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POLLEN AND MACROFLORAL ANALYSIS OF SAMPLES FROM A VIRGIN ANASAZI HABITATION (SITE 42WS325) IN SOUTHWEST UTAH

Author(s): Linda Scott Cummings ; Kathryn Puseman

Year: 1993

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Summary

Samples from several features at Site 42WS325 in southwest Utah were examined for

pollen and macrofloral remains. This site is a prehistoric Virgin Anasazi settlement with semisubterranean pit structures, surface rooms, isolated hearths, and a trash midden that appears to be a multicomponent site with a transitional Basketmaker III to Pueblo I component (A.D. 650-750) and a Pueblo II component (A.D. 1110 to 1150). Pollen and macrofloral analyses are used to

address questions concerning plant resources utilized by the various occupants of this site.

Pueblo I period Virgin Anasazi habitation sites have been found in both lowland (riverine)

and upland settings. This led some people to put forth the idea that the Pueblo I Virgin Anasazi

occupied these areas on a seasonal basis, with spring/summer occupations on the river bottoms

and fall/winter occupations in the uplands (Westfall et al. 1992:10). During the Pueblo I-Pueblo II

time period, "regional paleoenvironmental indicators show a trend from stable conditions (high

groundwater tables and a persistent precipitation regime) to generally stressful conditions: lowered

groundwater tables, stream entrenchment, erosion, and erratic precipitation" (Westfall et al.

1992:20). The major research problem at Site 42WS325 involves the effect of these environmental

changes on the prehistoric occupants of the area.

Two hypotheses have been formulated to address this question. The first hypothesis is that

the prehistoric population responded with agricultural intensification, which then led to year-round

sedentism. The second hypothesis suggests that the prehistoric occupants increased their mobility

and relied more on hunting and gathering of native plant resources. Pollen and macrofloral

analyses are used to help determine which adaptation strategy was used by the occupants of

42WS325. If agricultural intensification and sedentism was the preferred strategy, the pollen and

macrofloral data from Pueblo II-dated features should contain evidence for a relatively narrow

range of wild plant resources from more local habitats (riparian or lowland), an emphasis on

agriculture, and refuse indicative of year-round occupation. Alternatively, if the site occupants

responded with increased mobility, the pollen and macrofloral data from Pueblo II-dated features

would exhibit a relatively wide variety of wild plant resources from both lowland and upland habitats

in addition to cultivated resources and associated weedy plants, as well as evidence for episodic,

possibly spring/summer, occupation. Pollen and macrofloral records from small features, such as

hearths and pits, from both inside and outside living spaces will be used "to determine differential

uses of interior and exterior spaces as indicators of summer and winter occupations" (Westfall et

al. 1992:29).


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Cite this Record

POLLEN AND MACROFLORAL ANALYSIS OF SAMPLES FROM A VIRGIN ANASAZI HABITATION (SITE 42WS325) IN SOUTHWEST UTAH. Linda Scott Cummings, Kathryn Puseman. PRI Technical Report ,1993-071. 1993 ( tDAR id: 380587) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8F47NSN


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  Name Size Creation Date Date Uploaded Access
93-071.pdf 685.40kb Dec 27, 2012 2:25:56 PM Confidential
Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America