Patricia L. Crown is Distinguished Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico. She has conducted field investigations in the Ancestral Pueblo, Mogollon, and Hohokam areas of the American Southwest, most recently directed excavations in Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Canyon. Crown is known for her research on archaeological ceramics, including the first identification of cacao residues north of the Mexican border. Born in Los Angeles, CA in 1953, she grew up in Manhattan Beach, CA, and Bethesda, MD. Crown graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with an AB in Anthropology in 1974 and received her MA (1976) and her PhD (1981) from the University of Arizona. She taught at Southern Methodist University and Arizona State University before joining the faculty at UNM in 1993. Crown served as Chair of the Archeology Division of the American Anthropological Association and on the Board of Directors for the Society for American Archaeology.

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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Primary Section

Section 51: Anthropology