Classic Period Settlement Patterns along the Middle Gila River

Author(s): Chris Loendorf

Year: 2017


This paper summarizes archaeological data that show a substantial decrease in population occurred between the Sedentary (ca. 950-1150AD) and Classic Periods (ca. 1150-1500) along the middle Gila River in the Phoenix Basin. This decrease coincides with well documented increases along the lower Salt River. Extensive data suggest this pattern subsequently reversed in the Historic period, when people were again concentrated along the middle Gila, and the lower Salt River was extensively depopulated. The Salt and Gila Rivers have substantial differences in the topography and elevation of their drainage basins, which create divergent discharge regimes. Holocene climatic data suggest that conditions for irrigation along the Salt and Gila Rivers varied through time, and this variation may in part account for the differences in settlement patterns. These shifts in settlement patterns also affected ideological, economic, and political relationships within the region.

Cite this Record

Classic Period Settlement Patterns along the Middle Gila River. Chris Loendorf. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429516)


Geographic Keywords
North America - Southwest

Spatial Coverage

min long: -115.532; min lat: 30.676 ; max long: -102.349; max lat: 42.033 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 13255