Early Agricultural Practices at La Playa, Sonora, Mexico

Author(s): Rachel Cajigas

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Geoarchaeology" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

This poster presents results from geoarchaeological research on earthen irrigation canals at La Playa (SON F:10:3), in Sonora, Mexico. La Playa’s agricultural field system is associated with the Early Agricultural period (2100 B.C. – A.D. 50), which is characterized by the development of agriculture in the southwest United States and northwest Mexico. A combined dating strategy using Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) dating on canal sediments and radiocarbon dating on charcoal and semi-aquatic snails was used to date canals. The dates are between 450 B.C. – A.D. 550, a significant period both culturally and environmentally. These dates cluster at the transition between the Cienega phase of the Early Agricultural period (800 B.C. – A.D. 50) and the Trincheras period (A.D. 150 – 1450). During this time, a variety of paleoenvironmental proxies from the southwest region indicate a period of unusually wet winters followed by a drying trend. At La Playa, these dates correspond with a period of peak groundwater discharge and low energy overbank deposition followed by major erosion. The environmental and geochronological data indicate that early agricultural practices were correlated to changing environmental and depositional conditions on the La Playa floodplain throughout the Early Agricultural period.

Cite this Record

Early Agricultural Practices at La Playa, Sonora, Mexico. Rachel Cajigas. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450771)

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Abstract Id(s): 23495