The Harris Site, a Late Pithouse Period site located in the Mimbres Valley of southwestern New Mexico, was first excavated in the 1930s by Emil Haury. Data collected from Haury’s work at the Harris Site enabled him to define the Mogollon as a distinct cultural group in the Southwest (Haury 1936). Research at the Harris Site by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, under the direction of Dr. Barbara Roth, had aimed to build on Haury’s foundation of research and enhance our understanding of Mimbres Mogollon lifeways during the Pithouse period (AD 550-1000).
Archaeological investigations at the Harris site focused on addressing household and community organization during the Pithouse period and the relationship between household organization, subsistence practices, and sedentism over time. This work was funded in part by a National Science Foundation grant to Dr. Roth. Craft production during the Pithouse period also became an important focus of our research, and several graduate students have been working on projects involving ceramic and lithic production at the site. These issues, particularly household organization and craft production during the Pithouse period, are underexplored in the Mimbres region.
We completed fieldwork at the site in 2013 and excavated a total of 20 pithouses, 34 extramural features, and portions of a Three Circle phase (AD 750-1000) great kiva. A final report on the excavations was completed in 2015 and we are currently working on a synthetic book on our excavations.
One of the major findings of the current research is that corporate group organization developed during the Three Circle phase (A.D. 750-1000) at the site. We identified clusters of pithouses with shared architectural and ceramic traits that we think are the early manifestations of extended family corporate groups. Other autonomous households are present at the site that were linked to the overall community but were distinct from the clustered pithouses. We are using a variety of analytical techniques to explore how these households interacted and the role of the great kivas and plazas in communal integration.