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Ancestral Pueblo Archaeology: The Value of Synthesis


Archaeologists working in the Ancestral Pueblo region of the American Southwest have documented variability in sociopolitical and economic complexity, landscape use, community organization, mobility, and violence at a wide range of temporal and spatial scales from AD 500-1700. Recent studies have a strong synthetic orientation, employ methods that track material culture, mobility, and social networks at macroregional scales, and benefit from a renewed engagement with indigenous peoples. Much of this research relies on integrating vast amounts of data from numerous academic and cultural resource management projects and demonstrates the promise of an archaeology that relies on the cumulative acquisition and sharing of data. Given the scale and depth of this research, Ancestral Pueblo archaeology is an exceptional comparative case for archaeologists considering similar processes, especially at fine temporal and wide geographical scales, in ancient farming societies across the globe.

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