Looking Outward from the Village: The Effects of Soil Moisture on Prehistoric Cropland in the Central Mesa Verde Region
Author(s): Andrew Gillreath-Brown
Ancestral Pueblo communities of the central Mesa Verde region (CMV) became increasingly reliant on maize agriculture for their subsistence needs by A.D. 900. Researchers have been studying the Ancestral Pueblo people for over a century using a variety of methods to understand the relationships between climate, agriculture, population, and settlements. While this research has produced a well-developed cultural history of the region, studies at a smaller scale are still needed to understand the relationship between farming landscapes and settlement patterns. Ancestral Pueblo farmers were dependent on having sufficient soil moisture for successful plant growth. A static geospatial soil moisture model was developed to predict potential agricultural field locations in the semi-arid region of the Goodman Point watershed in the CMV. The results of the model and its application help to clarify subtle changes within local farming communities. Farmers shifted away from preferred farmland during Terminal Pueblo III (ca. A.D. 1260–1300), probably because of other factors such as a desire to protect and surround critical water sources. The general outcome of this research is an improved understanding of human-environmental relationships across the local landscape in the CMV.
Cite this Record
Looking Outward from the Village: The Effects of Soil Moisture on Prehistoric Cropland in the Central Mesa Verde Region. Andrew Gillreath-Brown. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 428926)
This Resource is Part of the Following Collections
min long: -115.532; min lat: 30.676 ; max long: -102.349; max lat: 42.033 ;
Abstract Id(s): 14815