GIS Modeling of Agricultural Suitability in the Highlands of the Jornada Branch of the Mogollon Culture of southcentral New Mexico
Changes in the importance of agriculture in prehistoric economies are of major interest in a range of contexts worldwide. Measures of site location in relation to agricultural potential are an important tool for identifying relative shifts in the importance of agriculture over time within a given region. Here we examine the application of GIS modeling of agricultural potential based on soils, topography, temperature, precipitation, and horizontal coordinates in the highlands of the Jornada branch of the Mogollon culture of southcentral New Mexico to explore shifts in agricultural reliance over time.
We describe the methods, potential limitations, and potential advantages of this approach, as well as preliminary results. Identifying variables that reliably predict agricultural potential is complicated by the limited resolution of available data for the large study area, overlapping legal jurisdictions (state versus federal land), complex topography, as well as by a lack of modern non-mechanized farming data to ground-truth estimates of relative productivity. Nevertheless, the approach allows comparisons for relative changes in settlement placement over time in relation to variables that are likely to impact agricultural productivity. Importantly, the GIS data also permit analysis of site location data biases, contrasting sites found by systematic survey versus incidental finds.
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GIS Modeling of Agricultural Suitability in the Highlands of the Jornada Branch of the Mogollon Culture of southcentral New Mexico. Andrea Anderson, Tom Rocek. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 405107)
min long: -115.532; min lat: 30.676 ; max long: -102.349; max lat: 42.033 ;