Technological Choices in Ancestral Pueblo Landscape Design in Northern New Mexico, 700-1600 CE
AuthorPortman, Katherine Anne
AdvisorMills, Barbara J.
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, presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractPueblo peoples and their ancestors have farmed the rugged landscapes of the southwestern United States for millennia. Over generations, they developed a hugely diverse array of land modifications in their fields, from gravel mulch to check dams to irrigation canals. Many archaeologists have offered explanations for this agricultural diversification, but these almost always center on adaptation to the environment (e.g., Anschuetz 2001; Buge 1984; Plog and Garrett 1972). However, ethnographies from historic and contemporary Pueblo communities suggest that agricultural practices are more than environmental adaptations: they are also shaped by social traditions, taught over generations within households, clans, or moieties. Drawing on oral historical and ethnographic lines of evidence suggests that diverse agricultural strategies may reflect diverse environmental settings and diverse technological styles determined by social dynamics. This project attempts to unravel these influences by formally assessing the relationship between agricultural features and the environment. I present two levels of analysis: at the regional scale, including much of northern New Mexico, and at the community scale, near the Ancestral Picuris and Taos Pueblo village of T’aitöna (Pot Creek Pueblo, LA 260). I find that environmental variation does not fully explain agricultural diversification and explore how Ancestral Pueblo agricultural features can be analyzed as a technology rather than an adaptation. This work contributes to the long history of research into Ancestral Pueblo agriculture by providing a database of known sites with agricultural features, demonstrating methods for recording agricultural landscapes, and providing a framework to explore Pueblo relationships with agriculture using the theory of communities of practice.
Degree ProgramGraduate College