AIA Lecture

Turquoise, Trumpets, and Tchamahias: The Wealth of Chaco Canyon

Archaeological Institute of America

Dickinson College is home to the South Pennsylvania Society chapter of the Archaeological Institute of America, and with the support of the AIA, will host an online lecture in spring 2021.

The lecture will begin at 6:30pm, and will be via a webinar.  Please email archaeology@dickinson.edu for the webinar link information.
The lecture is free.

2020-21 Lecture Schedule:


Tuesday, February 9, 2021 via Zoom

"Turquoise, Trumpets, and Tchamahias:  The Wealth of Chaco Canyon"
Lecturer:  Dr. John Kantner
Department of Anthropology, University of North Florida

The stunning monumental buildings in Chaco Canyon have yielded some of the most amazing artifacts ever found in ancient North America. Thousands of turquoise ornaments, copper bells and chocolate from Mesoamerica, and shell trumpets from the Pacific Ocean are just some of the rare and beautiful objects found by archaeologists in the 1,000-year-old edifices of this remote canyon. But while today we marvel at these treasures, what did they mean to the ancient Puebloan people who lived in the Chaco World?

Dr. John Kantner has spent almost three decades conducting archaeological investigations of Chaco Canyon and the villages that helped to sustain the thriving pilgrimage center. Much of his work considers what was valuable to Chaco-era people and how wealth may have been used in the past. In this illustrated lecture, Dr. Kantner discusses what we know about Chacoan notions of wealth and value, and how these concepts may have changed over time.

Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic (for lay reader):

  • Chaco Research Archive, http://www.chacoarchive.org/cra/
  • Clark, Jeffery J. and Barbara J. Mills (editors). 2018. Chacoan archaeology at the 21st Century: New Questions and Ongoing Revelations. Special issue of Archaeology Southwest Magazine. Vol. 32 Nos. 2–3.
  • Kantner, John. 2004. Ancient Puebloan Southwest. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • New Mexico History.org, http://newmexicohistory.org/places/chaco-canyon