy Berryman

Chapter 13. Divine Food and Fiery Covenants: The Significance of Ash in Ancient Maya Religion
James L. Fitzsimmons

Tammy Stone

Back to Top