Which Neolithic House? Pithouses and Pueblos in the U.S. Southwest.

Author(s): Thomas Rocek

Year: 2015


The archaeology of the United States Southwest permits examination of the process of Neolithisation with chronological precision in a wide range of contexts. In broadest outline, Southwestern data parallel social, economic and technological patterns documented worldwide. The recency, large sample, and fine resolution of Southwestern data allow recognition of multiple divergent and convergent patterns shaped by local environments and cultural traditions that are difficult to observe in other areas.

A major dimension of change in the Southwest is the architectural shift from semi-subterranean pit structures to individual, or more often conjoined surface pueblo buildings, the "pithouse to pueblo transition." While this shift is widespread in the Southwest, its timing, specific form, correlation with other aspects of Neolithisation, and the degree to which the transition occurs all vary. I suggest that the pithouse-pueblo contrast helps to disaggregate some of the closely linked variables that are often thought of as part of a single Neolithic "package." At the same time, variation within the pithouse to pueblo transition demonstrates how, despite the seemingly straightforward contrast between pithouses and pueblos, use of these architectural forms as proxies for other variables over-simplifies the interplay of processes that together constitute Neolithisation.

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Cite this Record

Which Neolithic House? Pithouses and Pueblos in the U.S. Southwest.. Thomas Rocek. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395491)

Spatial Coverage

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