Earthen Architectural Diversity at an Early Village in the U.S. Southwest


Pueblo, archaeology, earthen architecture


Early Pueblo villagers in the Southwestern United States used a variety of earthen construction techniques. These techniques incorporated stone, wood, and other plant material in various ways to modify and strengthen the earthen matrix. We explore the variation in earthen architecture at one early Pueblo village, Alkali Ridge Site 13. The Ancestral Pueblo area includes portions of four U.S. states: Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah. Site 13 is located near the southeastern corner of Utah (Figure 1), within the Mesa Verde region, an archaeologically defined subdivision of the Ancestral Pueblo world that includes much of southwestern Colorado and southeastern Utah. The early village at Site 13 dates to the late 700s, during the early part of what archaeologists refer to as the Pueblo I period. A recent review of the dating suggests that the early Pueblo I village began to be built in the A.D. 750s and was probably abandoned by 780 (Allison n.d.). This was a time of rapid change in the Ancestral Pueblo world, as Pueblo people for the first time began to live in above ground rooms, and simultaneously shifted from a relatively dispersed settlement pattern to larger settlements of up to a few hundred people (Allison et al. 2012, Wilshusen 2018; Wilshusen et al. 2012; Wilshusen and Potter 2010).

Original Publication Citation

James R. Allison and Joseph A. Bryce 2018 Earthen Architectural Diversity at an Early Village in the U.S. Southwest. Paper presented at the XVIIIth Congress of the Union Internationale des Sciences Préhistoriques et Protohistoriques, Paris, France.

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date





Family, Home, and Social Sciences



University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor