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Anthropological Papers of the University of Arizona

Paper #63
Expanding the View of Hohokam Platform Mounds: An Ethnographic Perspective

Author(s): Mark D. Elson*
Publisher: Anthropological Papers of the University of Arizona 63, 1998, $16.95
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Photo below: Cover design and mound site reconstructions by Ziba Ghassemi

In Expanding the View of Hohokam Platform Mounds, Elson goes beyond previous studies by examining platform mound function and social group organization through a cross-cultural study of historic mound-using groups in the Pacific Ocean region, South America, and the southeastern United States. Applying these data to the study of a prehistoric settlement system in the eastern Tonto Basin of Arizona, he argues that the mounds in this area were used variously as residences and ceremonial facilities by competing descent groups and were an indication of hereditary leadership. The mounds were important for group integration and resource management; after abandonment they may have served as ancestral shrines. Here is a fresh approach to an old puzzle, with new suggestions regarding variability among Hohokam populations.


*Dr. Mark Elson is a Senior Research Archaeologist at Desert Archaeology in Tucson. He has been engaged in archaeological research for more than twenty years, primarily in the American Southwest but also in the northeastern United States, Ecuador, and Argentina.

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