Alliances, Coalitions, Hierarchies and Conflict in the Ancestral Pueblo World


Using the experimental testbed of the Village Ecodynamics Project’s agent-based simulation "Village," we examine how population growth and resource depletion in the Central Mesa Verde landscape between AD 600 and AD 1280 set the stage for territorial conflict, and how lineage and clan membership likely affected the structure of coalitions. We take a three-pronged approach, combining models for the evolution of leadership, models for the formation of coalitions and alliances, and models for conflict. In our model, groups may choose to fight offending groups or offer a merger with those groups when territories are contested. As time goes on, conflict may arise over productive agricultural land and a structure of hierarchical relations between groups may develop, forming what we call "complex groups." These hierarchies may be more or less stable due to many internal dynamics, including the productivity of the environment, the ability of dominant groups to retain dominance, and the ability of subordinate groups to leave hierarchies. This paper thus directly examines how networks of relationships among groups emerge through time, and how those networks (in the form of coalitions or alliances) ameliorate conflict or help groups win in conflict.

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Cite this Record

Alliances, Coalitions, Hierarchies and Conflict in the Ancestral Pueblo World. Stefani Crabtree, R. Kyle Bocinsky, Timothy A. Kohler. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395158)


Geographic Keywords
North America - Southwest

Spatial Coverage

min long: -115.532; min lat: 30.676 ; max long: -102.349; max lat: 42.033 ;