Ceramics and Community Organization among the Hohokam
David Abbott contends that reconstructions of Hohokam social patterns based solely on settlement pattern data provide limited insight into prehistoric social relationships. By analyzing ceramic exchange patterns, he provides complementary information that challenges existing models of sociopolitical organization among the Hohokam of central Arizona.
Through ceramic analyses from Classic period sites such as Pueblo Grande, Abbott shows that ceramic production sources and exchange networks can be determined from the composition, surface treatment attributes, and size and shape of clay containers. The distribution networks revealed by these analyses provide evidence for community boundaries and the web of social ties within them.
Abbott's meticulous research documents formerly unrecognized horizontal cohesiveness in Hohokam organizational structure and suggests how irrigation was woven into the fabric of their social evolution. By demonstrating the contribution that ceramic research can make toward resolving issues about community organization, this work expands the breadth and depth of pottery studies in the American Southwest.
"Abbott delivers on his claims. His book is a model of explicit clarity, both in terms of the presentation of his methods, data analyses, and interpretative findings and also in terms of the application of his data to the earlier work of Hohokam scholars and to current general models of irrigation community social organization. The value of this book goes far beyond the small community of Hohokam archaeologists itself."—Journal of Anthropological Research
"This is a very innovative study...Abbott's conclusions will have to be addressed in any future discussion of Hohokam social organization in the Phoenix Basin."—Stephen Plog, University of Virginia
"Abbott's analysis is a landmark in Hohokam studies. He reaches beyond specific analyses of ceramics to understand the context in which vessels were produced, distributed, and used."—Barbara Mills, University of Arizona