1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences

Stephen Plog

Professor, Emeritus

Ph.D. University of Michigan 1977

My research focuses on culture change in the prehistoric American Southwest, particularly the changing nature of ritual and social organization from approximately A.D. 800 to the present. My recent focus has been on the Chaco Canyon region of northwestern New Mexico, perhaps the most important center of the Pueblo world in the 11th and 12th centuries. I address what I believe are key aspects of organization, ritual and cosmology during the Chacoan era. More specifically, some of my recent research has explored the application of "house theory" to our understanding of change and organization in the Southwest.

Another significant focus has been a cooperative effort with several other scholars—assisted by the financial support of the Andrew Mellon Foundation and a partnership with University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities—to create an online digital archive (www.chacoarchive.org) for Chaco Canyon. Our goal has been to enhance testing of hypotheses by increasing access to much of the unpublished excavation data from such settlements as Pueblo Bonito, particularly the important early fieldwork of the Hyde Exploring Expedition (1896-1900), the National Geographic Society Expedition (1920-1927), and the University of New Mexico field school in the 1930s and 1940s. Through a relational database, we provide access to room and kiva-specific information on ca. a dozen sites and access to over 17,000 images and almost two thousand unpublished manuscripts, field notes, accession catalogs, etc.


Southwestern Archaeology, The Emergence of Social Inequality, Chiefs and Chiefdoms, Pueblo Social Organization


Social and ritual change, digital research archives, ceramic and stylistic analysis, demography, exchange.

Selected Publications

2012 - The Chaco Pilgrimage Model: Evaluating the Evidence from Pueblo Alto.. American Antiquity 77:449.477. (With Adam Watson).

2012 - Ritual and Cosmology in the Chaco Era. In Religious Transformations in the Late Pre-Hispanic Pueblo World. Donna M. Glowacki and Scott Van Keuren, eds.  Pp. 50-65. Tucson: University of Arizona press.

2011 - The Contribution of Behavioral Archaeology and the Research of Michael B. Schiffer to the Discipline. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 18:278-283.

2010 - Hierarchy and Social Inequality in the American Southwest, A.D. 800-1200. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 107:19619-19626.  (With Carrie Heitman).

2010 - Sustaining Digital Scholarship in Archaeology. In Online Humanities Scholarship: the Shape of Things to Come.  Jerome McGann, ed.  Pp. 273-279. Houston: Rice University Press.

2010 - Hierarchy and Social Inequality in the American Southwest, A.D. 800-1200. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 107:19619-19626. (With Carolyn C. Heitman).

2010 - Reflections in the State of Chacoan Research: A Review Essay.. Kiva 75:373-391.

2010 - Reflections on the State of Chacoan Research: A Review Essay.   Kiva 75:373-391.

2008 - Ancient Peoples of the American Southwest. London: Thames and Hudson.

2007 - Ancient Peoples of the American Southwest, 2nd edition. London: Thames and Hudson.

2006 - Digital Databases in Archaeologial Research. In Managing Archaeological Data.  Jeffrey Hantman and Rachel Most, eds.  Pp. 29-38. (With Rachel Most). Arizona State University Archaeological Research Papers No. 57.

2005 - Kinship and the Dynamics of the House: Rediscovering Dualism in the Pueblo Past.. In A Catalyst for Ideas: Anthropological Archaeology and the Legacy of Douglas W. Schwartz.  Vernon Scarboorough, ed.  Pp. 69-100.  (With Carolyn C. Heitman). Santa Fe: School of American Research.

2005 - Kinship and the Dynamics of the House: Rediscovering Dualism in the Pueblo Past. In Vision, Impact, and Conceptual Integration in Anthropological Archaeology: Essays in Honor of Douglas Schwartz. Vernon Scarborough, ed. Pp. 69-100. (With Carolyn C. Heitman). School of American Research Press, Santa Fe.

2005 - Protohistoric Western Pueblo Exchange: Barter, Gift, and Violence Revisited.. In Engaged Anthropology: Research Essays on North American Archaeology Ethnobotany, and Museology.  Michelle Hegmon and B. Sunday Eiselt, eds.  Pp. 148-154. Anthropological Papers of hte Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, No. 94.

2003 - Social Conflict, Social Structure and Processes of Culture Change. American Antiquity 68 (1):182-186.

2003 - Exploring the Ubiquitous Through the Unusual: Color Symbolism in Pueblo Black-on-White Pottery. American Antiquity 68:665-695.

2003 - Social Conflict, Social Structure and Processes of Culture Change. American Antiquity 68:182-186.

2002 - Gender, Society and the State of Southwestern Archaeology. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 12 (2):262-265.

1997 - The Ever Changing and the Never Changing: The Evolution of Western Pueblo Ritual. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 7 (2):161-182. (With Julie Solometo).

1997 - Ancient Peoples of the American Southwest. London: Thames and Hudson.

1996 - Regional Social Interaction in the Northern Southwest. Arizona State University Anthropological Papers No. 48:  Interpreting Southwestern Diversity: Underlying Principles and Overarching Patterns. P. R. Fish and J. J. Reid, eds. Pp. 23-34.

1995 - Equality and Hierarchy: Holistic Approaches to Understanding Social Dynamics in the Pueblo Southwest. In The Foundations of Social Inequality. T. Douglas Price and Gary M. Feinman, eds. Pp. 189-206. Plenum, New York.

1995 - Approaches to the Study of Style: Complements and Contrasts. In Style, Society, and Person. Christopher Carr and Jill Neitzel, eds. Pp. 369-387. New York: Plenum.

1995 - Paradigms and Pottery: The Analysis of Production and Exchange in the American Southwest. In The Organization of Ceramic Production in the American Southwest, Barbara J. Mills and Patricia L. Crown, eds. Pp. 268-280. University of Arizona Press, Tucson.

1993 - The Sample Size-Richness Relation: The Relevance of Research Questions, Sampling Strategies, and Behavioral Variation. American Antiquity 58:489-496. (With Michelle Hegmon).

1991 - Chronology Construction and the Study of Prehistoric Culture Change. Journal of Field Archaeology 17:439-456.

1990 - Agriculture, Sedentism and Environment in the Evolution of Political Systems. In The Evolution of Political Systems. Steadman Upham, ed. Pp. 177- 199. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Department Faculty

Sonia Alconini
David A. Harrison III Professor of American Archaeology
Ira Bashkow
Goldsmith Family NEH Distinguished Teaching Professor, 2018-2021: Associate Professor
Frederick H. Damon
Eve Danziger
Professor and Director of the Interdepartmental Program in Linguistics
Lise Dobrin
Associate Professor
Gertrude Fraser
Associate Professor
Richard Handler
Professor & Director of Global Development Studies Program
James Igoe
Professor & Chair
Kasey Jernigan
Assistant Professor of Anthropology and American Studies
Adria LaViolette
Professor, Director of Undergraduate Studies
Daniel Lefkowitz
Associate Professor
George Mentore
Associate Professor
Rachel Most
Associate Dean for Undergraduate Academic Programs & Professor
Fraser D. Neiman
China Scherz
Associate Professor, Director of Graduate Studies
Mark Sicoli
Assistant Professor, Director of Graduate Admissions
Margaret Smith
Director & Curator, The Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection
Sylvia Tidey
Assistant Professor
Patricia Wattenmaker
Associate Professor
Kath Weston
Jarrett Zigon
William & Linda Porterfield Chair in Biomedical Ethics and Professor of Anthropology