Late Pueblo II and Pueblo III Canyon Settlement Patterns at Cedar Mesa, Southeastern Utah
Morton, Edward Ethan
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The primary objective of this study is to examine settlement patterns on Cedar Mesa within five canyons during the late Pueblo II and Pueblo III periods (ca A.D. 1060-1270). The secondary objective is to compare results with settlement patterning in the larger drainage basins of which the canyons represent a small but environmentally distinctive part. This thesis explores the relative strength and degree to which several variables affect settlement patterns. I use this study to address some fundamental questions: Why did prehistoric peoples place their settlements where they did? Is there any difference in the locations of settlements between the physiographic zones of the canyons and the mesa tops? Did settlement patterns change within the late Pueblo II and Pueblo III periods?Data were gathered from 139 late Pueblo II and Pueblo period archaeological sites from five canyons on Cedar Mesa. A subset of 32 sites were assigned to one of four chronological phases (Windgate, Clay Hills, Woodenshoe, Red House). All sites were assigned to two functional categories-habitation or storage. Sites classified as habitations were further subdivided into large and small categories. Utilizing these chronological and functional categories, sites were compared using six variables: site density, artifact assemblages, elevation, distance to drainage channel, exposure, and defense features.The major observations of the analysis are 1)Habitation is emphasized in the northern canyons while storage is emphasized in the southern canyons. 2)Sites are concentrated at the higher elevations near the heads and rims and more spatially dispersed at low elevations. 3)Exposures are predominantly southern. 4)Defensive features are concentrated in high resource areas. 4)Besides a higher density of storage sites, canyon settlement is similar to mesa top settlement. 5)Through time there is an increasing emphasis on the canyon environments culminating in the final phase of occupation. This may be due to increasing levels of conflict in the region as all dated defensive features are from this final phase.