Regional Exchange Networks in the American Southwest: A Comparative Analysis of Long-Distance Trade
Archaeologists have assigned long-distance trade a critical role in their efforts to study complex societies in the American Southwest. The empirical studies done to date have sometimes produced conflicting results, especially regarding the relative importance of site size and site location in determining the distributions of long-distance trade goods. Archaeologists attempted to interpret the evidence for sociopolitical complexity in the prehistoric Southwest by applying the ideal organizational types that have been defined by cultural evolutionists. The primary problem that hampers any effort to study long-distance exchange is the inconsistent way in which Southwestern archaeologists have recorded data on trade goods. Since long-distance exchange networks in the prehistoric Southwest involved the movement of a variety of goods, the logical first step in documenting the changing structure of these networks is to compare the distributions of major trade goods through time.