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Modeling Soil Moisture of Farmland near Mesa Verde Villages at Goodman Point, Southwestern Colorado

Author(s): Lisa Nagaoka ; Andrew Brown ; Steve Wolverton ; Feifei Pan

Year: 2015

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Summary

The abandonment of the Mesa Verde region at the end of the Pueblo III (PIII) period (AD 1150 to 1300) represents a complex synergy of causal processes, such as inter-village conflict, drought induced water and food resource stress, and high population density. Decisions to abandon a place, however, occurred at the scale of human interaction, that of the village. This study examines one factor that would have been important in those decisions, the location and properties of farmplots near villages. Aggregation into large villages in defensive locations where water sources were easily accessed and more easily protected as well as regional and local data on animal exploitation indicate that food resource use became concentrated near villages during PIII. Farmplots near villages would have made a major contribution to subsistence. In this study, we pilot a hydrological model to evaluate the spatial distribution of the soil moisture in relation to the archaeological sites of the Goodman Point area in southwestern Colorado in order to determine the locations and agricultural potential of farm plots near villages. This local-scale study of farmplot potential provides the opportunity to examine an important aspect of subsistence near and within villages at Goodman Point.

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Modeling Soil Moisture of Farmland near Mesa Verde Villages at Goodman Point, Southwestern Colorado. Andrew Brown, Lisa Nagaoka, Feifei Pan, Steve Wolverton. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 398334)


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Spatial Coverage

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

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America