The Suitability of Dry-Farming and Its Impact on Fremont Paleodemography in the Northern Uinta Basin

Author(s): Trista Schiele; Judson Finley; Erick Robinson

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Global Perspectives on Climate-Human Population Dynamics During the Late Holocene" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Recent work in Utah’s northern Uinta Basin shows close relationships between precipitation variability and population dynamics during the Fremont period, AD 300-1350. In this study, we evaluate the role that changes in the suitability of local dry-farming conditions had on observed regional settlement patterns and community formation. We examine the relationship between dry-farming suitability and Fremont demography using tree-ring derived estimates for precipitation and temperature. These environmental proxies, combined with a GIS model that accounts for topography, soil conditions, surface-recharged springs and regional variations therein, are used to build the dry-farming suitability model. Using ~500 radiocarbon ages, we compare the dry-farming suitability of the northern Uinta Basin to a Fremont Period population curve based on both a summed probability distribution and a bivariate kernel density estimation integrated into the GIS model. This research has the potential to explain the rise in population between AD 300 – 750 and the marked shift in population and site distribution after AD 750 and again after 1050. In a broader sense, this research addresses socioeconomic changes in forager-farmer subsistence and settlement strategies within a context of emergent agriculture.

Cite this Record

The Suitability of Dry-Farming and Its Impact on Fremont Paleodemography in the Northern Uinta Basin. Trista Schiele, Judson Finley, Erick Robinson. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451445)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -124.189; min lat: 31.803 ; max long: -105.469; max lat: 43.58 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 23735