Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

APPLICATIONS OF DENDROCHRONOLOGY IN NORTHWESTERN MEXICO

  • Paula Turkon (a1), Sturt W. Manning (a2), Carol Griggs (a2), Marco Antonio Santos Ramírez (a3), Ben A. Nelson (a4), Carlos Torreblanca Padilla (a5) and Eva Maria Wild (a6)...

Abstract

Although dendrochronological methods have the potential to provide precise calendar dates, they are virtually absent in Mesoamerican archaeological research. This absence is due to several long-standing, but erroneous, assumptions: that tree rings in this region do not reflect annual growth and environmental variability, that an adequate number of samples do not exist, and that tree-ring measurements cannot be useful without modern trees to link prehispanic chronologies. In this article we present data from the sites of La Quemada and Los Pilarillos, located in the Malpaso Valley, Zacatecas, to demonstrate that suitable archaeologically derived samples of dendrochronologically useful species do exist, that the samples from these sites are measurable and cross-datable, and that the tree rings can yield precise calendar dates using a method that “wiggle-matches” radiocarbon dates on tree-ring sequences. The work demonstrates the potential of these methods to address chronological, and, in the future, climatic questions, which have so far eluded archaeological work in the region.

Los métodos dendrocronológicos tienen el potencial de proporcionar fechas de calendario precisas, sin embargo son escasamente utilizados en las investigaciones arqueológicas Mesoamericanas. Esto se debe a la existencia de varios supuestos de larga permanencia, pero erróneos tales como: que los anillos de los árboles en esta región no reflejan el crecimiento anual y la variabilidad medioambiental, que no existe un número adecuado de muestras, y que las mediciones de los anillos de los árboles no pueden ser útiles sin la existencia de árboles modernos para vincular las curvas prehispánico. En este artículo, se presentan datos de los sitios de La Quemada y Los Pilarillos, localizados en el Valle de Malpaso, Zacatecas, para demostrar que existen muestras arqueológicas dendrocronológicamente adecuadas, medibles, que se pueden “cross-date”, y que se pueden obtener fechas precisas usando un método llamado “calibración de radiocarbono de secuencias definidas” (radiocarbon wiggle-matching). El trabajo pone en evidencia el potencial de estos métodos para abordar cuestiones cronológicas, y en el futuro, también climáticas, las cuales hasta la fecha han eludido el trabajo arqueológico en la región.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      APPLICATIONS OF DENDROCHRONOLOGY IN NORTHWESTERN MEXICO
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      APPLICATIONS OF DENDROCHRONOLOGY IN NORTHWESTERN MEXICO
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      APPLICATIONS OF DENDROCHRONOLOGY IN NORTHWESTERN MEXICO
      Available formats
      ×

Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

References

Hide All
Armillas, Pedro 1963 Investigaciones arqueológicas en el estado de Zacatecas. Boletín de INAH 14:1617.
Armillas, Pedro 1964 Condiciones ambientales y movimientos de pueblos en la frontera septentrional de Mesoamerica. In Homenaje a Fernando Márquez-Miranda: Arqueólogo e Historiador de América, pp. 6282. Seminario de Estudios Americanistas, University of Madrid, Madrid; Seminario de Antropología Americana, University of Seville, Seville.
Bannister, Bryant, and Scott, Stuart D. 1962 Dendrochronology in Mexico. Proceedings of the XXXV International Congress of Americanists, Mexico, pp. 211216. International Congress of Americanists, Mexico City.
Bayliss, Alex 2007 Bayesian Buildings: An Introduction for the Numerically Challenged. Vernacular Architecture 38:7586.
Beekman, Christopher S. 2010 Recent Research in Western Mexican Archaeology. Journal of Archaeological Research 18:41109.
Braniff, Beatriz, and Areti-Hers, Marie 1998 Herencias Chichimecas. Arqueología 19:5580.
Brewer, Peter W. 2014 Data Management in Dendroarchaeology Using Tellervo. Radiocarbon 56:7983.
Bronk Ramsey, Christopher 2009a Bayesian Analysis of Radiocarbon Dates. Radiocarbon 51:337360.
Bronk Ramsey, Christopher 2009b Dealing with Outliers and Offsets in Radiocarbon Dating. Radiocarbon 51:10231045.
Bronk Ramsey, Christopher 2017 OxCal Version 4.3.1 and 4.3.2. https://c14.arch.ox.ac.uk/oxcal.html, accessed March–April 2017.
Bronk Ramsey, Christopher, van der Plicht, Johannes, and Weninger, Bernhard 2001Wiggle Matching’ Radiocarbon Dates. Radiocarbon 43:381389.
Brown, Roy B. 1992 Arqueología y Paleoecología del Norcentro de México. 1st ed. Serie Arqueología. Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Mexico City.
Burns, Jordan N., Acuna-Soto, Rodolfo, and Stahle, David W. 2014 Drought and Epidemic Typhus, Central Mexico, 1655–1918. Emerging Infectious Diseases 20:442447.
Cleaveland, Malcom K., Stahle, David W., Therrell, Matthew D., Villanueva-Diaz, José, and Burns, Barney T. 2003 Tree-Ring Reconstructed Winter Precipitation and Tropical Teleconnections in Durango, Mexico. Climatic Change 59:369388.
Comisión Nacional del Agua 2008 Estadísticas del Agua en México. Comisión Nacional del Agua, Coyoacán, Mexico City.
Cook, Edward R., and Kairiukstis, Leonardes 1990 Methods of Dendrochronology: Applications in the Environmental Sciences. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, the Netherlands.
Cook, Edward R., Woodhouse, Connie A., Mark Eakin, C., Meko, David M., and Stahle, David W. 2004 Long-Term Aridity Changes in the Western United States. Science 306:10151018.
Elliott, Michelle 2012 An Anthracological Approach to Understanding Late Classic Period Cultural Collapse in Mesoamerica's Northwestern Frontier. In Wood and Charcoal: Evidence for Human and Natural History, edited by Badal, Ernestina, Carrión, Yolanda, Macías, Miguel, and Ntinou, María, pp. 217226. SAGVNTVM: Papeles del Laboratorio de Arqueología de Valencia, Valencia.
Elliott, Michelle, Fisher, Christopher T., Nelson, Ben A., Molina Garza, Roberto S., Collins, Shawn K., and Pearsall, Deborah M. 2010 Climate, Agriculture and Cycles of Human Occupation over the Last 4,000 Years in Southern Zacatecas, Mexico. Quaternary Research 74:2635.
Evans, Susan T., and Webster, David L. (editors) 2001 Archaeology of Ancient Mexico and Central America: An Encyclopedia. Garland Publishing, New York.
Frederick, Charles D. 1995 Fluvial Response to Late Quaternary Climate Change and Land Use in Central Mexico. PhD dissertation, Department of Geography, University of Texas, Austin.
Fritts, Hal C. 1976 Tree Rings and Climate. Academic Press, London.
Galimberti, Mariagrazia, Bronk Ramsey, Christopher, and Manning, Sturt W. 2004 Wiggle-Match Dating of Tree Ring Sequences. Radiocarbon 46:917924.
González-Elizondo, Martha, Jurado, Enrique, Návar, José, González-Elizondo, M. Socorro, Villanueva, José, Aguirre, Oscar, and Jiménez, Javier 2005 Tree-Rings and Climate Relationships for Douglas-Fir Chronologies from the Sierra Madre Occidental, Mexico: A 1681–2001 Rain Reconstruction. Forest Ecology and Management 213:3953.
Holmes, Richard 1983 Computer-Assisted Quality Control in Tree-Ring Dating and Measurement. Tree-Ring Bulletin 43:6978.
IRI/LDEO Climate Data Library 2016a Tree-Ring Reconstructed Drought, Grid Point: 121 107.5W 30.0N. International Research Institute for Climate and Society, Earth Institute, Columbia University, Palisades, New York.
IRI/LDEO Climate Data Library 2016b Tree-Ring Reconstructed Drought, Grid Point: 106 110.0W 30.0N. International Research Institute for Climate and Society, Earth Institute, Columbia University, Palisades, New York.
Jiménez Betts, Peter 2004 Guía de Viajeros, La Quemada, Zacatecas. Arqueología Mexicana 67:8087.
Kennett, Douglas, Hajdas, Irka, Culleton, Brendan J., Belmecheri, Soumaya, Martin, Simon, Neff, Hector, Awe, Jaime, Graham, Heather V., Freeman, Katherine H., Newsom, Lee, Lentz, David L., Anselmett, Flavio S., Robinson, Mark, Marwan, Norbert, Southon, John, Hodell, David A., and Haug, Gerald H. 2013 Correlating the Ancient Maya and Modern European Calendars with High-Precision AMS 14C Dating. Scientific Reports 3. doi:10.1038/srep01597.
Lelgemann, Achim 2000 Informe Final: Proyecto Ciudadela de La Quemada, Zacatecas. Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Mexico City.
Martínez, Maximo 1948 Los Pinos Mexicanos. 2nd ed. Ediciones Botas, Mexico City.
Naylor, Thomas H. 1971 Dendrochronology in Oaxaca, Mexico: A Preliminary Study. Tree-Ring Bulletin 31:2529.
Nelson, Ben A. 1997 Chronology and Stratigraphy at La Quemada, Zacatecas, Mexico. Journal of Field Archaeology 24:85109.
Nelson, Ben A. 2001 Aggregation, Warefare, and the Spread of the Mesoamerican Tradition. In The Archeology of Regional Interaction: Religion, Warfare, and Exchange Across the American Southwest and Beyond, edited by Michelle Hegmon, pp. 317337. University of Colorado Press, Boulder.
Nelson, Ben A. 2004 Current and Future Directions in the Archaeology of Northwest Mexico. In Surveying the Archaeology of Northwest Mexico, edited by Newell, Gillian E. and Gallaga, Emiliano, pp. 289296. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City.
Nelson, Ben A., Millhauser, John, and Denise To 1997 Burial Excavations in Plaza 1 of Los Pilarillos, Zacatecas, Mexico, 1997 Season. Report submitted to the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies. Department of Anthropology, Arizona State University, Tempe.
Nelson, Ben A., and Schiavitti, Vincent W. 1992 Trabajos Conducidos por la State University of New York at Buffalo dentro del Proyecto La Quemada 1989–90. Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Mexico City.
Nelson, Ben A., Weintraub, Paula D., and Schiavitti, Vincent W. 1993 Informe Parcial del Proyecto Valle de Malpaso-La Quemada Temporada 1992. Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Mexico City.
Notimex 2013 Arqueólogos del INAH hallan restos orgánicos de 1,100 años en Zacatecas. Expansión, August 27. Electronic document, http://expansion.mx/entretenimiento/2013/08/27/arqueologos-del-inah-hallan-restos-organicos-de-1100-anos-en-zacatecas, accessed October 17, 2017.
Parlerm, Ángel, and Wolf, Eric R. 1957 Ecological Potential and Cultural Development in Mesoamerica. In Studies in Human Ecology: A Series of Lectures Given at the Anthropological Society of Washington, Social Science Monographs III, pp. 137. Pan American Union, Washington, DC.
Reimer, Paula J., Bard, Edouard, Bayliss, Alex, Beck, Warren, Blackwell, Paul G., Bronk Ramsey, Christopher, Buck, Caitlin E, Cheng, Hai, Edwards, R. Lawrence, Friedrich, Michael, Grootes, Pieter M., Guilderson, Thomas P., Haflidason, Haflidi, Hajdas, Irka, Hatté, Christine, Heaton, Timothy J., Hoffmann, Dirk L., Hogg, Alan G., Hughen, Konrad A., Kaiser, K. Felix, Kromer, Bernd, Manning, Sturt W., Niu, Mu, Reimer, Ron W., Richards, David A, Scott, E. Marian, Southon, John R., Staff, Richard A., Turney, Christian S. M., and van der Plicht, Johannes 2013 IntCal13 and Marine13 Radiocarbon Age Calibration Curves 0–50,000 Years cal BP. Radiocarbon 55:18691887.
Santos Ramírez, Marco Antonio 2014 Informe Final de los Temporadas 2012–2014 Proyecto Arqueológico La Quemada. Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Mexico City.
Schweingruber, Fritz Hans 1988 Basics and Applications of Dendrochronology. Springer, Dordrecht, the Netherlands.
Scott, Stuart D. 1966 Dendrochronology in Mexico. University of Arizona Press, Tucson.
Schulman, Edmund 1944 Dendrochronology in Mexico, I. Tree-Ring Bulletin 10:1824.
Soler Arechalde, Ana María, Caballero Miranda, Cecilia, Urrutia Fucugauchi, Jaime, and Gogichaishvili, Avto 2011 Contribuciones del arqueomagnetism para el fechamiento en Mesoamérica. In Escenarios de cambio climático: Registros del Cuaternario en América Latina I, edited by Caballero, Margarita and Ortega Guerrero, Beatriz, pp. 340365. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City.
Speer, James H. 2010 Fundamentals of Tree-Ring Research. University of Arizona Press, Tucson.
Stahle, David W. 1999 Useful Strategies for the Development of Tropical Tree-Ring Chronologies. IAWA Journal 20:249253.
Stahle, David W., Burnette, Dorian J., Villanueva, Jose, Cerano, Julian, Fye, Falko K., Daniel Griffin, R., Cleaveland, Malcolm K., Stahle, Daniel, Edmondson, Jesse R., and Wolff, Kathryn P. 2012 Tree-Ring Analysis of Ancient Baldcypress Trees and Subfossil Wood. Quaternary Science Reviews 34:115.
Stahle, David W., and Cleaveland, Malcom K. 1993 Southern Oscillation Extremes Reconstructed from Tree Rings of the Sierra Madre Occidental and Southern Great Plains. Journal of Climate 6:129140.
Stahle, David W., Cook, Edward R., Burnette, Dorian J., Villanueva, Jose, Cerano, Julian, Burns, Jordan N., Griffin, Daniel, Cook, Benjamin I., Acuña, Rodolfo, Torbenson, Max C.A., Szejner, Paul, and Howard, Ian M. 2016 The Mexican Drought Atlas: Tree-ring reconstructions of the soil moisture balance during the late pre-Hispanic, colonial, and modern eras. Quaternary Science Reviews, 149:3460.
Stahle, David W., Diaz, José Villanueva, Burnette, Dorian J., Paredes, Julian Cerano, Heim, Richard R. Jr., Fye, Falko K., Soto, Rodolfo Acuna, Therrell, Matthew D., Cleaveland, Malcolm K., and Stahle, David K. 2011 Major Mesoamerican Droughts of the Past Millennium. Geophysical Research Letters 38:L05703.
Torreblanca Padilla, Carlos Alberto 2014 La sala hipóstila de El Cóporo, Guanajuato: Un espacio arquitectónico en el norte de México. In Tiempo y Región: Estudios Históricos y Sociales, Vol. VII, edited by Viramontes Anzures, Carlos, pp. 97116. Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Mexico City; Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro, Querétaro; Municipio de Querétaro, Querétaro.
Torvinen, Andrea, Kulow, Stephanie, and Nelson, Ben 2015 Refinement of the La Quemada Chronology and Its Implications for Inter-Polity Interaction along the Northern Frontier of Mesoamerica. Paper presented at the 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California.
Torvinen, Andrea, Nelson, Ben, Pomedio, Chloe, and Rodriguez, Nora 2014 Developing Regional Chronologies Using Ceramic Metatypologies: An Example from Northwest Mexico. Paper presented at the 79th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Austin, Texas.
Trombold, Charles D. 1985 A Summary of the Archaeology of the La Quemada Region. In The Archaeology of West and Northwest Mexico, edited by Foster, Michael S. and Weigand, Phil C., pp. 327352. Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado.
Trombold, Charles D. 1990 A Reconsideration of the Chronology for the La Quemada Portion of the Northern Mesoamerican Frontier. American Antiquity 55:308324.
Trombold, Charles D., and Israde-Alcantara, Isabel 2005 Paleoenvironment and Plant Cultivation on Terraces at La Quemada, Zacatecas, Mexico: The Pollen, Phytolith and Diatom Evidence. Journal of Archaeological Science 32:341353.
Turkon, Paula, Elliott, Michelle, Manning, Sturt W., and Griggs, Carol 2011 Dendrochronology, Chronological Control, and Climate Reconstruction in Northwest Mesoamerica. Paper presented at the 76th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Sacramento, California.
Turkon, Paula, Manning, Sturt W., Griggs, Carol B., and Jiggetts-O'Neill, Alexandra 2015 Season 2 Results: Dendro-14C-Wiggle-Matching in Northwestern Mesoamerica. Paper presented at the 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California.
Verheye, Willy H. 2010 Growth and Production of Maize: Traditional Low-Input Cultivation. In Soils, Plant Growth and Crop Production, Volume II, edited by Verheye, Willy H., pp. 69100. EOLSS Publishers, Oxford.
Villanueva Díaz, José, Paredes, Julián Cerano, Stahle, David W., Luckman, Brian H, and Therrell, Matthew D. 2002 Historical Droughts in North-Central Mexico. Electronic document. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Brian_Luckman/publication/237249739_HISTORICAL_DROUGHTS_IN_NORTH-CENTRAL_MEXICO/links/00b7d52fbaef2dc8a2000000/HISTORICAL-DROUGHTS-IN-NORTH-CENTRAL-MEXICO.pdf, accessed November 8, 2017.
Weigand, Phil 1977 The Prehistory of the State of Zacatecas: An Interpretation. In Anuario de Historia Zacatecana, edited by Sanchez, C. Esparza, pp. 141. Universidad Autonoma de Zacatecas, Zacatecas.
Zeidler, James A., Buck, Caitlin E., and Litton, Clifford D. 1998 Integration of Archaeological Phase Information and Radiocarbon Results from the Jama River Valley, Ecuador: A Bayesian Approach. Latin American Antiquity 9:160179.

Metrics

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