The Process of Migration in the Late Prehistoric Southwest. In Migration and Reorganization: The Pueblo IV Period in the American Southwest
Duff, Andrew I.
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Greater understanding of migration behavior can provide southwestern archaeologists with new insights into prehistoric social dynamics. However, this requires reorienting the way in which archaeologists approach the study of migration. Migration is a process, not an event. Examination of migration studies in a number of related disciplines highlights several concepts crucial to understanding prehistoric migration behavior. Drawing on conceptions of scale, decisions involved in destination selection, and factors influencing the unit of migration, I argue that migration behavior has both a predictable structure and identifiable stages. Examination of the process of migration also requires that archaeologists broaden their temporal and regional frameworks. An initial attempt to do so is provided. Consideration of the southwestern archaeological record at a macro-regional scale between A.D. 1000-1400 in 50-year intervals permits an assessment of the scale and influence of migration in different archaeological districts. This analysis reveals the household as the primary unit of migration and suggests that long-distance migration is rare. Contending that the migration history of a district influences processes of community formation, population aggregation and nucleation, propositions regarding these social dynamics are discussed.