Architectural Studies in the U.S. Southwest: Theory, Methods, and Data

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 82nd Annual Meeting, Vancouver, BC (2017)

This session explores household architecture in the US Southwest/Northwest Mexico by considering methodology, theoretical perspectives, and the strengths and weaknesses of regional datasets. The materiality of the house and the dynamic, recursive relationship between houses and people makes architecture an ideal medium for archaeologists to access the daily lives and practices of people in the past. Household architecture provides insight on social organization, economy, cultural transmission, migration, seasonal movement, and interaction. In addition, architecture provides access to the cultural meanings and cosmological significance attached to place and space.

Big datasets present methodological challenges to the analysis of architectural data, but also great promise for understanding large patterns at a regional scale. In addition, theoretical perspectives such as materiality and agency are helping archaeologists reframe their consideration of the house and household. The "communities of practice" perspective has been particularly popular in recent Southwest/Northwest research. These perspectives are changing the way that patterns (or the lack of patterns) in the archaeological record are recognized and evaluated. Papers in this session draw on these themes to present recent research on methodology, theory, and data in the study of architecture in the Southwest/Northwest.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-8 of 8)

  • Documents (8)

  • Analyzing Wood-use Behavior at Wupatki Pueblo (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Garrett Briggs.

    Wupatki Pueblo is one of the best known pre-Hispanic settlements in northern Arizona. Unfortunately, very few excavation reports exist and only a couple of successful dendrochronological analyses have been published. Through a reexamination of wooden construction elements, legacy data from previous publications, and unpublished field notes, stored at the Laboratory of Tree-ring Research, this paper presents the results of the first wood-use behavior analysis at Wupatki Pueblo. The use of a...

  • Architectural Communities of Practice: Identifying Kiva Production Groups in the Northern Southwest (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Susan Ryan.

    Researchers in a number of fields have come to recognize the vital importance of the built environment not only as material culture, but as symbolic expressions of the larger cultural framework through which social relations are produced and reproduced. Over the last half-century, studies have demonstrated how architectural characteristics—such as building size, shape, and the presence of various architectural materials, features, and furnishings—have a direct influence on human behavior and...

  • Blending Architectural Traditions at the Edge of Cibola, New Mexico (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Paul Reed.

    The archaeological zone south of Grants, New Mexico and north of Quemado, New Mexico has long represented an enigma for southwestern archaeologists. Straddling the so-called Mogollon-Pueblo boundary and lying south of the boundary between the Pueblos of Acoma and Zuni, its archaeology combines traits of multiple cultural traditions. Detailed recording at sites in the area reveals a mix of architectural approaches including use of adobe, sandstone, and igneous rock—often at the same site. This...

  • Early Pueblo Pit Structure Architectural Practice in the Southwest Cibola Region (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Steven Gilbert. Kye Miller.

    Researchers studying architecture in the southwest Cibola region have generally focused on Pueblo II to Pueblo IV aggregated above-ground masonry pueblos. Although these structures provide abundant information about past lifeways, little research has been conducted on pit structure architecture in this region. As such, there is much to be learned from earlier structures dating to the Basketmaker and early Pueblo periods in the southwest Cibola. By characterizing early architectural practice in...

  • A Frontier in Bloom: Social Implications of Architectural Diversity and Conformity during the Colonization of the San Juan Region of the Northern Southwest (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Shanna Diederichs.

    Behavioral conformity and, its inverse, behavioral diversity are social adaptations wielded by small scale agricultural societies faced with change. By the sixth and seventh centuries A.D., the Basketmaker III period, long standing conflicts in the San Juan region of the northern Southwest had abated and new territories opened to agricultural colonization. Frontier colonization is by nature a contentious process that usually results in violence, displacement, and the reinforcement of factions....

  • Impressive Terraces and Ephemeral Houses: Domestic and Defensive Architecture at Cerro de Trincheras (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Tanya Chiykowski.

    Around 1200 AD, Trinchereños (members of the Trincheras Tradition of the Sonoran Desert) covered the hillside of Cerro de Trincheras, Sonora, Mexico in over 900 terraces. After such extensive investment in shaping and laying out space within the site, they then proceeded to live in relatively ephemeral domestic structures on the hillside. This paper addresses the apparent contradiction of impermanent houses on robust platforms by examining how Trinchereños built, maintained and managed space...

  • Measuring Mobility: Comparing Indices Developed from Architectural and Paleoethnobotanical Datasets (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kellam J. Throgmorton. Reuven Sinensky.

    Thirty years of research on mobility and sedentism shows that population movement occurred for reasons both ecological and social. Population movement could occur over short or long distances, could occur seasonally or generationally, and could involve both small and large groups. While archaeologists have theorized mobility in a variety of ways, they have not developed a robust body of methods for measuring and comparing mobility between households at the intrasite or intersite level. This...

  • Red Ware and Migration in the Northern San Juan Region: A View from Pit Structure Architectural Practice (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kye Miller. Steven Gilbert.

    Previous researchers have proposed that early red ware traditions in Southeast Utah (i.e., Abajo Red-on-orange) represent an intrusive practice in an area generally dominated by black-on-white ceramics. This red ware "intrusion" has previously been interpreted as possibly representing the in-migration of southern groups into Southeast Utah and Southwestern Colorado. Using the communities of practice approach, this paper characterizes pit structure architectural practice in relation to...