The creation of the Southwestern rangeland: Archaeological markers of landscape management at Pimería Alta Spanish colonial site

Date and Time: 
Friday, 18 March, 2016 - 13:45
, Nicole - University of Arizona
, Alexander - University of Arizona
, Barnet - University of Maryland

European livestock accompanied the foundation of Spanish missions and presidios in the arid Pimeria Alta, altering the local landscape and native society. Livestock connected desert farmers to distant colonial markets and provided a new source of protein and grease. These animals also required new economic, social, and spatial arrangements--putting new pressures on water plant resources near Spanish colonial sites. This paper explores domesticated animals' access to water and grazing using stable isotopes from ungulate bioapatite from several colonial sites, and wild animal importance through zooarchaeological data. Historical and archaeological evidence point to a regional pattern of differental access to resources among caprine and cattle and an absence of wild fauna from assemblages. Regional and synthetic approaches provide a new way to investigate the colonial demands on O'odham labor and pressures on the range and water resources that had previously been used for agricutlural irrigation.