Evaluating the Environmental Impacts of Colonial Settlement: A Palynological Study of La Cienega, New Mexico
Author(s): Kyle Edwards
Using palynological data, this project attempts to contextualize the ecological impacts of Spanish settlement and land-use practices at LA 20,000 within a broader discussion of the long-term environmental history of La Cienega, New Mexico. This is essential because La Cienega has a deep and complicated settlement history that includes Puebloan, Spanish, and Anglo-American occupations. As a result, the ecological relationships created during initial colonial settlement must be considered in dialogue with pre-existing anthropogenic landscapes as well as subsequent environmental change. The data for this project come from a single sediment core that provides a 600-year history of La Cienega. Analyses were conducted by identifying zones within the pollen spectra and applying linear models, principal component analysis, and hierarchal clustering to verify trends within pollen assemblages. Ultimately, the results illustrate clear changes within local plant communities corresponding to Spanish settlement and long-term environmental trends not visible in site-specific samples. More pronounced environmental changes occurred in the 18th and 19th centuries, suggesting the impacts of colonial population growth and increased grazing. Moving forward, these results set the stage for further comparative palynological studies at LA 20,000 and show the efficacy of statistical analyses for identifying nuances in pollen data.
Cite this Record
Evaluating the Environmental Impacts of Colonial Settlement: A Palynological Study of La Cienega, New Mexico. Kyle Edwards. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444981)
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min long: -124.365; min lat: 25.958 ; max long: -93.428; max lat: 41.902 ;
Abstract Id(s): 22051