Agriculture at Las Capas: Tales Told by the Canals

Author(s): Fred Nials

Year: 2015


Las Capas is an Early Agricultural period site in the Tucson Basin, Arizona. Canal irrigation began at the site as early as 1200 BC and the canal system encompasses more than 50 hectares. Agricultural features are unusually well-preserved, and more than 250 canals of various sizes and over 1000 bordered fields were exposed in multiple stratigraphic levels during excavation. The unusual degree of preservation provides an exceptional opportunity to examine the mode of construction, hydrology, agricultural technology, and operation and maintenance of the canal system at the site. Water requirements and limitations, delivery options, and time and labor needed for completion of individual watering cycles have been calculated. Despite major environmental changes, the irrigation system shows no signs of significant experimentation, changes in operation methodology, or major technological advances during the 800 years of occupation at the site.

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Cite this Record

Agriculture at Las Capas: Tales Told by the Canals. Fred Nials. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396952)


Spatial Coverage

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