The Built Environment

Michael Adler

in The Oxford Handbook of Southwest Archaeology

Published in print October 2017 | ISBN: 9780199978427
Published online September 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780190669942 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

The Built Environment

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  • North American Archaeology
  • History of Art


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The most intensively studied societies within Southwest archaeology—the Ancestral “Pueblos”—have been defined by their architecture. Stark village ruins of stone and adobe, some perched high in cliff settings, dot much of the region and are today its major tourist attractions. But as this chapter demonstrates, the architecture and built landscapes of the greater Southwest were vastly more diverse, ranging from the ephemeral wikiup-like structures of early hunter-gatherers, to the various pithouse forms and configurations of the Archaic and later periods, to the monumental trincheras, ball courts, and platform mounds of the southern Southwest, to the great kivas, great houses, and road systems of the Chacoan world. This chapter surveys that diversity and considers the way the built environment has been mobilized as evidence to make claims about social and political organization, religion practice, cosmology, mobility, and scale of collective labor projects within studies of ancient Southwest communities.

Keywords: Southwest; Pueblo; built environment; architecture; wikiup

Article.  10058 words. 

Subjects: North American Archaeology ; History of Art

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