Small Site Analysis in the Southwest: A Comparative Analysis of Two Communities on Perry Mesa, Arizona

Part of the Legacies on the Landscape project

Author(s): Colleen Strawhacker

Year: 2007


Landscapes across the American Southwest are littered with prehistoric structures of less than 10 rooms used for a variety of functions – from seasonal field houses, to storage, to year-long residences, to boundary markers. These structures, while largely ignored in much of the archaeological literature, can provide information on the human impact across an entire landscape, instead of simply focusing on the pueblo itself or on the agricultural fields. How, then, can these small architectural units be analyzed and quantified for future studies across the landscape? This paper will attempt to answer this question by focusing on four variables – mound height, stone shaping, number of rooms, and the area of the room block - which provide some insight into the time, labor, and planning invested into their construction.

Further understanding of these factors can allow inferences to be made concerning the intensity of surrounding land use, planned construction, and social importance assigned to each pueblo (Cameron 1999). For example, if the small structures around one site appear to have been more planned than those around another in a similar context, it can be inferred that clear differences, ecologically or socially, exist between the two pueblos. This paper explores and compares the architectural “constructedness”, a unit of comparison that is created in this paper from the four variables mentioned above, of small structures located around the larger pueblos of Pueblo la Plata and Pueblo Pato which can provide insight into the prehistoric settlement history offer a proxy for future studies on the environmental legacies of the region.

Cite this Record

Small Site Analysis in the Southwest: A Comparative Analysis of Two Communities on Perry Mesa, Arizona. Colleen Strawhacker. Masters Thesis. Arizona State University (ASU), School of Human Evolution and Social Change. 2007 ( tDAR id: 406970) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8DJ5HK9

Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: 1200 to 1450

Spatial Coverage

min long: -112.162; min lat: 34.079 ; max long: -111.907; max lat: 34.296 ;

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