Factors Controlling Pre-Columbian and Early Historic Maize Productivity in the American Southwest, Part 2: The Chaco Halo, Mesa Verde, Pajarito Plateau/Bandelier, and Zuni Archaeological Regions

Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory
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Abstract

Chemical and nutrient analyses of 471 soil samples from 161 sites within four archaeological regions (Pajarito Plateau/Bandelier, Zuni, Mesa Verde, and the Chaco Halo) were combined with historical climate data in order to evaluate the agricultural productivity of each region. In addition, maize productivity and field-life calculations were performed using organic-nitrogen (N) values from the upper 50 cm of soil in each region and a range (1-3%/year) of N-mineralization rates. The endmember values of this range were assumed representative of dry and wet climate states. With respect to precipitation and heat, the Pajarito Plateau area has excellent agricultural potential; the agricultural potentials of the Zuni and Mesa Verde regions are good; and the agricultural potential of the Chaco Halo is poor. Calculations of N mineralization and field life indicate that Morfield Valley in Mesa Verde should be able to provide 10 bu/ac of maize for decades (without the addition of N) when organic N-mineralization rates exceed 2%. Productivity and field-life potential decrease in the following order: Zuni, Mesa Verde, Bandelier, Chaco Halo. The Chaco Halo is very unproductive; e. g., 10 bushels per acre can be achieved within the Halo only from soils having the highest organic N concentration (third quartile) and which undergo the highest rate (3%) of N mineralization. ?? 2010 US Government.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Factors Controlling Pre-Columbian and Early Historic Maize Productivity in the American Southwest, Part 2: The Chaco Halo, Mesa Verde, Pajarito Plateau/Bandelier, and Zuni Archaeological Regions
Series title Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory
DOI 10.1007/s10816-010-9083-y
Volume 18
Issue 1
Year Published 2011
Language English
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory
First page 61
Last page 109