Social Inequality and Food Storage at Hohokam Platform Mound Sites in the Phoenix and Tonto Basins

Author(s): Brian Medchill; M. Kyle Woodson

Year: 2017


Some social theorists contend that the critical threshold in the development of complex, ranked societies is the emergence and institutionalization of inequality, or a formalized hierarchical organization that is inherited and reproduced. One pathway that elites take in establishing and institutionalizing political power is by attaining control over the economy. A key strategy of establishing economic power is to mobilize and store food surpluses. For the prehistoric Hohokam of southern Arizona, social and ideological inequalities appear to have peaked at platform mound sites during the late Classic period (ca A.D. 1300-1450). Some platform mounds in the Phoenix and Tonto Basins include rooms with large storage capacities, including structures with granary pedestals. These pedestals are the remains of beehive-shaped adobe storage features. This secluded storage pattern has been bolstered by the recent discovery of several large, stone-paved granary pedestals within an atypically large room in the compound of the Lower Santan Platform Mound in the Gila River Indian Community. This room provides evidence that food surplus was stored in a limited-access context, and further supports the contention that Late Classic period Hohokam platform mound communities had established complex internal ranking and institutionalized leadership positions.

Cite this Record

Social Inequality and Food Storage at Hohokam Platform Mound Sites in the Phoenix and Tonto Basins. Brian Medchill, M. Kyle Woodson. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429851)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15644