Agave Bloom Stalk Ovens in the Southern Chihuahuan Desert

Author(s): Richard Stark

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Hot Rocks in Hot Places: Investigating the 10,000-Year Record of Plant Baking across the US-Mexico Borderlands" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Fire cracked rock (FCR) and hearth features represent one of the most commonly observed cooking features encountered by archaeologists. This research presents an ethno-archaeological context in which FCR utilization and discard is observed, providing a Middle Range theoretical platform for interpretively linking the material remains and related human behaviors associated with earth oven use. Ecological, social, and artifactual contexts are described for agave bloom-stalk processing in the Sierra Catorce, San Luis Potosi, in the southernmost lobe of the Chihuahuan Desert. Specific observations indicate patterns of earth oven thermodynamics, FCR midden accretion, caching behavior, archaeological feature descriptions, and related artifact suites. Relevance of this ethno-archaeological case-study is in interpretive potentials, archaeological sampling methodologies, the modeling of FCR midden accretion, and the interpretation of abandoned hearth features. Bulk processing in the described earth ovens is highly seasonal, relating to the ripening of the agave bloom stalks. The described features are non-domestic, situated in relation to the naturally occurring agave clumps. These non-domestic agave bloom-stalk earth ovens are compared with the local use of domestic meat-focused earth ovens in festive contexts, noting that these two types of earth oven sites involve specific and distinctive artifact assemblages.

Cite this Record

Agave Bloom Stalk Ovens in the Southern Chihuahuan Desert. Richard Stark. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450709)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -123.97; min lat: 25.958 ; max long: -92.549; max lat: 37.996 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 24413