Drought and the Transition from Foraging to Farming in the American Southwest

Author(s): Bradley Vierra

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Archaeology on the Edge(s): Transitions, Boundaries, Changes, and Causes" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

The American Southwest is an arid landscape that has experienced dynamic shifts in climate between dry and wet periods. Researchers have traditionally focused on the effects of drought conditions on farming communities. They often suggested that these extreme conditions dictated the regional displacement of populations, and more recently have emphasized the importance of mobility in understanding past land use strategies. By contrast, this paper will focus on the effects of drought on foraging groups, and how drought conditions have played a significant role in the transition from foraging to farming. Examples from the Tucson Basin, Colorado Plateau and northern Rio Grande will illustrate the different ways that foragers coped with living during these dry periods, and how their responses relate to an increased dependence on the cultivation of maize. In fact, each region is characterized by a separate historical trajectory which would eventually create the foundation for later agricultural societies.

Cite this Record

Drought and the Transition from Foraging to Farming in the American Southwest. Bradley Vierra. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450489)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -124.365; min lat: 25.958 ; max long: -93.428; max lat: 41.902 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 22814