The Contribution of Tree-Ring Studies to Archaeological Research in Northwestern Mesoamerica


This is an abstract from the "Journeying to the South, from Mimbres (New Mexico) to Malpaso (Zacatecas) and Beyond: Papers in Honor of Ben A. Nelson" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Despite more than fifty years of excellent archaeological research in Northwestern Mesoamerica, progress has been impeded by a lack of precise chronological controls to understand site developments and pinpoint the direction of political influence and cultural change. To address this longstanding impediment, this paper reports on a rich, yet previously untapped, source of chronological data, to demonstrate how dendrochronological tree-ring analysis can inform cultural interpretation at different scales. On a site-level scale, we present an example from the site of La Quemada, Zacatecas, to demonstrate how dendrochronological data can inform and refine building and site construction sequences, as well as the development of ceramic chronologies. On a regional scale, we demonstrate how, combined with radiocarbon analysis, tree-ring data can elucidate broad-scale chronological relationships between the Malpaso Valley, Chalchihuites, and El Cóporo regions. Although all were occupied during the Epiclassic period (A.D. 500-900), difficulties of chronological control make directionality of influence difficult to discern.

Cite this Record

The Contribution of Tree-Ring Studies to Archaeological Research in Northwestern Mesoamerica. Paula Turkon, Sturt Manning, Carol Griggs, Andrea Torvinen, Ben Nelson. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451518)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -109.094; min lat: 22.553 ; max long: -96.57; max lat: 26.785 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 24223