Transformative relocation in the U.S. Southwest and Mesoamerica

Ben Nelson, Adrian S Z Chase, Michelle Hegmon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


A comparative perspective, drawing from cases in the U.S. Southwest and Northern Mexico, is used to illuminate the iconic Classic Maya "collapse," and to define the concept of transformative relocation. In some of the cases we discuss-including La Quemada and Classic Mimbres, as well as Maya-the end of a social configuration is not the end of a people. Rather, a broad temporal and regional perspective demonstrates that the dramatic change we see in the archaeological record is best characterized as a transformative relocation in which people relocated themselves and adopted new ways of life. The comparative perspective allows us to identify factors that contribute to this kind of transformation, including a compounding of vulnerabilities and situations of path dependence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-182
Number of pages12
JournalArcheological Papers of the American Anthropological Association
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2014


  • Archaeology
  • Maya
  • Northern mexico
  • Transformative relocation
  • U.S. southwest

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


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