Sending the Spirits Home

The Archaeology of Hohokam Mortuary Practices

Winner of the Don D. and Catherine S. Fowler Prize 

This data-rich monograph provides new and stimulating perspectives on the Hohokam people and their mortuary practices. It breaks new ground by using the knowledge of descendent peoples to generate archaeologically testable hypotheses; demonstrating the need for mortuary analyses conducted at a regional scale; and synthesizing of the interaction of beliefs, ideology, social organization, and ecology in determining Hohokam mortuary practices. Various chapters discuss body treatment, mortuary furniture and goods, mortuary architecture, and cemeteries, and numerous figures help document the variability of Hohokam practices.  

The study synthesizes data from various excavations, applied archaeology, and cultural resource management projects. With its review of past research and ethnographic accounts along with line drawings of mortuary features and artifacts, Sending the Spirits Home provides tools for the adoption of standardized protocols needed to facilitate cross-project comparisons on which future regional syntheses can be based. Although written for archaeologists, the book does not require a specialist’s knowledge to appreciate its insights into these early people of the Southwest. 

Glen E. Rice has more than thirty-five years of experience directing Cultural Resource Management research projects in the arid Southwest, the majority focused on Hohokam archaeology. He was head of the Office of Cultural Resource Management at Arizona State University and for ten years has run his own consulting firm, Rio Salado Archaeology.

Praise and Reviews:
“The coding protocols are a major contribution to the study of Hohokam mortuary patterns, the compilation of the data is impressive and informative, the conclusions are interesting—and some even surprising.”—Todd W. Bostwick, PhD, Director of Archaeology, Verde Valley Archaeology Center, Camp Verde, Arizona

“The book stands alone as the first detailed summary and analysis of Hohokam mortuary practice. It brings together over three decades of work and greatly advances our understanding of the Hohokam, with useful analyses that get well beyond the old debates.”
—Randall H. McGuire, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, SUNY Binghamton

“It is well worth the effort to follow Rice as he constructs and applies an encompassing model of factors deemed essential for understanding Hohokam mortuary programs.... Professionals and students with interests in Hohokam or Southwest studies will unquestionably benefit from this book.”—American Antiquity