There is a long history of interest in the study of extinct populations, sometimes called “prehistoric demography” or “archaeological demography.” Most studies have focused on regional population size and trends through time and their explanation. Analyses of a single population at one community are rare.
This paper discusses one effort at assessing the dynamics of population at one prehistoric community, the Grasshopper Pueblo, located in east-central Arizona. A long range program of archaeological research is being conducted at the site by the University of Arizona through the Archaeological Field School. This program is sponsored jointly by the Department of Anthropology and the Arizona State Museum and has been supported by the National Science Foundation since 1965.
The Grasshopper Ruin, a fourteenth century pueblo, is an example of what some have called “Late Mogollon” or “Prehistoric Western Pueblo” culture. It consists of several main room clusters separated by a presently intermittent stream and surrounded by smaller groupings of rooms. There are approximately 500 rooms at the site. Space does not permit a discussion of the range of problems that we are attempting to solve in our research nor the sampling design. But one aspect of our work, the “Cornering-Growth Project,” has provided us with the relative construction sequences for all the rooms at the community. These data provide a basis for a study of population dynamics.