House rules? The practice of social organization in Classic-period Chunchucmil,Yucatan, Mexico

Scott R. Hutson, Aline Magnoni, Travis W. Stanton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


This paper presents results of excavations from three house lots at Chunchucmil, a Classic-period site in northwestern Yucatan, Mexico. Each of the three house lots contains multiple residential structures organized around patios with temples on the east side of the patio. The boundaries of the house lots are clearly marked by low walls that encircle the architecture and non-mounded space. These house lots were occupied by multiple-family groups that held a common identity. Inequality existed within these groups insofar as one residence in each group was larger and better constructed than the others. In discussing the succession of leadership within these groups, we argue that social organization resembled the flexible house society model presented by Claude Lévi-Strauss, as opposed to rule-guided models based solely on descent or kinship. The practical nature of social organization is seen in the type of modifications found on the east structures of these groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-92
Number of pages18
JournalAncient Mesoamerica
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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