Houses and Families

Essay: Houses and Families


Essay must be:


  • a maximum of 5 double-spaced pages of text plus illustration(s)
  • typed in a 12-point font
  • with 1.25-inch margins
  • include bibliographic information on the source(s) for the household you select for your essay
  • the example must be from a published source; no websites; not your current home or previous home.


The buildings that people live in can provide archaeologists with information on the number of people who lived in the residence as well as how those people were organized. For instance, households occupied by small nuclear families, large extended families, and polygamous families are likely to be different in size and layout. Consequently, the arrangement of kitchens, bedrooms, work areas, hallways, doors, and other features can indicate how household members were organized and how they interacted.


The assignment:

Review publications on ethnographic, historic or modern residences and select one household for your essay. Your example must include a map of the household structure (or structures, some household have more than one building) and a good description of the social organization of the people who lived in the household. Do not use an archaeological example. Scan a copy of the map of the household structure to include in your essay.


Using concepts from book The Prehistory of Home, write an essay in which you evaluate how the social organization of the people living in the household is reflected in the size and layout of the household structure. Be sure to describe the architecture of the household (types of rooms, style, special features, size, access patterns, layout, etc.) as well as the social organization of people dwelling in structure. Discuss the historical and cultural setting of the structure and social group (when, where, and who).



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