Late preceramic farmer-foragers in southeastern Arizona : a cultural and ecological consideration of the spread of agriculture into the arid southwestern United States
AuthorHuckell, Bruce Benjamin.
Committee ChairHutchinson, Charles F.
MetadataShow full item record
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.
AbstractThis study investigates the transition from hunting and gathering economies to mixed economies involving both agriculture and hunting and gathering. Specifically, the problem of when, why, and how the transition to agriculture occurred in the arid-semiarid river basins of southeastern Arizona is explored. Modern environmental conditions are described, and the nature and sources of climatic, biotic, and fluvial systemic variability are considered. Anthropological and ecological models of hunter-gatherer adaptations to arid environments are used to reconstruct the general subsistence economy of preagricultural societies in the region, and to portray the process of the spread of agricultural production strategies. Two models of the transition are presented, one involving the adoption of agriculture by indigenous hunting-gathering societies, and the other involving the arrival of immigrant societies already practicing agriculture to a significant degree. Previous studies of the transition to agriculture in the American Southwest are reviewed, and new data are presented from excavated Late Archaic (ca. 3000-2000 BP) sites in southeastern Arizona. These data show that agriculture appeared by at least 2800 BP in this area, and that it spread rapidly across the American Southwest. It was already an important subsistence strategy and was associated with semisedentary village sites that have no known predecessors in the archaeological record. It is concluded that the adoption of agriculture, with its associated storage technology, is an important strategy by which human populations can mitigate some of the risks associated with foraging in an environment characterized by predictable seasonal variation in resource availability and unpredictable, climatically-induced fluctuations in the productivity of wild resources over time.
Degree NamePh. D.
Degree ProgramArid Lands Resources