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Settlement Beyond the Alluvial Plains: Recent Findings from the 2016 Río Verde Settlement Project (RVSP), Coastal Oaxaca, Mexico

Author(s): Jessica Hedgepeth Balkin ; Arthur Joyce ; Raymond Mueller

Year: 2017

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From January-June of 2016, an interdisciplinary dissertation study was conducted in the lower Río Verde Valley, Oaxaca, Mexico which was designed to investigate how prehispanic settlement patterning was affected by environmental productivity. The Río Verde Settlement Project (RVSP) included a continuation of the regional full-coverage survey as well as a systematic sedimentological sampling program to examine regional variation in soil fertility. This paper focuses on the initial results of the survey, which includes promising information for answering two major research questions. First, after environmental changes led to floodplain expansion and estuary formation (c.a. 1800-150 BCE), did settlement concentrate around these resource-rich areas? Second, if people did indeed congregate around the floodplain and estuaries, was there a time lag between the ecological changes and settlement shifts? Preliminary evidence suggests that: 1) more people were attracted to the less productive piedmont and secondary valleys than previously surmised, and; 2) a time lag occurred in some resource-rich habitats of the valley before a settlement increase took place. We will explore potential factors behind settlement outside these productive areas, ranging from historical memory of landscapes to variation in agricultural productivity across the lower Verde region.

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Settlement Beyond the Alluvial Plains: Recent Findings from the 2016 Río Verde Settlement Project (RVSP), Coastal Oaxaca, Mexico. Jessica Hedgepeth Balkin, Arthur Joyce, Raymond Mueller. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431068)


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15625

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