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The Neolithic Demographic Transition in the U.S. Southwest

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Timothy A. Kohler
Affiliation:
Department of Anthropology, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-4910, Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, and Santa Fe Institute (tako@wsu.edu)
Matt Pier Glaude
Affiliation:
Department of Anthropology, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-4910 (matt_glaude @pch.gc.ca)
Jean-Pierre Bocquet-Appel
Affiliation:
CNRS, EP 2147 44, rue de 1 Amiral Mouchez 75014 Paris, France (bocquet-appel @ evolhum.cnrs. fr)
Brian M. Kemp
Affiliation:
Department of Anthropology and School of Biological Sciences, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-4910 (bmkemp@wsu.edu)

Abstract

Maize agriculture was practiced in the U.S. Southwest slightly before 2000 B.C., but had a negligible impact on population growth rates until the development or introduction of more productive landraces; the ability to successfully cultivate maize under a greater variety of conditions, with dry farming especially important; the addition of beans, squash, and eventually turkey to the diet; increased sedentism; and what we infer to be the remapping of exchange networks and the development of efficient exchange strategies in first-millenium-A.D. villages. Our estimates of birthrates and growth rates are derived from the proportions of immature individuals among human remains. These proportions are somewhat affected by warfare in our region, and perhaps also by climate. Nevertheless, there is a strong identifiable Neolithic Demographic Transition signal in the U.S. Southwest in about the mid-first-millennium A.D. in most subregions, visible a few hundred years after the introduction of well-fired ceramic containers, and more or less contemporaneous with the first appearance of villages. Independent genetic data derived from the mitochondrial genomes of present-day indigenous populations of the Southwest are also consistent with the hypothesis that a major demographic expansion occurred 1,500-2000 years ago in the Southwest.

Résumé

Résumé

La culture du maïs se pratiquait dans le sud-ouest des Etats-Unis avant 2000 B.C., mais eut un impact négligeable sur le taux d'accroissement de la population jusqu'au développement ou l'introduction des variétés cultivées plus productifs; la capacité de cultiver du maïs avec succès sous une grande variété de conditions, avec la culture sèche particulièrement importante; l'addition de haricots, de courges, et éventuellement de dindes à la nourriture; l'accroissement de la sédentarité; et ce que l'on infére relativement à la recomposition géographique des réseaux d'échanges et le développement de stratégies d'échange efficientes dans les villages du ler millénaire A.D. Nos estimations de taux de natalité et de taux d'accroissement dérivent des proportions d"individus immatures dans les restes humains. Ces proportions sont quelque peu affectées par les guerres dans notre région, et peut être aussi, par le climat. Néanmoins, il y a le signal fort d"une Transition démographique néolithique dans le sud-ouest des Etats-Unis vers la première moitié du ler millénaire A.D. dans la plupart des sous-régions, signal visible quelques centaines d"années après l"introduction de containers en céramique cuite, et approximativement contemporaine avec la première apparition de villages. Des données génétiques indépendantes provenant de génomes mitochondriaux de populations indigènes du sud-ouest aujourd'hui, sont aussi consistantes avec l'hypothèse qu'une expansion démographique majeure se produisit là il y a 1500-2000 ans.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Society for American Archaeology 2008

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