Exchange and Resource Procurement During the Chaco Era in the American Southwest

Author(s): Kristin Safi; Andrew Duff

Year: 2016


The great houses of Chaco Canyon and the similar monumental buildings scattered across the northern Southwest during the Pueblo II period (A.D. 900-1150) are often discussed in terms of a regional system. One aspect of recent research is evaluating the movement of goods between great houses as an indication of the degree to which these communities were well integrated into a social or economic system. This paper examines patterns of non-local resource procurement and exchange among three great house communities in the southern Cibola sub-region using obsidian and ceramic compositional data. We analyze samples from great house and non-great house contexts to delineate patterns of resource access or exchange that indicate participation in a broader economic or social system. Our results suggest two patterns of resource movement. First, access to long distance obsidian varied widely and does not appear to have been controlled by great house occupants. In contrast, exchanged ceramics were present in higher proportions at great houses, with household sites mirroring their associated great house in the source community for non-local wares. Access and exchange relationships were also maintained with non-great house communities, suggesting a more complex socioeconomic picture of the Pueblo II Southwest than was previously understood.

Cite this Record

Exchange and Resource Procurement During the Chaco Era in the American Southwest. Kristin Safi, Andrew Duff. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404578)

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Spatial Coverage

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