Domestic refuse and residential mound formation in La Mixtequilla, Veracruz, Mexico.
AuthorHall, Barbara Ann.
KeywordsIndians of Mexico -- Mexico -- Veracruz (State) -- Dwellings
Kitchen-middens -- Mexico -- Veracruz (State)
Mounds -- Mexico -- Veracruz (State)
Veracruz (Mexico : State) -- Antiquities.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe Mesoamerican residential mound is a basic unit of archaeological analysis. The way mounds form has implications for reconstructing past social organization. Studies of formation processes assume that characteristics of refuse are the result of depositional history. Tracing the history of archaeological deposits is the first step toward understanding the social and economic milieu of the prehistoric household. The traces of mound formation processes particularly are evident in ceramics. This study examines measures such as density, mean size, and variation in size and wear, to determine their utility in ascertaining depositional history, including discard practices, erosion, and trampling. The measures are tested with the Exploratory Data Analysis method using visual inspection of the data for patterns and examination of exceptional cases. Density by weight and mean sherd size were found to be particularly useful and simple measures for differentiating archaeological deposits. The characteristics of artifacts in a deposit provide the basis for reconstructing the formation of mounds. Earthen residential mounds like those of Veracruz are low and broad and usually lack imperishable construction materials. Unlike Maya housemounds, which often use fill for mound construction, earthen mound formation resembles (on a smaller scale) the formation of tells, the remains of ancient villages and towns in Western Asia. For both tells and earthen mounds, the erosion of houses forms the bulk of mound sediments. Residential mound growth is more by gradual accretion than by deliberate construction, and is due to six main formation processes. These are: (1) the erosion of wattle-and-daub construction material, which contribute to mound sediments; (2) the gradual accretion of sediments and artifacts; (3) horizontal erosion of daub and artifacts; (4) secondary refuse deposition; (5) the occasional use of fill to expand or level the mound; and (6) the development of a humic topsoil layer commonly damaged by plowing. Through refuse characteristics it is possible to reconstruct mound growth, use of space, and the location of structures and refuse dumps. These formation processes distinguish earthen mound development in many parts of Mesoamerica.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Arizona
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Radial Growth Losses in Douglas-Fir and White Fir Caused by Western Spruce Budworm in Northern New Mexico: 1700-1983Swetnam, Thomas W.; Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, University of Arizona (Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 1985-10-31)Regional outbreaks of western spruce budworms (Choristoneura occidentalis Freeman) have recurred at least three times in northern New Mexico since the early 1920's when the U. S. Forest Service first began systematic forest-pest surveys and documentation (Lessard 1975, U. S. Forest Service documents). The current outbreak was first noticed in a small area on the Taos Indian Reservation in 1974, and since then the defoliated areas have increased in New Mexico and Arizona to more than 370,000 acres of Federal, Indian, State and private lands (Linnane 1984). Losses in timber values can generally be ascribed to radial growth loss, height growth loss, topkilling, reduced regeneration, and mortality (Carlson et al. 1983, Fellin et al. 1983). A damage assessment project was initiated in 1978 and was aimed at obtaining measurements of some of these losses in budworm infested stands on the Carson National Forest, New Mexico (Holland and Lessard 1979). A large data base has subsequently been developed, including yearly measurements on topkilling, mortality, defoliation, and insect population changes (Stein 1980, 1981, Stein and McDonnell 1982, Rogers 1984). A growth assessment study was undertaken in 1982 to determine the feasibility of using dendrochronological methods to identify the timing of past outbreaks and to quantify radial growth losses associated with budworm defoliation (Swetnam 1984). Results of this work showed that three major outbreaks during the twentieth century were clearly visible in the tree-ring samples obtained from currently infested trees. The radial growth of host trees was corrected for age, climate and other non-budworm environmental effects, and then growth losses were computed as a percentage of expected growth (Swetnam 1984). Additional collections were obtained in 1984 in order to expand the scope of the radial growth study. The objectives included 1) assessment of a larger number of tree -ring samples, 2) comparison of radial growth losses between the two primary host species - Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) and white fir (Abies concolor), 3) comparison of radial growth losses between age classes, and 4) analysis of the relationship between yearly measurements of defoliation, insect populations and radial growth. This report summarizes the findings of the above analyses. Increment core samples from the 1982 collections are included here, therefore this report supersedes the earlier report (Swetnam 1984). Information is also presented on observations derived from the dated tree-ring series on the timing of occurrence of known and inferred spruce budworm outbreaks for the past 284 years (1700- 1983). This is the longest record of spruce budworm occurrence yet developed for western North America.