Pithouses are the earliest identifiable domestic architecture in many areas of the world, and can provide insights into the origins of communities--a fundamental component of past and present societies. In this book, Lisa Young and Sarah Herr invite archaeologists to explore the development of communities using information from pithouse sites in the American Southwest.
Using regional and topical syntheses to investigate the formation of pithouse communities, contributors to this volume examine the complex relationship between the economic transition to agricultural dependence and the social changes associated with sedentism. They discover that during this transformation, peoples' relationship with the landscape changed in ways that affected their use of space, community organization, and cultural identity.
Employing various theoretical perspectives, these contributions analyze changes in pithouses, site layout, communal architecture, and settlement patterns to investigate the development of place-based communities. Chapters look at community formation strategies in populous regions like the northern San Juan Basin, the southern Colorado Plateau, Mimbres/southern Mogollon, and Hohokam Basin and Range and compare them with social structures in more sparsely populated regions like the northeast Hohokam peripheries, the Arizona Transition Zone, the Cibola region, southeast New Mexico, and the northern Rio Grande. The book also includes thematic discussions of panregional economic change, the complex relationship between house and household, and the demographic shifts accompanying the Neolithic Demographic Transition.
An essential book for students and archaeologists interested in the origins of communities, Southwestern Pithouse Communities is also an important comparative resource for scholars interested in social change during the transition to settled village life.
Lisa C. Young is a lecturer in the Department of Anthropology and a research scientist in the Museum of Anthropology at the University of Michigan. Sarah A. Herr is a Senior Project Director for Desert Archaeology, Inc. She is the author of Beyond Chaco: Great Kiva Communities on the Mogollon Rim Frontier, also published by the University of Arizona Press.