Ancient Households of the Americas

Conceptualizing What Households Do

edited by John G. Douglass and Nancy Gonlin

"This excellent book should be heavily used by anyone with an interest in household archaeology."
North American Archaeologist

"There are a number of excellent studies that scholars interested in household archaeology will find highly useful."
Journal of Anthropological Research

"This collection underscores the importance of household archaeology to the study of social dynamics."

"This volume is an impressive one. . . . In an era in which household archaeology has become essential to archaeological praxis, this volume is indeed essential reading."
Cambridge Archaeological Journal


In Ancient Households of the Americas archaeologists investigate the fundamental role of household production in ancient, colonial, and contemporary households.

Several different cultures—Iroquois, Coosa, Anasazi, Hohokam, San Agustín, Wankarani, Formative Gulf Coast Mexico, and Formative, Classic, Colonial, and contemporary Maya—are analyzed through the lens of household archaeology in concrete, data-driven case studies. The text is divided into three sections: Section I examines the spatial and social organization and context of household production; Section II looks at the role and results of households as primary producers; and Section III investigates the role of, and interplay among, households in their greater political and socioeconomic communities.

In the past few decades, household archaeology has made substantial contributions to our understanding and explanation of the past through the documentation of the household as a social unit-whether small or large, rural or urban, commoner or elite. These case studies from a broad swath of the Americas make Ancient Households of the Americas extremely valuable for continuing the comparative interdisciplinary study of households.


John G. Douglass is the director of of research and standards at Statistical Research, Inc. and is also a visiting scholar at the University of Arizona’s School of Anthropology. He has undertaken archaeological research in California, the American Southwest and Midwest, Honduras, and Belize over the past twenty-five years. Over the past decade, he has focused his research interests on colonial/indigenous interaction in the American Southwest and California from both archaeological and ethnohistoric perspectives.

Nancy Gonlin is a senior associate professor of Anthropology at Bellevue College, Washington, where she was awarded the Margin of Excellence Award in 2012. She is co-editor of Commoner Ritual and Ideology in Ancient MesoamericaAncient Households of the Americas, Human Adaptation in Ancient Mesoamerica, and Archaeology of the Night and co-author of Copán: The Rise and Fall of an Ancient Maya Kingdom. Watch her TEDx talk "Life After Dark in the Ancient World" here.

Imprint: University Press of Colorado

Book Details

  • Paperback Price: $39.95
  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-60732-538-3
  • Ebook Price: $33.95
  • 30-day ebook rental price: $16.00
  • EISBN: 978-1-60732-174-3
  • Publication Month: April
  • Publication Year: 2012
  • Pages: 472
  • Illustrations: 6 B&W photographs, 72 line drawings, 13 maps, 31 tables
  • Discount Type: Short
  • Author: edited by John G. Douglass and Nancy Gonlin
  • ECommerce Code: 978-1-60732-173-6