cover of book

Mimbres Life and Society: The Mattocks Site of Southwestern New Mexico
by Patricia A. Gilman and Steven A. LeBlanc
University of Arizona Press, 2017
eISBN: 978-0-8165-3739-6 | Cloth: 978-0-8165-3563-7
Library of Congress Classification E99.M76G55 2017
Dewey Decimal Classification 978.901

A thousand years ago, village farmers in the Mimbres Valley of what is now southwestern New Mexico created stunning black-on-white pottery. Mimbres pottery has added a fascinating dimension to southwestern archaeology, but it has also led to the partial or total destruction of most Mimbres sites. The Mimbres Foundation, in one of the few modern investigations of a Mimbres pueblo, excavated the Mattocks site, containing about 180 surface rooms in addition to pit structures. Mimbres Life and Society details the Mattocks site’s architecture and artifacts, and it includes 160 figures, showing more than 400 photographs of painted vessels from the site.

Mimbres pueblos, as early examples of people using surface room blocks, are ideal for investigating questions about how and why people moved from earlier subterranean pit structures to aboveground room blocks. The authors consider the number of households living at the site before and after the transition, as well as the lack of evidence for subsistence intensification and population growth as causes of this transition. These analyses suggest that each room block on the site housed a single family as opposed to multiple families, the more common interpretation. There were not necessarily more households on the site during the Classic period than earlier.

Patricia A. Gilman and Steven A. LeBlanc spent five seasons excavating at the Mattocks site and many more analyzing and writing about Mattocks site data. They note that subtle social differences among people were at play, and they emphasize that the Mattocks site may be unique among Mimbres pueblos in many aspects. Mimbres Life and Society reveals broad-ranging implications for southwestern archaeologists and anyone interested in understanding the ancient Southwest and early village societies.
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