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Radiocarbon Dates and Local Variation in Long-term Trends in Far Southeastern New Mexico

Author(s): Jim Railey

Year: 2016

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There are now well over 1,000 radiocarbon dates from the BLM’s Carlsbad Field Office region, and local variation in long-term patterns is becoming increasingly evident. In the Mescalero Plain, and most local areas within it, radiocarbon dates exhibit a prominent frequency spike in the 7th and 8th centuries A.D., followed by a precipitous plunge in the number of dates. But some local areas within the Mescalero Plain the numbers of dates remain comparatively high in the Late Formative period (A.D. 1100-1450), and the reasons for this may vary. For example, along the base of the Mescalero Escarpment, this pattern may reflect a concentration of Late Formative "villagers," at least some of whom practiced farming. The same appears to be true for the Maroon Cliffs area, although most Late Formative occupation there dates from the Maljamar phase (A.D. 1100-1300), and the number of dates drops off in the Ochoa phase (A.D. 1300-1450). Along the southern periphery of the Mescalero Plain, however, the comparatively high frequency of dates in the Late Formative may signal a continuation of highly mobile, forager lifeways throughout the Late Formative period, similar to adjacent portions of west Texas.

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Radiocarbon Dates and Local Variation in Long-term Trends in Far Southeastern New Mexico. Jim Railey. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404501)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -105.959; min lat: 31.826 ; max long: -102.859; max lat: 34.267 ;

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