Households on the Mimbres Horizon
Excavations at La Gila Encantada, Southwestern New Mexico
Little is known about the variability present at pithouse sites away from the major Mimbres and Gila River Valleys. Nonriverine occupations have been understudied until now. This book describes subsistence and settlement practices and compares the results with recent research conducted at the larger villages in the Mimbres River Valley. Despite basic similarities in material culture, households at La Gila Encantada appear to have followed different trajectories than those along the rivers. Examining these differences, archaeologist Barbara J. Roth provides insights into some of the reasons why they existed and shows that the variability present in pithouse occupations over the years was tied to multiple factors, including environmental differences, economic practices, and the social composition of groups occupying the sites. With chapters assessing ceramic data, chipped and groundstone analysis, shell and mineral jewelry, and regional context, this look at the past offers relevant insights into current issues in Southwest archaeology, including identity, interaction, and household organization.
“Most of what we know about the Mimbres region comes from large pueblo sites near the Mimbres River. In this volume, Roth summarizes the results of excavations at La Gila Encantada, a Late Pithouse village site in the uplands of the Mimbres region. The data show significant differences between the uplands and the lowlands in terms of mobility strategies, agricultural dependence, and household organization. This archaeological site provides a major contribution to our knowledge of the variation in Pithouse period occupations across the whole Mimbres region.”—Alison E. Rautman, author of Constructing Community: The Archaeology of Early Villages in Central New Mexico