Regional interaction in the Northern Sierra: An analysis based on the late prehistoric occupation of the San Bernardino Valley, southeastern Arizona.
AuthorDouglas, John Elmer.
AdvisorSchiffer, Michael B.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe terms "core" and "periphery" have a long history of use for describing regional variability in the archaeological record. Contemporary theories for the late prehistoric in the Greater Southwest often follow this tradition, postulating underlying social processes that created this division. This dissertation examines the assumptions and the evidence for theories of long-distance social interaction by considering the prehistory of the Northern Sierra, a region in the south-central Greater Southwest located in northwestern Chihuahua, northeastern Sonora, southwestern New Mexico, and southeastern Arizona. Paquime (sometimes called Casas Grandes) in Chihuahua is widely considered to be the core of late prehistoric developments in the Northern Sierra. The history of research and interpretation of the region are carefully considered, an analysis that demonstrates the inadequacies of current data and theory. New frameworks will be needed to resolve disputed issues. Towards this end, evidence of interaction at Paquime is examined by analyzing the quantity and distribution of nonlocal ceramics within the site. These probable exchange items are found to be relatively rare and their distribution diffuse, indicating acquisition was largely casual and infrequent. Attention is then focused on the postulated periphery by examining the upper San Bernardino Valley in the extreme southeastern corner of Arizona. Data collected for this examination includes survey within the Valley and excavation of the late prehistoric Boss Ranch Site (AZ FF:7:10 (ASM)). The interpretive concerns that are addressed include (1) population movements, (2) external influences on settlement systems, (3) trade and interaction, and (4) the influences of subsistence systems. The analysis revealed no evidence of population intrusion from the "core" and few aspects of local material culture that could be ascribed to Paquime. Exchange items are rare, and the probable sources include many areas besides the zone around Paquime. Furthermore, excavation data suggest that settlements may have been occupied repeatedly for short periods. This undermines notions of stable core and periphery interaction by indicating the absence of surplus crops, stable social alliances, and hierarchical settlement systems in the region.