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Movement, Connectivity, and Landscape Change in the Ancient Southwest

Movement, Connectivity, and Landscape Change in the Ancient Southwest

Margaret C. Nelson
Colleen Strawhacker
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 491
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  • Book Info
    Movement, Connectivity, and Landscape Change in the Ancient Southwest
    Book Description:

    A collection of the papers presented at the Twentieth Anniversary Southwest Symposium, Movement, Connectivity, and Landscape Change in the Ancient Southwest looks back at the issues raised in the first symposium in 1988 and tackles three contemporary domains in archaeology: landscape use and ecological change, movement and ethnogenesis, and connectivity among social groups through time and space. Across these sections the authors address the relevance of archaeology in the modern world; new approaches and concerns about collaboration across disciplines, communities, and subgroups; and the importance of multiple perspectives. Particular attention is paid to the various ways that archaeology can and should contribute to contemporary social and environmental issues. Contributors come together to provide a synthetic volume on current research and possibilities for future explorations. Moving forward, they argue that archaeologists must continue to include researchers from across political and disciplinary boundaries and enhance collaboration with Native American groups. This book will be of interest to professional and academic archaeologists, as well as students working in the field of the American Southwest.

    eISBN: 978-1-60732-065-4
    Subjects: Sociology, Archaeology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. List of Contributors
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xviii)
  6. 1 Changing Histories, Landscapes, and Perspectives: The 20th Anniversary Southwest Symposium
    (pp. 1-14)
    Margaret C. Nelson and Colleen Strawhacker

    The U.S. Southwest arguably has the highest density of archaeologists in the Americas, with hundreds of surveys and excavations conducted annually. In 1927 the Pecos Conference was established by A. V. Kidder as the meeting place for Southwest archaeologists and has continued as a vital and successful annual gathering, focused on recent findings from the region. In 1988, two leading archaeologists, Paul Minnis and Charles Redman, introduced a second, regional conference—the Southwest Symposium—to provide a forum for discussing how insights gained from research in the Southwest United States and northern Mexico can contribute to methodological, theoretical, and substantive...


    • 2 Ten Millennia, Twenty Years Later
      (pp. 17-24)
      Paul E. Minnis and Charles L. Redman

      We are not sure if we ever thought about how long the Southwest¹ Symposium would exist, but we are gratified that it seems to have served the community of Southwestern archaeologists for more than two decades. Despite the best efforts of our many colleagues who helped during the first meeting—and there were many who did—the beginning of the Southwest Symposium was not without an occasional bump. While we were watching the book displays during the lunch break on the first day, for example, an Arizona State University groundskeeper showed up with a decrepit cardboard box filled with ash,...

    • 3 Foraging Societies in an Arid Environment: Coping with Change in the Greater Southwest
      (pp. 25-44)
      Bradley J. Vierra

      The traditional Southwestern Culture Area was primarily defined by the spatial distribution of agricultural societies who lived among the plateaus and deserts of the region. However, a variety of foraging societies surrounded the area—including California, the Desert West, Great Basin, Rocky Mountains, and the Plains and bush country of south Texas—and foraging societies lived throughout the Southwest prior to, and in some areas contemporary with, farmers. This vast expanse provides an ecologically diverse landscape that ranges from the Sonoran Desert to the Mogollon Rim transition, from the San Luis Valley to the Chihuahuan Desert, and from mountains to...

    • 4 Moving on the Landscape: Mobility and Migration
      (pp. 45-56)
      Patricia A. Gilman and Michael E. Whalen

      Twenty years ago, archaeologists had not grappled sufficiently with mobility and sedentism, especially Late Archaic sedentism and post-Archaic mobility. Today, the concepts of mobility and sedentism are commonly used, following much research since the first Southwest Symposium in 1988. Southwestern archaeologists now see mobility as a variable strategy practiced to different extents and at different times as circumstances, both social and ecological, required. Current research, though, is pushing recognition of some kinds of sedentism farther and farther back into the Archaic, at least in the southern Southwest, and the idea of late period migration as a form of mobility is...

    • 5 Rethinking Social Power and Inequality in the Aboriginal Southwest/Northwest
      (pp. 57-74)
      Randall H. McGuire

      For the archaeologists who attended the 1988 Southwest Symposium in Tempe, few issues were more contested or more volatile than that of social power and inequality among prehispanic peoples. In the early 1980s this issue had erupted in the Grasshopper–Chavez Pass debate, and tempers were running hot. Indeed, during the first four Southwest Symposia, floor fights between advocates of each side provided predictable distractions from the formal program. In the mid-1990s scholars reframed the issue by constructing more nuanced and relational investigations into inequalities and social power in aboriginal Southwest/Northwest societies. These new ideas have removed much of the...

    • 6 Demographic Issues of the Protohistoric Period
      (pp. 75-94)
      William H. Doelle

      The Protohistoric period offers researchers a wide array of major challenges and a wealth of exciting opportunities. Given that, it is frustrating that the pace of new research is not more intense. In this review I focus on three major demographic issues that come together in the Protohistoric period and explore some of their implications. Also, a number of changes in the world of archaeology merit consideration—most important, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA, 1990) and archaeologists’ increasing trend of working directly with Native Americans as tribal employees or collaborators in research. A lamentable change over...

    • 7 Remembering Archaeology’s Past: Perspectives on People and Process
      (pp. 95-104)
      J. Jefferson Reid

      Historical narratives have proliferated in both number and kind ever since the session on the history of Southwestern archaeology at the first Southwest Symposium. Today, books, festschrifts, articles, interest groups, and dedicatory symposia at regional and national meetings are abundant. This explosion of reflexivity is all the more remarkable because the baby boomers have yet to reach full retirement.

      In our history of research at Grasshopper Pueblo titled Thirty Years into Yesterday (2005a), Stephanie Whittlesey and I used an epigram to our preface from historian Hayden White (1987:20): “In order to qualify as historical, an event must be susceptible to...


    • 8 Landscape Change: Archaeological Perspectives on the Legacy of Human-Environmental Interactions in the U.S. Southwest
      (pp. 107-118)
      Carla R. Van West

      George Perkins Marsh—Vermont-born attorney, foreign diplomat, philologist, and keen observer of human-environmental interactions—published an important book in 1864 entitled Man and Nature. Marsh revised and republished the book in 1874 and again in 1885 under a new title, The Earth as Modified by Human Action: Man and Nature. Marsh’s intent was

      to indicate the character and, approximately, the extent of the changes produced by human action in the physical conditions of the globe we inhabit; to point out the dangers of imprudence and the necessity of caution in all operations which, on a large scale, interfere with the...

    • 9 Anthropogenic Ecology in the American Southwest: The Plant Perspective
      (pp. 119-140)
      Karen R. Adams

      The nature and longevity of human modifications to natural landscapes can be examined through the arena of humans and their interactions with plants and plant communities in the prehispanic American Southwest. One major challenge to this effort is that both humans and nature are capable of altering natural landscapes to varying degrees. These effects can operate simultaneously or independently of each other at any given moment in time or for any particular landscape location. Archaeologists attempt to understand when landscape changes, either anthropogenic or natural, alter human choices in a meaningful way and when such changes appear to impact landscapes...

    • 10 Soil and Landscape Responses to American Indian Agriculture in the Southwest
      (pp. 141-160)
      Jonathan A. Sandor and Jeffrey A. Homburg

      Soil forms the base of agriculture and thus has been subject to change since farming began in the American Southwest approximately four millennia ago. Soil change as a result of agriculture is complex and wide-ranging in kind, magnitude, and scales of space and time, encompassing many processes and outcomes ( Johnson and Lewis 1995; Sandor, Burras, and Thompson 2005). The archaeological record provides an important long-term perspective on humans and soil change (Holliday 2004; Sandor and Eash 1991). The Southwest contains a rich record of anthropogenic soil and landscape alteration, including cases of both success and failure in maintaining productivity...

    • 11 Investigating the Consequences of Long-Term Human Predation of r-Selected Species: Experiments in the Upland Southwest
      (pp. 161-178)
      C. David Johnson

      When considering predator-prey relationships among animal species, ecologists commonly rely on optimal foraging theory (Stephens and Krebs 1986) to guide their hypotheses. Optimal foraging theory is also used in studies of human predation (Simms 1987), wherein hunters are expected to pursue the most rewarding prey available because they provide the greatest nutritional return for the energy expended in the hunt. In North American terrestrial contexts, common large-bodied prey species are in the Order Artiodactyla, which can be locally abundant even though such populations are classified as slow-growing. These animals exhibit relatively low reproductive rates, forage at or near carrying capacity,...

    • 12 Human Impacts on Animal Populations in the American Southwest
      (pp. 179-198)
      Jonathan C. Driver

      Native Americans of the American Southwest consumed a predominantly vegetarian diet (e.g., Matson and Chisholm 1991), but animals were important sources of protein, fat, minerals, and vitamins (Mann 2000; Spielmann and Angstadt-Leto 1996; Wing and Brown 1979). The supply of meat was a critical limiting factor in human nutrition and health but also probably played a role in human perception of the quality of life in the Southwest. Meat is a highly valued food in most cultures (Abrams 1987), and in Southwestern communities meat was probably sought for its taste and for the feeling of well-being it provides.

      In this...

    • 13 Legacies on the Landscape: The Enduring Effects of Long-Term Human-Ecosystem Interactions
      (pp. 199-218)
      Katherine A. Spielmann, Hoski Schaafsma, Sharon J. Hall, Melissa Kruse-Peeples and John Briggs

      The Legacies on the Landscape Project is an ongoing collaboration between ecology and archaeology faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students at Arizona State University. The project was born out of the recognition that strongly integrated interdisciplinary research was essential for understanding human-ecosystem interactions. Our particular case study is focused on understanding the long-term legacy of prehistoric human land use on the ecology of semi-desert grasslands in the Southwestern United States.

      The Legacies project is situated on Perry Mesa, primarily within Agua Fria National Monument (AFNM), fifty miles north of the Phoenix Basin in central Arizona (Figure 13.1). Semi-desert grassland covers most...

    • 14 Linking the Past with the Present: Resources, Land Use, and the Collapse of Civilizations
      (pp. 219-230)
      Guy R. McPherson

      The human role in the extinction of species and degradation of ecosystems is well documented. Since European settlement in North America and especially after the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, we have witnessed a substantial decline in the biological diversity of native taxa and profound changes in assemblages of the remaining species. We have ripped minerals from the earth, often bringing down mountains in the process; we have harvested nearly all the old-growth timber on the continent, replacing thousand-year-old trees with neatly ordered plantations of small trees; we have hunted species to the point of extinction; we have driven livestock...


    • 15 A Framework for Controlled Comparisons of Ancient Southwestern Movement
      (pp. 233-252)
      Scott G. Ortman and Catherine M. Cameron

      After a period of relative neglect, migration and population movement is once again a dominant research theme in Southwestern archaeology. We believe this resurgence derives from a number of factors. One is the more effective and regular communication between archaeologists and American Indians in recent years. About ten years ago, one of us was involved in a consultation in which the question “what can archaeologists learn about that would be interesting to you” was posed to a group of American Indian advisers. Their unanimous response was “migration.” A second reason is that migration, as a particular form of population movement,...

    • 16 Becoming Hopi, Becoming Tiwa: Two Pueblo Histories of Movement
      (pp. 253-274)
      Wesley Bernardini and Severin Fowles

      In the Rio Grande Gorge is a large boulder on which have been pecked two parallel rows of dots extending roughly two meters across the rock face. It is a simple design, easily set to the side by archaeologists as semantically impenetrable and aniconic. Recently, however, a Pueblo consultant offered a more careful reading, suggesting that such petroglyphs are reminiscent of the rows of corn kernels laid on kiva floors in the recitation of group histories. With the placement of each kernel, he noted, a step in the group’s travels through time and space is narrated (cf. Cushing 1979), so...

    • 17 Standing Out Versus Blending In: Pueblo Migrations and Ethnic Marking
      (pp. 275-296)
      Tammy Stone and William D. Lipe

      Movement of varying distances across the landscape has long been recognized as an adaptation to Southwestern environments (Nelson 1999; Varien 1999). Larger-scale, longer-distance movements are often attributed to environmental and economic factors that exert a “push” or a “pull” (Anthony 1990, 1992; Lipe 1995). In reality, however, each movement involves complex social processes that may differ depending on the nature of information flows along preexisting social networks; whether the migration stream extends over a short or a long period; whether people move as individuals, families, larger groups, or entire communities; the distances involved; environmental and cultural similarities and differences between...

    • 18 Ancestral Pueblo Migrations in the Southern Southwest: Perspectives from Arizona and New Mexico
      (pp. 297-320)
      Jeffery J. Clark and Karl W. Laumbach

      Past and recent investigations in the San Pedro Valley of southern Arizona have provided compelling evidence of two successive migrations from the Ancestral Pueblo world into the eastern portion of the Hohokam world within the period 1100 to 1400 (all dates are AD). Concurrent investigations in the Rio Alamosa drainage of west-central New Mexico have also suggested two successive migrations from the Ancestral Pueblo world into the northern Mogollon region during this interval (Figure 18.1). Comparing and contrasting methods of detection and the timing, pace, scale, situational dynamics, and ultimate impact on local populations of these two sets of migrations...

    • 19 Ensouled Places: Ethnogenesis and the Making of the Dinétah and Tewa Basin Landscapes
      (pp. 321-344)
      Kurt F. Anschuetz and Richard H. Wilshusen

      The ethnogenesis of the Navajo and the Tewa provides a striking comparison—the final movement of Ancestral Pueblo peoples from the northern San Juan region in the late thirteenth century is simultaneously both the event and the process that ultimately trigger the emergence of these groups as distinct cultural communities. We examine how the landscape of the Four Corners became a landscape of distant memory for the Tewa of northern New Mexico at approximately the same time it became the landscape of immediate memory for a newly emerging Navajo identity. In both cases, spiritual values and stories are tied to...

    • 20 Themes and Models for Understanding Migration in the Southwest
      (pp. 345-360)
      Barbara J. Mills

      In 1994, at the Fourth Biennial Southwest Symposium also held in Tempe, Catherine Cameron organized a session on migration and movement, which was published as a special issue of the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology the following year (Cameron 1995). That session focused on pushes and pulls, on identifying where migrations occurred, and mostly on the causes rather than the social consequences of migration. Migration was just coming back into the Southwest literature, and it was a watershed session. Since then, migration has become a growth industry—and only a few holdouts are resisting the idea that migration was a way...


    • 21 Connectivity and Scale in the Greater American Southwest
      (pp. 363-374)
      John Kantner

      Archaeology is often maligned for focusing on seemingly myopic issues, whether topical, geographical, or methodological. Many an office door displays a tattered Calvin and Hobbes comic strip in which an exasperated Calvin, after having excavated for only a few minutes, exclaims, “Archaeologists have the most mind-numbing job on the planet.” Fortunately, in recent years the discipline has made a concerted effort to be more relevant, not only in interpreting the past in human terms but also in making more direct contributions toward understanding the future. The chapters in this volume reflect this trend.

      One area of inquiry allowing archaeology to...

    • 22 Irrigation Communities and Communities in Diaspora
      (pp. 375-402)
      Patrick D. Lyons, J. Brett Hill and Jeffery J. Clark

      In this chapter we examine two related case studies. The first focuses on the collapse of the late Classic period (AD 1300–1450) Hohokam irrigation communities of the lower Salt River Valley (Figure 22.1) and reveals the downside of connectivity—unintended, sometimes gravely serious consequences. In the second, we posit the development of a feasting tradition among Kayenta groups in diasporic cells throughout the Hohokam world—an apparent attempt to create or maintain connections on a broad geographical scale. The research reported here is part of the Coalescent Communities Project, a large-scale analysis of existing museum collections focused on more...

    • 23 Anchoring Identities: Iconic Landforms across San Juan Time and Space
      (pp. 403-422)
      Ruth M. Van Dyke

      Place attachments are one dimension through which groups of individuals may set themselves apart from others. Common social identities may be forged around past or present associations with real or imagined places. As ancient peoples moved across the Southwest landscape, highly visible landforms may have provided one way for people to retain symbolic connections to homelands, distant relatives, and each other. In this chapter I explore the relationships between some highly visible landforms and site locations during the Pueblo I period north and south of the San Juan River as peoples moved through the Montezuma and Chuska valleys. Landforms such...

    • 24 Ritual Places and Pilgrimages: Movement, Connectivity, and Landscape
      (pp. 423-442)
      Gregson Schachner

      The American Southwest is often signified in popular imagination by spectacular and unusual places like the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, and White Sands. Many of the Southwest’s iconic natural places are not simply amazing feats of geomorphology, however. They are also vitally important in the cosmology, self-image, and ritual practices of Native peoples (Anschuetz 2007; Basso 1996; Ferguson and Hart 1985; Nabokov 2006:70–145; Silko 1986; Snead 2008; Snead and Preucel 1999; Swentzell 1997; also see Duff, Koyiyumptewa and Colwell-Chanthaphonh, and Van Dyke, this volume). Thousands of natural features in the Southwest are described in song and prayer, visited to...

    • 25 The Past Is Now: Hopi Connections to Ancient Times and Places
      (pp. 443-456)
      Stewart B. Koyiyumptewa and Chip Colwell-Chanthaphonh

      Imagine for a moment a beautiful late summer day in the desert of northwestern New Mexico. Billowy white clouds amble on the horizon, set against a translucent indigo sky. A gentle, cool wind presses against our skin. We are standing at the edge of the Chaco River at a bend, the muddy-blue water flowing softly, steadily below. We are with four Hopi cultural advisers at the beginning of a week-long study of traditional cultural places. We have just gotten out of the truck after the long drive and are standing together in silence, enjoying the peace of the land. Then,...

    • 26 Historiography and Archaeological Theory at Bigger Scales
      (pp. 457-466)
      Stephen H. Lekson

      To decide who gets the money, the National Science Foundation (NSF) evaluates two criteria: “intellectual merit” and “broader impacts.” Intellectual merit is demonstrated by archaeologists convincing other archaeologists that their research is hot. That is as it should be. Broader impacts typically address several proximate audiences: closely related academic disciplines, our students, descendant communities, newspapers, and the Kiwanis Club. That, too, is as it should be.

      I would like to see a third category: “broader intellectual impacts”—the world of arts and letters, popular philosophy, literate journalism, PBS, nonfiction best-sellers, and perhaps even policy making. I think the ancient Southwest...

    • 27 Connectivity, Landscape, and Scale
      (pp. 467-480)
      Andrew Duff

      The 2008 Southwest Symposium was a fitting tribute for the twentieth anniversary of the conference, with a series of papers that reconsidered key issues and provided new perspectives on Southwestern archaeology. My task here is to provide commentary on the five papers presented in the conference’s final session on Connectivity, organized by John Kantner. For the session, connectivity was defined as “the influence of actions and processes across broad spatial and temporal scales,” with the papers designed to examine connectivity “as an intentional phenomenon as well as the unintended consequences of change in other places and times.” With an interesting...

  11. Index
    (pp. 481-492)