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Thread: 1000 year old matrilineal dynasty

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    1000 year old matrilineal dynasty


    "New research shows that a matrilineal dynasty may have controlled Pueblo Bonito, one of the massive masonry villages at the Ancestral Puebloan site of Chaco Canyon, reports Live Science. A team of archaeologists and geneticists recently reanalyzed an elaborate two-layered burial crypt at the site that had been previously excavated. Such burial arrangements are rare in Puebloan cultures and the crypt is thought to have held high-ranking members of Chacoan society, who were buried there from A.D. 800 to 1120, when the site was abandoned. At the bottom of this crypt lay the graves of two men who had been buried with thousands of turquoise beads and other prestigious objects. Above them, separated by a wooden floor, were the graves of 12 people thought to have descended from the two men. A genomic study of the remains showed that nine of the people in the crypt all had identical mitochondrial DNA, which is inherited from mothers, suggesting power was inherited at Chaco through the maternal line. "For the first time, we're saying that one kinship group controlled Pueblo Bonito for more than 300 years," said University of Virginia archaeologist Steve Plog, who co-led the study. "This is the best evidence of a social hierarchy in the ancient Southwest." "

    Color me skeptical on this interpretation, at least as relayed by these science writers, if it implies that women necessarily held all the power.. It was not at all uncommon among Native Americans for descent to be traced on the female line, with the husband coming to the wife's dwelling, the children belonging to her clan, her goods remaining in her line. In certain tribes the women also served as councilors, choosing the men who would go to tribal councils etc. However, in all cases of which I'm aware, the men still served as war chiefs and sat in those tribal councils, so power, I think, was shared.

    Their pueblo dwellings, as seen below, bear some resemblance to some early Neolithic villages in the Near East.
    Last edited by Angela; 23-02-17 at 21:24.

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    This could as well be associated with the avunculate systems commonly found in America. A society need not necessarily be matrilineal or even matriarchal to place higher value on the female line. In communities that don't exercise strict control of social affairs, the sister's children are the only 'safe bet' as regards the continuation of the biological line. The special importance of the sister's uncle and her children is a feature encountered in tribal peoples all over the planet. Sure, the existence of 'female dynasties' doesn't conclusively imply that women wielded power in day-to-day business, but I think it's safe to assume that at least in affluent families women had much more influence than most would imagine. This is reflected in, for example, the lore of Germanic Europe, where avunculate-like systems were prevalent before the spread of classical culture.

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    Last edited by Rethel; 01-04-17 at 17:28.

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