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A Space Syntax Analysis of Arroyo Hondo Pueblo, New Mexico

Community Formation in the Northern Rio Grande
By Jason S. Shapiro

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Overview

Until recently, archaeologists have rarely studied prehistoric architecture as if it were an artifact comparable to pottery or stone tools. Following the premise that built space embodies social organization, Jason Shapiro takes a fresh look at architectural data from Arroyo Hondo Pueblo, a fourteenth-century site in the northern Rio Grande Valley of present day New Mexico. Using the theoretical assumptions and mathematical techniques of space syntax analysis, he explores what changes in architecture reveal about people’s social lives. A significant shift toward greater residential "privacy" during the later period occurred in Arroyo Hondo as well as the contemporaneous pueblos of Tijeras and Puyé and twentieth-century Acoma Pueblo. This analysis demonstrates that transformations in the arrangement of space can illuminate social change even when they are not accompanied by changes in other kinds of artifacts or technologies.

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