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Probing the Nexus between Hohokam Demography and Agricultural Productivity across the Pre-Classic/Classic Transition

Author(s): Aaron Wright ; Colleen Strawhacker

Year: 2017

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The onset of the Hohokam Classic Period witnessed the consolidation of settlements within the major river valleys of southern Arizona, a demographic reorganization that culminated after centuries of regional expansion, population growth, and cultural florescence. In the Salt River Valley, the resultant demographic packing was unprecedented and appears to have promoted environmental degradation, aggravated biological stress, and suppressed birth rates. It has been suggested that communities responded to this increased stress by intensifying their reliance on maize agriculture. We therefore use this paper to explore whether the productivity of farmland was a factor in the demographic processes associated with the Classic Period transition in the Salt River Valley. If so, we suspect populations would have massed in proximity to the most viable farmlands in the valley. To test this, we compare relevant data on soil quality around local platform mounds, the epicenters and hallmarks of Classic Period primary villages across the Hohokam World to those around ballcourts, hallmarks of the pre-Classic Hohokam World. Because platform mounds were products of considerable labor investment and pillars of community identity, their locations signal places where communities deliberately and strategically chose to either maintain ties or establish new land claims during the pre-Classic/Classic transition.

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Probing the Nexus between Hohokam Demography and Agricultural Productivity across the Pre-Classic/Classic Transition. Aaron Wright, Colleen Strawhacker. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429519)


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14519

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