An Applied Geospatial Soil Moisture Model: Investigating Agricultural Field Locations and Proximity to Puebloan Villages

Date and Time: 
Thursday, 17 March, 2016 - 11:15
, Andrew - University of North Texas

Puebloan communities of the Central Mesa Verde Region were heavily reliant upon agriculture for their subsistence needs by AD 900. While Neolithic farmers were able to harness nature, they were dependent upon receiving sufficient precipitation for successful plant growth. A variable climate can have major impacts on soil moisture, which is the amount of water present within a three-dimensional soil column. Although soil moisture can be modeled at multiple spatial scales, most studies rely on data that are at resolutions of 1-km or greater. However, crop growth can vary considerably across small distances. A static geospatial soil moisture model was developed to predict potential agricultural field locations. This model is evaluated by using collected soil moisture data from Crow Canyon Archaeological Center’s experimental gardens. This data is used to understand the changes in the Puebloan’s risk by determining the distance between Puebloan villages and potential agricultural field locations.