The structure and function of the prehistoric household in the pueblo southwest: A case study from Turkey Creek Pueblo

TitleThe structure and function of the prehistoric household in the pueblo southwest: A case study from Turkey Creek Pueblo
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication1986
AuthorsLowell, J
Academic DepartmentAnthropology
UniversityUniversity of Arizona
KeywordsArchitecture, Hopi, room typology, social organization

The Pueblo household in the American Southwest is examined at Hopi and Zuni and at the prehistoric pueblo of Turkey Creek. Cultural, economic, and environmental factors that influence household organization and function crossculturally are identified and organized into a framework suitable for investigation of households in the archaeological record. Early Hopi and Zuni ethnographic material is reorganized within the research framework thus established. The arrangement of activities in space by social unit is discussed and tabulated to serve as a convenient reference for archaeologists. This research framework directs examination of household dynamics in a unique prehistoric village, Turkey Creek Pueblo.

Turkey Creek Pueblo is a 335 room thirteenth century ruin of which 314 rooms were excavated. Its broad and consistently reported room attribute data provide an extraordinary opportunity for understanding the social use of space in a large prehistoric community. Analysis of 31 room variables in 301 rooms reveals that patterning of room attributes is influenced by three interacting dimensions--room function, temporal change, and intrapueblo areal differentiation. Both the raw data and the results of the computer procedures are tabulated to serve as a reference for comparative analysis.

Household dwellings were composed of three room types--storage rooms (small with no hearth), habitation rooms (large with rectangular hearth), and miscellaneous activity rooms (mid-sized with circular hearth). A typical dwelling had one habitation room, one or two miscellaneous activity rooms, and two or three storage rooms. Considerable variability existed in the size and organization of dwellings.

Architectural analysis further suggests that households at Turkey Creek Pueblo formed the basal level of a four-level organizational hierarchy that included the suprahousehold, the dual division, and the village. The activities that occurred within the physical spaces associated with these social units are assessed, as are the mechanisms of population aggregation and village abandonment.