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Evidence for Population Aggregation and Dispersal during the Basketmaker III Period in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico

  • W. H. Wills (a1) and Thomas C. Windes (a2)

The appearance of pithouse settlements in the American Southwest that have multihabitation structures has been considered evidence for the emergence of "village" social organization. The interpretation that village systems are reflected in pithouse architecture rests in great part on the assumption that large sites correspond to large, temporally stable social groups. In this article we examine one of the best known pithouse settlements in the Southwest—Shabik’eschee Village in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico—and argue that the site may represent episodic aggregation of local groups rather than a sedentary occupation by a single coherent social unit.

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