• Use and Abuse of Southwestern Rivers: The Pueblo Dweller

      DiPeso, Charles C.; The Amerind Foundation, Inc., Dragoon, Arizona (Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science, 1971-04-23)
      In response to the 20th century crisis of environmental destruction by unrestricted technological exploitation, some archaeologists are studying alternative modes of resource development as practiced by earlier men. The pueblo Indians of the arid southwestern deserts were basically upland corn farmers, who, after A.D. 1000, found it necessary to exploit their environment because of varying combinations of climatic change and increased population pressures. In the northeastern part of the state of Chihuahua, urban engineers, ca 1050, harnessed the entire Casas Grandes dendritic pattern by installing a set of linked hydraulic appointments which included various upslope protective devices such as linear border, check dams and riverside and hillside terraces. Not only were they able to visualize an entire dendritic pattern as the target area, but also they were able to conceive of rainfall and topsoil as a single factor in their control designs. Although large amounts of human labor were needed to construct and maintain these systems, few raw materials were needed. When the mountain-born waters reached the lower valleys, they were clear and sluggish, did not flood the bottomlands, and because of the reduced speed, could easily be diverted into canals and reservoirs, supplying the cities with domestic water and the farmers with irrigation water. Many further studies are needed of these pre-Columbian systems.