Skip to main content Accessibility help

Identification of a Sinagua Agricultural Field by Aerial Thermography, Soil Chemistry, Pollen/Plant Analysis, and Archaeology

  • G. Lennis Berlin, J. Richard Ambler, Richard H. Hevly and Gerald G. Schaber


Aerial thermograms of an area in north-central Arizona immediately to the north of Merriam Crater have revealed the existence of parallel arrays of alternating ridge and swale linear features in the ashfall zone of Sunset Crater. The patterns are not easily identified on simultaneously acquired panchromatic photographs. Pollen and soil analyses confirm the highly geometric pattern to be a previously unrecognized prehistoric agricultural field. Recovery of Sinagua sherds of known age found at nearby living sites and in the field indicates that the farming activity occurred between A.D. 1065 and 1250. After 700 years of abandonment, local plant succession for the field has not yet fully re-established the probable former shrub community, apparently due to differences in physical and chemical properties existing between field and nonfield soil areas, related perhaps to prehistoric agricultural practices.



Hide All
Black, C. A. (Editor) 1965 Methods of soil analysis. Society of Agronomy, Inc., Madison, Wisconsin.
Breternitz, D. A. 1966 An appraisal of tree-ring dated pottery in the southwest. Anthropological Papers of the University of Arizona, No. 10.
Brooks, D. 1974 Prehistoric soil and water control in the American southwest: a case study. Unpublished M.A. thesis. Department of Anthropology, Northern Arizona University.
Colton, H. A. 1960 Black sand: prehistory in northern Arizona. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque.
Colton, H. A. 1965 Experiments in raising corn in the Sunset crater ashfall east of Flagstaff, Arizona. Plateau 37:7779.
Damon, P. E., Shafiquallah, M., and Levinthal, J. S. 1974 K-An chronology fpr the San Francisco volcanic field and rate of erosion of the Little Colorado river. In Geology of Northern Arizona, pp. 221235, edited by Geological Society of American Rocky Mountain Section Meeting, Flagstaff, Arizona.
Dansgaard, W., Johnson, S. T., and Moller, J. 1969 One thousand centuries of climatic record from Camp Century in the Greenland ice sheet. Science 166:377381.
Dickey, A. M. 1971 Palynology in Hay Hollow valley. Unpublished M.S. thesis. Department of Biology, Northern Arizona University.
Daubenmire, R. F. 1974 Plants and Environment, 3rd Edition. John Wiley & Sons, New York.
Gray, J. 1965 Extraction techniques. In Handbook of Paleontological Techniques, edited by Kummel, B. and Raup, D., pp. 530587. W. H. Freeman & Co., San Francisco.
Hevly, R. H. 1964 Pollen analysis of Quaternary archaeological and lacustrine sediments from the Colorado plateau. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation. Department of Biology, University of Arizona.
Hevly, R. H. 1968 Studies of the modern pollen rain in northern Arizona. Journal Arizona Academy of Science 5:116127.
Hevly, R. H., Mehninger, P. J. Jr., and Yocum, H. G. 1965 Modern pollen rain in the Sonoran desert. Journal Arizona Academy of Science, 3:123135.
Hill, J. N. and Hevly, R. H. 1968 Pollen at Broken K pueblo: some new interpretations. American Antiquity 33:200210.
Jones, W. D., and Newell, L. C. 1946 Pollination cycles and pollen dispersal in relation to grass improvement. University of Nebraska Agricultural Experiment Station Research Bulletin 148.
Kelly, R. E. 1971 Diminishing returns: 12th & 13th Sinagua environmental adaptations in north-central Arizona. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation. Department of Anthropology, University of Arizona.
LaMarch, V. C. Jr., 1974 Paleoclimatic influences from long tree-ring records. Science 183:104348.
Martin, P. S. 1963 The last 10,000 years, a fossil pollen record of the American southwest. University of Arizona Press, Tucson.
Martin, P. S., and Byers, W. 1965 Pollen and archaeology at Wetherill mesa. American Antiquity 31:12235.
Maule, S. H. 1963 Corn growing at Wupaki. Plateau 36:2932.
Robinson, W. J., and Dean, J. S. 1969 Tree-ring evidence for climatic changes in the prehistoric southwest: a.d. 1000-1200. Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, University of Arizona.
Schaber, G. G., and Gumerman, G. J. 1969 Infrared scanning images-an archaeological application. Science 164:712713.
Schoenwetter, J., and Dittert, A. E. Jr., 1968 An ecological interpretation of Anasazi settlement patterns. In Anthropological Archaeology in the Americas. The Anthropological Society of Washington.

Identification of a Sinagua Agricultural Field by Aerial Thermography, Soil Chemistry, Pollen/Plant Analysis, and Archaeology

  • G. Lennis Berlin, J. Richard Ambler, Richard H. Hevly and Gerald G. Schaber


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.