Arizona Geological Society

Gary Huckleberry Presents - The Geoarcheology of Ancient Water Control in the Southwest: Lessons from the Past

  • 05 Jun 2018
  • 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
  • Sheraton, 5151 E Grant Rd. (& Rosemont), Tucson AZ 85712

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  • Members RSVP here. Registration requires online prepayment via credit card. The reservation process will no be complete without prepayment.

    Please cancel by 11 a.m. on the Friday prior to the meeting, if you are unable to attend - no shows and late cancellations will result in the forfeiture of their payment, if AGS is unable to sell your dinner.
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    Please cancel by 11 a.m. on the Friday prior to the meeting, if you are unable to attend - no shows and late cancellations will be invoiced, if AGS is unable to sell your dinner.

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The Geoarcheology of Ancient Water Control in the Southwest:  Lessons from the Past

by Gary Huckleberry, Dept of Geosciences, University of Arizona

Abstract -The control and management of water in the North American Southwest dates back at least 3500 years and played a key role in long-term adaptations of ancient societies. Water was captured, diverted, and stored for purposes of domestic consumption and agricultural production. Strategies varied depending on local environmental factors and cultural needs. Hundreds of miles of canals were constructed along perennial rivers like the Salt, Gila, and Verde. Earthen reservoirs were constructed to capture runoff in the desert interior. Evidence for this ancient hydraulic infrastructure can be quite subtle depending on the scale of engineering and geological processes that modify the archaeological record. An understanding of geological surficial processes is essential for studying these ancient waterworks given that the physical remains are often defined by stratigraphy and best understood when placed within a geomorphic context. I will discuss some of my geoarchaeological research on ancient water control, focusing on the southern deserts of Arizona where water management was a hallmark trait of ancient societies like the Hohokam (A.D. 450-1450). This research makes clear that people have long dealt with the challenges of population growth and climate variability in arid environments, and that human resilience to stress varied through time. Such insights are relevant to the challenges we face today in the Southwest.

Bio -Gary Huckleberry received his doctorate from the Department of Geosciences at the University of Arizona and has conducted over 30 years of consulting and research in North and South America. He was a professor in the Department of Anthropology at Washington State University from 1995 to 2004, and served as Co-Editor of Geoarchaeology: An International Journal from 2007-2017. His specialties include geoarchaeology, geomorphology, soils, and stratigraphy and most of his research has been in desert environments. Current research projects include reconstructing El Niño history through study of flood deposits along the north coast of Peru, analysis of ancient agricultural soils in the high Atacama of Chile, excavating shell midden sites along the Gulf of California to understand ancient coastal adaptations, and identifying indigenous water control features in the North American Southwest for purposes of understanding human ecology and supporting modern Native American water rights claims.

 

 



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