Trincheras Sites in Time, Space, and Society
288 pages, 6 x 9
10 color photographs, 35 illustrations, 12 tables
Release Date:10 May 2008
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Trincheras Sites in Time, Space, and Society

The University of Arizona Press

The intriguing hilltop archaeological sites known as "cerros de trincheras" span almost three millennia, from 1250 BC to AD 1450. Archaeologists have long viewed them as a unitary phenomenon because they all have masonry architecture and occur mostly on low volcanic peaks. Scattered across the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico, these sites received little comprehensive research until the 1980s. This first volume in the Amerind Studies in Archaeology series from the Amerind Foundation documents considerable variability among trincheras sites with respect to age, geographic location, and cultural affiliation.

This multi-author volume integrates a remarkable body of new data representing a textbook-like array of current research issues and methodologies in the archaeology of the region. Scholars from the United States and Mexico offer original research on trincheras sites in Chihuahua, Sonora, Arizona, and New Mexico. Scales of focus range from intensive intrasite sampling to the largest contiguous survey in the region. Authors incorporate spatial analyses, artifact studies, environmental and subsistence data, ethnographic analogs, ethnohistorical records, cross-cultural comparisons, archaeology, and archival resources.

Contributors present meticulous research arguing that many trincheras sites were primarily used for habitation and ceremonial rites, in addition to previously predominant views of them as defensive refuges. Because trincheras occupations date from the late pre-ceramic era to shortly before Spanish contact, authors relate them to early forms of agriculture, the emergence of village life, the appearance of differentiated settlement systems, and tendencies toward political and ritual centralization.

Detailed maps and figures illustrate the text, and close-up aerial photographs capture the visual essence of the sites, highlighted by a section that includes color photographs and an essay by renowned photographer Adriel Heisey.


Foreword by John Ware


M. Elisa Villalpando, Suzanne K. Fish, and Paul R. Fish

1. Introduction

Paul R. Fish, Suzanne K. Fish, and M. Elisa Villalpando

2. Cerros de Trincheras in Northwestern Chihuahua: Arguments for Defense

Robert J. Hard and John R. Roney

3. Tumamoc Hill and the Early Pioneer Period Occupation of the Tucson Basin

Henry Wallace, Paul Fish, and Suzanne Fish

4. Cerros de Trincheras in Southern Arizona: Review and Current Status of the Deba

Christian E. Downum

5. Excavations at Cerro de Trincheras

Randall H. McGuire and M. Elisa Villalpando

6. Regional Heartlands and Transregional Trends

Suzanne K. Fish and Paul R. Fish

7. Delineating Hilltop Settlement Systems in West Central Arizona, AD 1100--1400

David Wilcox, Judith Taylor, Joseph Vogel, and J. Scott Wood

8. Crafting of Places: Mesoamerican Monumentality in Cerros de Trincheras and Other Hilltop Sites

Ben A. Nelson

9. Concluding Observations: Perspectives from the Hill Towns of Oaxaca

Stephen A. Kowalewski

Photographing Trincheras Sites

Adriel Heisey



About the Contributors

M. Elisa Villalpando holds the position of Investigadora with the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Centro Sonora.
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