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Measuring Risk to Food Security in the Prehispanic U.S. Southwest: The Salinas Region in the Broader Southwest World

Author(s): Colleen Strawhacker ; Grant Snitker ; Keith Kintigh ; Ann Kinzig ; Katherine Spielmann

Year: 2017

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Marginal environments present risks to food shortfall to prehistoric small-scale societies, which create and rely on social and environmental strategies to mitigate those risks. One piece to understanding the vulnerability to failing to produce enough food is defining the risk factors that may limit food procurement on a given landscape – in our case, the U.S Southwest. Using large archaeological, historical, and ecological datasets, our main risk to food production – growing season precipitation - is mapped to model the risk of maize shortfall in the U.S. Southwest. With these maps, we measure how places on the landscape may have been anticorrelated in the past, that is, one region receiving more rainfall when another region does not. By creating this ecological "risk landscape" to define the anticorrelations across a region, we can then begin to address the social strategies, such as social networks that were employed when faced with food shortfall. Due to the special nature of this session, we present analyses and methodology performed on quantifying risk landscapes across the entire U.S. Southwest, but will focus on interpretations from the Salinas region in central New Mexico, where Dr. Spielmann has devoted much of her research career.

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Measuring Risk to Food Security in the Prehispanic U.S. Southwest: The Salinas Region in the Broader Southwest World. Colleen Strawhacker, Grant Snitker, Keith Kintigh, Ann Kinzig, Katherine Spielmann. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430948)


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14498

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