In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, many Western Pueblo settlements in what is now the southwestern UnitedStates may have possessed distinctly hierarchical organizational structures. These communities' agricultural systems—which were "intensive" in the use of labor rather than "extensive" in area—may have given rise to political leadership that managed both labor and food resources. That formal management of food resources was needed is suggested by the large size of storage spaces located around some communal Great Kivas (underground ceremonial chambers). Though no direct evidence exists that such spaces were used to store food, Western Pueblo communities lacking sufficient arable land to support their populations could have preserved the necessary extra food, including imported foodstuffs, in such apparently communal spaces.

Moreover, evidence of specialization in producing raw materials and in manufacturing ceramics and textiles indicates differentiation of labor within and between communities. The organizational and managerial demands of such specialization strengthen the possibility that a decision-making elite existed, an elite whose control over labor, the use of community surpluses, and the acquisition of imported goods would have led to a concentration of economic resources in their own hands. Evidence for differential distribution of wealth is found in burials of the period: some include large quantities of pottery, jewelry, and other artifacts, whereas others from the same sites lack any such materials.

The primary purpose of the passage is to

outline the methods by which resources were managed within a particular group of communities

account for the distribution of wealth within a particular group of communities

provide support for a hypothesis concerning the social structure of a particular society

explain how political leadership changed in a particular historical situation

present new evidence that contradicts previous theories about a particular historical situation


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