Formative to Postclassic Landuse Changes in the Lower Río Verde Valley, Oaxaca


We provide a summary of the past ~15 years of paleoecological and paleoenvironmental analysis in the Lower Río Verde Valley. Ten lacustrine, wetland and estuarine sites throughout the valley and coastal zone were selected for sediment coring. The sediments were intensively sampled for a suite of biological and sedimentary analyses chosen to provide insight into changes in local and regional landuse. Our findings indicate initial land clearance and incipient agriculture occurred during the Archaic in the coastal zone. Agricultural activity, with the planting of maize, first occurred in the floodplain during the Late Formative. A spatial analysis of agricultural activity at the sites indicates a preference for areas throughout the western floodplain; however, the focus of regional land use changed with regional political developments. The southern and southwestern sections of the valley were avoided during the Early Classic when archaeological evidence suggests the decline of the Río Viejo polity and a demographic shift into the more western Piedmont. Ongoing analysis of two floodplain lakes indicate significant dry conditions occurred at the end of the Classic and through the Postclassic with archaeological data indicating the collapse of the Río Viejo polity and a shift of settlement into the piedmont.

Cite this Record

Formative to Postclassic Landuse Changes in the Lower Río Verde Valley, Oaxaca. Michelle Goman, Arthur Joyce, Jessica Hedgepeth Balkin. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431057)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14939