I n most societies, the home is the physical container of the family, whether or not constituted by individuals who see themselves in a cooperative kinship relationship. The first part of this chapter discusses how the home may function as the
symbolic container of families or groups of people who identify themselves as related through a house-based association. In fact, the built structure itself, or the idea of it, may serve as a focus of social organization in a community. The second half of the chapter is a bit more prosaic; it reviews methods used to identify what family, kinship, and marriage structures might have existed in an ancient community.