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The Middle and Late Holocene Archaeological and Climatic Records of Southern New Mexico and Trans-Pecos Texas: New Insights and New Revelations

Author(s): Myles Miller ; Tim Graves

Year: 2016

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Summary

A contextual analysis of 3,989 radiocarbon dates provides unprecedented insights into 8,000 years of prehistoric adaptions and social evolution in the northern Chihuahuan Desert of southern New Mexico and Trans-Pecos Texas. The chronology is particularly robust between 4500 BP and historic times, allowing for distinctive subsistence, technological, and social developments to be isolated throughout the terminal Middle Holocene and Late Holocene and corresponding Middle Archaic, Late Archaic, and Ceramic cultural periods. The high-resolution chronology is based on radiocarbon-dated settlements, features, technologies, perishable items, and projectile points and reveals several trends and transitions, including punctuated demographic swings and periods of regional abandonment, shifting lowland desert and upland mountain settlements, and related technological and subsistence developments. The archaeological sequences are then compared to geomorphological sequences, speleothem records, and other proxy paleoenvironmental data, as well as radiocarbon and optically-stimulated luminescence dates from geomorphological and paleoenvironmental studies. The combined archaeological and environmental records provide insights into several topics of archaeological and anthropological significance, including culture-climate interactions, the introduction and spread of maize, and relationships between horticulture and earth oven plant baking, each of which in turn are related to increasing social complexity in the arid lands of the northern Chihuahuan Desert.


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Cite this Record

The Middle and Late Holocene Archaeological and Climatic Records of Southern New Mexico and Trans-Pecos Texas: New Insights and New Revelations. Myles Miller, Tim Graves. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403567)


Keywords

Geographic Keywords
North America - Southwest


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