Towards a Food Production Calendar for the Lower Salt Valley

Author(s): Robert Hunt; Scott Ingram

Year: 2015


A food production calendar for the Lower Salt River Valley would amplify our understanding of the largest prehistoric irrigation system in the New World. Hunt and Ingram have assembled a food production calendar for the Akimel O’odham (Pima) and Hohokam of the Middle Gila River valley (Kiva 2014). A question is whether this calendar can be extended to the Lower Salt River valley. The environmental variable for which we have the most information is air temperature. The historical records of agriculturally relevant air temperature for the Phoenix Basin are presented. Analysis of the temperature data support the extension of the Middle Gila calendar to the Lower Salt. Two crops of maize per solar year are often possible. Last freeze is a not infrequent problem in March for the first corn crop. First freeze is not a problem for maize. The growing season is sufficiently long to permit a cotton crop to mature. What little is known of the Salt River flow regime is articulated with the proposed cropping calendar for the Lower Salt valley. The implications of the Middle Gila and Lower Salt food production calendars for carrying capacity and trade are discussed.

SAA 2015 abstracts made available in tDAR courtesy of the Society for American Archaeology and Center for Digital Antiquity Collaborative Program to improve digital data in archaeology. If you are the author of this presentation you may upload your paper, poster, presentation, or associated data (up to 3 files/30MB) for free. Please visit for instructions and more information.

Cite this Record

Towards a Food Production Calendar for the Lower Salt Valley. Robert Hunt, Scott Ingram. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396093)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -115.532; min lat: 30.676 ; max long: -102.349; max lat: 42.033 ;