Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Crown, Patricia L.
Location The University of New Mexico
Primary Field Anthropology
 Election Citation
Crown is a key leader in the recent transformation of scholarly understandings of the prehistoric American Southwest. Her pioneering archaeological research brings new rigor to the study of the peoples of the Southwest and has led to significant new insights into their social, economic, and ideological activities.
 Research Interests
Patricia Crown studies the production, consumption, exchange, and discard of artifacts in the past, particularly archaeological ceramics. To understand who made ceramics and how they were used, she has conducted analyses of ceramic composition and residues in collaboration with scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratory, the Smithsonian Conservation Analytical Laboratory, and the Hershey Company. Her dissertation research focused on the ceramics from a small pueblo occupied for about 25 years, examining variation in household inventories across the site. A post-doctoral detailed examination of Salado polychrome ceramics revealed that this widespread pottery appeared when migrant populations from the northern Southwest moved into already occupied areas, was widely produced in these areas of ethnically diverse populations, and was associated with the appearance of a belief system involving prayers for rain. An ongoing study of how children learned to make ceramics in the past compares distinct communities of practice and the sequence of learning in many different parts of the Southwest, discovering variable paths to skilled knowledge with adults often working closely with novices to teach aspects of the craft while gaining from their labor. Currently, she is exploring ritual drinks in the Southwest and how these served to integrate diverse social groups.

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