chapter  9
25 Pages

The American Southwest

WithAlice Beck Kehoe

Archaeologists conventionally divide the American Southwest into three provinces, Hohokam in southern Arizona, Mogollon in southwest New Mexico and southeast Arizona into Chihuahua, Mexico, and Anasazi in northern Arizona and New Mexico and adjacent Utah and Colorado. Introduction of maize and squash about 1000 bce added a valuable new resource to the existing Late Archaic Mogollon and southern Southwest subsistence base of seasonal harvests, without apparently radically changing Southwesterners’ life. Although much less archaeology has been conducted in the western half of Mexico than in the more densely populated eastern half, societies in the west seem to have paralleled those in the east. Archaeologists suggest that tournaments between Hohokam towns and villages visibly linked the communities, complementing the links maintained by trade and military alliances. Archaeologist Stephen Lekson startled his colleagues with a bold hypothesis: Chaco Canyon is in center of a basin that could support many farmsteads using channels and check dams to maximize rainfall and intermittent stream moisture.