Catalogue


The Chaco Anasazi : sociopolitical evolution in the prehistoric Southwest /
Lynne Sebastian.
imprint
Cambridge [England] ; New York, NY : Cambridge University Press, 1992.
description
xiv, 181 p. : ill. ; 26 cm.
ISBN
0521403677 (hardback)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Cambridge [England] ; New York, NY : Cambridge University Press, 1992.
isbn
0521403677 (hardback)
catalogue key
3695182
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 166-178) and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Lynne Sebastian is Deputy Director of the State Historic Preservation Division in the State of New Mexico
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1993-05:
In a book that summarizes past work and suggests new interpretations, Sebastian explores the reasons for the remarkable development of Chaco Canyon Anasazi culture in New Mexico, c. 900-1300 CE. The most elaborate of the Pueblo cultures, Chaco had large and complex architecture with ceremonial Great Kivas, and sophisticated ceramics and personal art. At its peak, Chaco influence spread throughout the four corners, many sites linked by actual roads. Revising past interpretations, Sebastian sees the greatness of Chaco as the product of favorable argicultural conditions and not as a response to scarcity. Pueblo farmers invested their surplus crops in cultural elaboration. With the onset of drought years after 1300 CE, surpluses drained away and the Chacoan populations dispersed in a dramatic example of abandonment. Sebastian's work is a must for university libraries and will also find readers in larger libraries elsewhere who are well acquainted with Chaco Canyon National Monument and its impressive Pueblo Bonito and other prehistoric sites. General; undergraduate; graduate; faculty. R. B. Clay; University of Kentucky
Reviews
Review Quotes
"In an easy-to-read and enjoyable book, especially the last two chapters, Sebastian has created a nontypological starting point for new, wide-ranging cultural-ecological-social-political debates about the nature and process of the Chacoan phenomenon....Geographers who work with prehistoric data will find this book to be, at least, thought provoking and, at best, a paradigm-revising addendum to their worldview of the prehistoric Southwest."The Geographical Review
"In an easy-to-read and enjoyable book, especially the last two chapters, Sebastian has created a nontypological starting point for new, wide-ranging cultural-ecological-social-political debates about the nature and process of the Chacoan phenomenon....Geographers who work with prehistoric data will find this book to be, at least, thought provoking and, at best, a paradigm-revising addendum to their worldview of the prehistoric Southwest." The Geographical Review
"By succinctly summarizing much background information and citing major sources for additional data, she has managed to concentrate on an alternative to existing explanations for the growth and nature of the Chacoan cultural system and on analyzing the political processes of small-scale sedentary societies....a major contribution to developing explanatory models."American Antiquity
"By succinctly summarizing much background information and citing major sources for additional data, she has managed to concentrate on an alternative to existing explanations for the growth and nature of the Chacoan cultural system and on analyzing the political processes of small-scale sedentary societies....a major contribution to developing explanatory models." American Antiquity
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, May 1993
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Summaries
Main Description
In the tenth century AD, a remarkable cultural development took place in the harsh and forbidding San Juan Basin of northwestern New Mexico. From small-scale, simply organized, prehistoric Pueblo societies, a complex and socially differentiated political system emerged that has become known as the Chaco Phenomenon. This study combines information on political evolution with archaeological data to produce a sociopolitically based model of the rise, florescence, and decline of the Chaco Phenomenon.
Description for Library
In the tenth century AD, a remarkable cultural development took place in the harsh and forbidding San Juan Basin of northwestern New Mexico. From small-scale, simply organised, prehistoric Pueblo societies, a complex and socially differentiated political system emerged which has become known as the Chaco Phenomenon. This study combines information on political evolution with archaeological data to produce a sociopolitically based model of the rise, florescence, and decline of the Chaco Phenomenon.
Main Description
In the tenth century AD, a remarkable cultural development took place in the harsh and forbidding San Juan Basin of northwestern New Mexico. From small-scale, simply organised, prehistoric Pueblo societies, a complex and socially differentiated political system emerged which has become known as the Chaco Phenomenon. The origins, evolution, and decline of this system have long been the subject of intense archaeological debate. Lynne Sebastian examines the transition of the Chaco system from an acephalous society, in which leadership was situational and most decision making carried out within kinship structures, to a hierarchically organised political structure with institutional roles of leadership. She argues that harsh environmental factors were not the catalyst for the transition, as has previously been thought. Rather, the increasing political complexity was a consequence of improved rainfall in the region which permitted surplus production, thus allowing those farming the best land to capitalise on the material success. By combining information on political evolution with archaeological data and the results of a computer simulation, she is able to produce a sociopolitically based model of the rise, florescence, and decline of the Chaco Phenomenon.
Description for Bookstore
Lynne Sebastian examines the transition of the Chaco system from a kinship structured society to a hierarchically organised political structure with institutional roles of leadership. She argues that the increasing political complexity was a consequence of improved rainfall in the region which permitted surplus production, not the harsh conditions as previously thought.
Table of Contents
List of illustrationsp. xiii
Acknowledgmentsp. xiv
Introductionp. 1
Social organization studies in archaeologyp. 2
Definitionsp. 7
Preview of coming attractionsp. 8
The Chaco Phenomenon: background and history of researchp. 9
Environment and paleoenvironmentp. 9
Discovery and explorationp. 13
Previous researchp. 14
The Chacoan archaeological recordp. 21
Arguments and explanationsp. 40
Sociopolitical complexity and the Chaco systemp. 42
Settlement pattern and site hierarchyp. 43
Distribution of material culture itemsp. 45
Architectural and construction datap. 48
Burial datap. 48
Demographyp. 51
Craft specializationp. 54
Construction and administration of water-control facilitiesp. 56
Conclusionsp. 56
Routes to sociopolitical powerp. 59
Typological and nontypological approachesp. 59
Power relationshipsp. 62
Why does sociopolitical complexity increase?p. 63
How does sociopolitical complexity increase?p. 70
Conclusionsp. 80
Previous explanations for the Chaco phenomenonp. 82
The 1970sp. 82
The late 1970s and early 1980sp. 84
Redistribution and sociopolitical complexityp. 85
Cultural complexity as a buffering mechanismp. 91
Relations of power, labor investment, and the political evolution of the Chaco systemp. 98
Setting the stagep. 99
The hypothesisp. 104
Available capital and major constructionp. 106
Political process and the Chaco Phenomenonp. 114
Summary and new directionsp. 142
The computer simulationp. 153
Referencesp. 166
Indexp. 179
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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