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Journal of Anthropological Archaeology

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Northwest Coast of North America -- Antiquities, Indians of North America -- Dwellings -- Northwest Coast of North America, Indian architecture -- Northwest Coast of North America -- Economic aspects


Household archaeology focuses on what households do. Building and repairing houses is a household task that receives less explicit attention than do other tasks. Through the lens of political economy, we examine how three southern Northwest Coast households organized and orchestrated a complex labor task: building and maintaining their houses, by developing estimates of labor and raw material costs. We then use this analysis to show how house building and maintenance bears on issues of collective action, monumentality, anthropogenic landscapes, the development of concepts of property on the Northwest Coast, and of household continuity across episodes of cultural change. The political economies of Northwest Coast households have been central to theory building about the evolution and nature of sociocultural complexity among complex hunter-gatherer-fisher societies, but archaeological attention has emphasized subsistence. Our analysis does not supplant such models, but rather compliments them.


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