Experimental Insights into Hohokam Agave Production Practices

Date and Time: 
Friday, 18 March, 2016 - 09:30
, Suzanne K. - University of Arizona
, Paul R. - University of Arizona

The scale of prehispanic agave cultivation in southern Arizona is now well established.  The extensive fields where Hohokam farmers grew this crop are frequently preserved on valley slopes.  They are marked by arrays of stone features in “rockpile fields” with interspersed roasting pits.  Because indigenous groups in the area no longer used this agricultural technology after Spanish contact, little is known about production and processing practices.  Observations from 30 years of experimental plantings and analysis of associated chipped stone tools have begun to shed light on the social and economic implications of agave as an essential component of Hohokam agriculture.