For more than a hundred years, archaeologists have investigated the function of earthen platform mounds in the American Southwest. Built by the Hohokam groups between A.D. 1150 and 1350, these mounds are among the few monumental structures in the Southwest, yet their use and the nature of the groups who built them remain unresolved. Mark Elson now takes a fresh look at these monuments and sheds new light on their significance. He goes beyond previous studies by examining platform mound function and social group organization through a cross-cultural study of historic mound-using groups in the Pacific Ocean region, South America, and the southeastern United States. Using this information, he develops a number of important new generalizations about how people used mounds. Elson then applies these data to the study of a prehistoric settlement system in the eastern Tonto Basin of Arizona that contained five platform mounds. He argues that the mounds were used variously as residences and ceremonial facilities by competing descent groups and were an indication of hereditary leadership. They were important in group integration and resource management; after abandonment they served as ancestral shrines. Elson's study provides a fresh approach to an old puzzle and offers new suggestions regarding variability among Hohokam populations. Its innovative use of comparative data and analyses enriches our understanding of both Hohokam culture and other ancient societies.
This monograph takes a fresh look at migration in light of the recent resurgence of interest in this topic within archaeology. The author develops a reliable approach for detecting and assessing the impact of migration based on conceptions of style in anthropology. From numerous ethnoarchaeological and ethnohistoric case studies, material culture attributes are isolated that tend to be associated only with the groups that produce them. Clark uses this approach to evaluate Puebloan migration into the Tonto Basin of east-central Arizona during the early Classic period (A.D. 1200-1325), focusing on a community that had been developing with substantial Hohokam influence prior to this interval. He identifies Puebloan enclaves in the indigenous settlements based on culturally specific differences in the organization of domestic space and in technological styles reflected in wall construction and utilitarian ceramic manufacture. Puebloan migration was initially limited in scale, resulting in the co-residence of migrants and local groups within a single community. Once this co-residence settlement pattern is reconstructed, relations between the two groups are examined and the short-term and long-term impacts of migration are assessed. The early Classic period is associated with the appearance of the Salado horizon in the Tonto Basin. The results of this research suggest that migration and co-residence was common throughout the basins and valleys in the region defined by the Salado horizon, although each local sequence relates a unique story. The methodological and theoretical implications of Clark's work extend well beyond the Salado and the Southwest and apply to any situation in which the scale and impact of prehistoric migration are contested.
A collection of writings by participants in the Black Mesa Archaeological Project offers a synthesis of Kayenta-area archaeology, examining the ancestral Puebloan and Navajo occupation of the Four Corners region, and analysing faunal, lithic, ceramic, chronometric, and human osteological data, to construct an account of the prehistory and ethnohistory of northern Arizona that demonstrates how organizational variation and other aspects of culture change are largely a response to a changing natural environment.