Distance, Interaction, and Complexity: The Spatial Organization of Pan-Regional Settlement Clusters in the American Southwest
This chapter begins with an outline of the role that distance, viewed as a measure of transportation and communication costs, plays in the interpretation of site clusters found in other areas of North America. One aspect of the controversy over socio-political complexity in the prehistoric American Southwest revolves around the interpretation of site Clusters. A number of researchers have attempted to use some measure of distance to define the potential size of an area that could be integrated and controlled efficiently by an administrative center. The examination of the spatial relationships of mounded sites located along a 40 kilometer stretch of the Lower Tonto Basin suggests that food, information, and people could have been circulated efficiently between mound sites throughout the length of the riverine system examined. The chapter describes the spatial characteristics of site clusters on the southern Colorado Plateau, the Salt River Draw Plateau, and the Lower Tonto Basin.