pueblo archaeology, megalith, monumental architecture


Worldwide, megaliths are a common form of monumental architecture in Neolithic and later societies. Archaeologists in western Europe, and other parts of the world where megalithic monuments occur, have often discussed the meanings of megalithic features as well as their associations with ritual, territoriality, and social organization. In the Pueblo Southwest, most monumental architecture takes the form of large, unusually tall buildings (“great houses”), oversized ritual architecture (“great kivas”), or landscape features (roads and berms), all of which are most commonly associated with the Chaco system. Ancestral Pueblo people also occasionally built with ostentatiously large rocks, but megalithic features and their associations have received little attention from southwestern archaeologists. At Coal Bed Village, a large Ancestral Pueblo ruin in southeastern Utah that dates to the AD 1200s, a row of large standing stones is associated with other forms of monumental architecture, including several great houses. Megaliths are also used in other contexts: as part of a site-enclosing wall, in apparent ritual contexts, or less visibly incorporated into expediently built great house walls. Access to the site was channeled through spaces where megalithic features and monumental buildings were designed to impress.

Original Publication Citation

James R. Allison, Fumi Arakawa, Marion Forest, Katie K. Richards, and David T. Yoder 2022 Megaliths and Monumental Architecture at Coal Bed Village, an Ancestral Pueblo Site in Southeastern Utah. Paper presented at the 87th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date



Society for American Archaeology




Family, Home, and Social Sciences



University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor