Our overarching questions are:

• How did prehistoric economics, politics, and religious practices influence the ways in which people used the Agua Fria landscape?
• Which prehistoric activities left ecological legacies that are detectable on contemporary landscapes?
• Which ecological conditions make an ecosystem more or less prone to long-lasting human-induced disturbance?
• Can we still see effects of an increase in ecological patchiness we would expect in association with the prehistoric occupation?
•How do legacies of prehistoric land use persist in the face of intensive grazing?

The goal of the project is to build theory about what types of human disturbances leave legacies over different time scales, and gain insights into the ways that today’s actions can affect future ecological systems.

To begin addressing our research questions project personnel have spent several field seasons collecting a diversity of ecological and archaeological data. These data include the distribution of woody plants, small mammals, herbaceous plants, agaves, rocks, and artifacts at several archaeological survey locations and ceramic surface collections.

Additionally, the architectural growth of three prehistoric villages has been reconstructed through analyses of the wall alignments and the bonding and abutting patterns at the corners of rooms. Prehistoric agricultural fields have been located and several were selected for additional plant and soil analyses. At a landscape scale, one study has tracked woody plant expansion utilizing historic aerial photos and another developed a GIS model of potential prehistoric agricultural land.

Research is continuing and several publications are avaiable here.











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