Cattle management, Archives, and Geoarchaeology: Using Documentary Data to Understand the Role of Cattle Management in Transforming Puerto Rican Environments

Author(s): Lara M. Sánchez-Morales

Year: 2018

Summary

Livestock have been an important component of Puerto Rican subsistence since European colonization to the present. Raising cattle to produce hides, meat, dairy, and other products was envisioned and exploited as an alternative source of income during periods of economic instability in the island, particularly during the period between 1660 and 1750. While in many parts of the Americas grazing caused significant changes to the local ecosystems through soil erosion and fertility loss, the role of cattle in transforming Puerto Rican environmental resources remains unexplored. This presentation will examine export records, population censuses, and governmental documents from the 17th and 18th centuries to present an overview of the spatial distribution of land destined for pasture and ranches, agriculture, lumber, and settlement. These data will form the basis for developing a geoarchaeological project to understand the consequences of this type of landscape management practice along a hydrological basin in Puerto Rico.

Cite this Record

Cattle management, Archives, and Geoarchaeology: Using Documentary Data to Understand the Role of Cattle Management in Transforming Puerto Rican Environments. Lara M. Sánchez-Morales. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2018 ( tDAR id: 441152)

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Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 641