1st Edition

Architectural Energetics in Archaeology Analytical Expansions and Global Explorations

Edited By Leah McCurdy, Elliot M. Abrams Copyright 2019
    322 Pages
    by Routledge

    322 Pages
    by Routledge

    Archaeologists and the public at large have long been fascinated by monumental architecture built by past societies. Whether considering the earthworks in the Ohio Valley or the grandest pyramids in Egypt and Mexico, people have been curious as to how pre-modern societies with limited technology were capable of constructing monuments of such outstanding scale and quality. Architectural energetics is a methodology within archaeology that generates estimates of the amount of labor and time allocated to construct these past monuments. This methodology allows for detailed analyses of architecture and especially the analysis of the social power underlying such projects.

    Architectural Energetics in Archaeology assembles an international array of scholars who have analyzed architecture from archaeological and historic societies using architectural energetics. It is the first such volume of its kind. In addition to applying architectural energetics to a global range of architectural works, it outlines in detail the estimates of costs that can be used in future architectural analyses.

    This volume will serve archaeology and classics researchers, and lecturers teaching undergraduate and graduate courses related to social power and architecture. It also will interest architects examining past construction and engineering projects.

    1: Massive Assumptions and Moundbuilders: The History, Method, and Relevance of Architectural Energetics

    Elliot M. Abrams and Leah McCurdy

    2: Built Environments and Social Organizations: A Comparative View from Asia

    Nam C. Kim and Jina Heo

    3: Pharaonic Power and Architectural Labor Investment at the Karnak Temple Complex

    Megan Drennan and Michael J. Kolb

    4: An Energetics Approach to the Construction of the Heuneburg: Thoughts on Celtic Labor Cost Choices

    Fran├žois Remise

    5: To House and Defend: The Application of Architectural Energetics to Southeast Archaic Greek Sicily

    Jerrad Lancaster

    6: Labor Mobilization and Medieval Castle Construction in at Salemi, Western Sicily

    Michael J. Kolb, Scott Detrich Kirk, and William M. Balco

    7: Labor Recruitment among Tribal Societies: An Architectural Energetic Analysis of Serpent Mound, Ohio

    Jamie L. Davis, Jarrod Burks, and Elliot M. Abrams

    8: The Energetics of Earthen Landscape Modification: An Assessment of an Emerging Mississippian Polity

    Cameron H. Lacquement

    9: Dual Labor Organization Models for the Construction of Monumental Architecture in a Corporate Society

    Anthony James DeLuca

    10: Peopling Monuments: Virtual Energetics and Labor Impact Analysis of Monumental Construction at Xunantunich, Belize

    Leah McCurdy

    11: A Construction Management Approach to Building the Monumental Adobe Ciudadelas at Chan Chan, Peru

    Richard L. Smailes

    12: Towards a Multiscalar Comparative Approach to Power Relations: Political Dimensions of Urban Construction at Teotihuacan and Copan

    Tatsuya Murakami

    13: The Future of Architectural Energetics in 2D and 3D

    Leah McCurdy and Elliot M. Abrams


    Leah McCurdy is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Art & Art History at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) and a Research Associate with The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). Leah earned her PhD from UTSA in 2016 with her dissertation focused on the application of energetics and labor analysis to the ancient Maya site of Xunantunich, Belize. Leah has been excavating at Xunantunich since 2008 to collect data relevant to her research interests in ancient construction practices, cooperative labor, the intersections of monumentality and community, as well as the meaning of the ancient built environment.

    Elliot M. Abrams is Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at Ohio University. He refined and promoted the methodology of architectural energetics in How the Maya Built Their World (1994). In addition to his archaeological research in Mesoamerica, he has conducted excavations in the Ohio Valley for over three decades. He coedited (with AnnCorinne Freter) The Emergence of the Moundbuilders: The Archaeology of Tribal Societies in Southeastern Ohio (2005), which outlines the formation of sedentary tribal communities. He also studies environmental change, economic institutions, and social power through the lens of anthropological archaeology.