Reassessing Agricultural Potential in Chaco Canyon: Exploring the Link between Soil Salinity and Soil Texture
Determining the soil salinity of a site can aid in the assessment of the agricultural potential of a particular area, thus enabling researchers to draw conclusions about the potential for cultivation and subsistence intensification. Studies pertaining to soil salinity in Chaco Canyon often argue that the electrical conductivity (EC) levels within the area—a standard proxy measure of soil salinity—were too high for maize farming in many areas of the canyon, drastically limiting the potential agricultural yields within the canyon. These findings influence interpretations of the canyon’s social and economic structure, as well as reconstructions of population size. A recent reanalysis of salinity counters earlier studies, suggesting maize agriculture was possible in large portions of the canyon. We reexamine the implications of soil salinity research through an assessment of the relationship between texture and salinity within the "dune dam" area located just below the great house of Peñasco Blanco. Two cores from this portion of Chaco Canyon will be compared with previously published data from the well-studied Gila Basin pertaining to salinity and agricultural potential. Through this comparison, we will explore the interconnection between soil texture and salinity and its implications for broader agricultural patterns within the Southwest.
Cite this Record
Reassessing Agricultural Potential in Chaco Canyon: Exploring the Link between Soil Salinity and Soil Texture. Ashley Huntley, Jon-Paul McCool, Nicholas Dunning, Samantha Fladd, Vernon Scarborough. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444779)
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min long: -124.365; min lat: 25.958 ; max long: -93.428; max lat: 41.902 ;
Abstract Id(s): 21482