Terraced Lives: Cerros de Trincheras in the Northwest/Southwest

Bridget M. Zavala

in The Oxford Handbook of North American Archaeology

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780195380118
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Terraced Lives: Cerros de Trincheras in the Northwest/Southwest

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  • Archaeology of North America



Archaeologists and explorers alike have applied the term cerro de trincheras to pre-Hispanic sites built on hills, characterized by the presence of terraces or stone walls. Recent investigations reveal that these enigmatic sites represent one of the most long-lived architectural traditions in northwest Mexico and the Southwest United States (NW/SW). On hundreds of hills from Durango, Mexico, to southern Arizona, pre-Hispanic inhabitants built their homes on the slopes and summits of elevated landforms (generally isolated volcanic hills). This article proposes that better understanding of “hills with entrenchments” can be had by applying an embodied-landscape perspective focusing on the everyday experiences of the folks who made these elevated spaces home.

Keywords: cerro de trincheras; Southwest United States; pre-Hispanic inhabitants; everyday experiences; elevated spaces; terraces

Article.  4394 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Archaeology of North America

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