The dramatic split of the Hopi community of Orayvi in 1906 had lasting consequences not only for the people of Third Mesa but also for the very buildings around which they centered their lives. This book examines architectural and other effects of that split, using architectural change as a framework with which to understand social and cultural processes at prehistoric Southwestern pueblos. Catherine Cameron examines architectural change at Orayvi from 1871 to 1948, a period of great demographic and social upheaval.
Her study is unique in its use of historic photographs to document and understand abandonment processes and apply that knowledge to prehistoric sites. Photos taken by tourists, missionaries, and early anthropologists during the late nineteenth century portray original structures, while later photos show how Orayvi buildings changed over a period of almost eighty years. Census data relating to house size and household configuration shed additional light on social change in the pueblo.
Examining change at Orayvi afforded an opportunity to study the architectural effects of an event that must have happened many times in the past--the partial abandonment of a pueblo--by tracing the effects of sudden population decline on puebloan architecture. Cameron's work provides clues to how and why villages were abandoned and re-established repeatedly in the prehistoric Southwest as it offers a unique window on the relationship between Pueblo houses and the living people who occupied them.