Did the Sheep Look Up? Sociopolitical Complexity in Ninth Century Dolores Society
The Dolores Archaeological Program, with a research focus on eighth and ninth century Anasazi culture in the Dolores area of southwestern Colorado, provides well-controlled data sets that may help answer this crucial question in Southwestern prehistory. Economic costs and subsistence needs, or alternatively, sociopolitical growth and influence, were targeted as probably the most influential agents determining the direction of the Dolores Anasazi system. Social power is viewed as an alternative, or perhaps complementary, source of primary change within the general systems framework. The sociopolitical and economic least cost models differ primarily in their proposed principal sources of change: the social model predicts change concurrent with the appearance and growth of powerful political groups or individuals, while the economic model predicts change concurrent with shifts in subsistence costs and risks. Architectural data bear on the central problem of an egalitarian setting versus the presence and influence of powerful groups.