Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Lapham, Heather


In this study, I examine the material culture of the Rio Fuerte Basket-Maker Phase (200 B.C. - 1000 A.D.) and Cave-Dweller Phase (1000 - 1600 A.D.) occupations in southern Chihuahua, Mexico, that is represented in the Dr. Robert Zingg Archaeological Collection. Zingg believed that the material culture showed a clear progression from the Basket-Maker Phase to the Cave-Dweller Phase, which he interpreted to indicate a relationship between these two phases, and that these phases were the precursors of the twentieth century Tarahumara. I test this hypothesis by comparing the artifacts in the Dr. Robert Zingg Archaeological Collection curated by the University Museum at Southern Illinois University Carbondale to the artifacts in the ethnographic Tarahumara Collection curated by the Milwaukee Public Museum. Following an evaluation of the archaeological and ethnographic material culture, I conclude that Zingg's hypothesis is only partially supported by the museum collections. Although the material culture of the later Cave-Dweller Phase is sufficiently similar to the material culture of the twentieth century Tarahumara to suggest a relationship between the two cultures, the earlier Rio Fuerte Basket-Maker Phase does not provide enough artifacts that show similarity with either the Cave-Dweller Phase or the twentieth century Tarahumara.




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