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Feedback Loops, Demographic Circumscription, and Changing Labor Organization on Isla Cedros, Baja California, Mexico

Author(s): Matthew Des Lauriers ; Dustin Merrick

Year: 2016

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Summary

Discussions of resilience theory (see Redman 2005; Folke 2006; and others) and its application to ancient human ecological systems view the process of cultural change as perpetually dynamic and involving patterns reliant upon a wide range of underlying factors constantly altered by a variety of catalysts and forces. This differs from more linear arguments of transformation by unidirectional external forcing. One such complex transformation occurred on Isla Cedros Baja California, in the Late Holocene between a period of village formation around AD 400-600 and a period of heightened population aggregation and alteration of basic labor organization from ~1150-1732. Montero Phase villages were built at ideal locations for access to water, ecotonal boundaries, and ease of travel to a variety of insular terrestrial resource zones. Houses during this period show dramatic differences in size and are relatively large (~6-13m in diameter). Following a period of dramatic change, later Huamalgüeño Phase villages are located in completely different landscape settings and show virtually no variation in the size of their small houses (3.5-4m in diameter), while demonstrating dramatic population aggregation. Some Huamalgüeño villages contain literally hundreds of these small house features. We critically examine several hypotheses to explain this transformation.


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Feedback Loops, Demographic Circumscription, and Changing Labor Organization on Isla Cedros, Baja California, Mexico. Matthew Des Lauriers, Dustin Merrick. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 405131)


Keywords


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