Limb for Limb: Risk and Firewood Acquisition in the Southwestern United States

Author(s): Kate Magargal

Year: 2021


This is an abstract from the "Life Is Risky: Human Behavioral Ecological Approaches to Variable Outcomes " session, at the 86th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

There are numerous dynamics of risk associated with acquiring any resource. The risk of investing time unsuccessfully, of incurring too great an opportunity cost, and of dangers to life or limb when venturing forth all come into play. How do these different types of risk trade off and how does a human in need of said resource navigate these dynamics? Firewood is one such resource where scarcity and intensity of need can combine to create a landscape of risk for those engaged in its harvest. This ethnographic study examines firewood harvest among Diné in southern Utah. In this case, woodlands are located a large distance from home sites, causing wood haulers to face several different elements of cost and risk in the pursuit of firewood. Using a combination of quantitative and qualitative ethnographic data, an analysis of the risk landscape for wood haulers is presented. Given the importance of firewood throughout human history, understanding the risk landscape of firewood will have many implications for archaeological interpretation.

Cite this Record

Limb for Limb: Risk and Firewood Acquisition in the Southwestern United States. Kate Magargal. Presented at The 86th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology. 2021 ( tDAR id: 467135)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -123.97; min lat: 37.996 ; max long: -101.997; max lat: 46.134 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 32814