Farmaging and the Limitations of Storage during the Early Agricultural Period at Las Capas

Author(s): Michael Diehl

Year: 2015


The charred macroplant assemblage from Las Capas yielded one domesticate (Zea mays), and forty-six wild plant taxa endemic to the greater Tucson Basin of southern Arizona. These 47 taxa, their ubiquities, and their natural ranges of occurrence, indicate that the San Pedro phase and Early Cienega phase occupants of Las Capas were primarily dependent upon wild foods. Agriculture was used to mitigate the risks of food shortfalls associated with the alternative strategy of foraging for wild food plant taxa. Limitations on the utility of agriculture for producing sufficient food supplies were a consequence of the use of a very low yield variety of popcorn maize, and the absence of storage facilities capable of protecting stored food from moisture intrusion and subsequent degradation. The resulting subsistence system was likely a semisedentary one that saw multiple abandonments and reoccupations of the site each season. The particular combination of irrigation supported maize cultivation, extensive foraging, and seasonal residential mobility has no clear analog in the southwestern US ethnographic record. The term "Farmaging" is introduced to describe the Las Capas subsistence and settlement system.

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Cite this Record

Farmaging and the Limitations of Storage during the Early Agricultural Period at Las Capas. Michael Diehl. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396946)


Spatial Coverage

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